UNC vs Duke Fuqua MBA: Curriculum, Post-MBA Jobs and More

Duke Fuqua MBA vs UNC MBAThe rivalry between UNC and Duke is not limited to College basketball; the competition as a favorite MBA destination is much fiercer. While the casual researcher favors UNC for the good-looking crowd, serious applicants should consider five factors: ranking, curriculum, location, class profile, and post-MBA jobs.


According to US News, Duke is at #14 while UNC is just behind at #19 for the best Business School. The surprise however was with the 2014 BusinessWeek ranking where Duke Fuqua was ranked #1 in the 2-yearly ranking, rising five positions from the 2012 position. In terms of ranking parameters, BusinessWeek considers Student Satisfaction and Employer Survey on equal weightage (45%), validating further on Duke’s edge over UNC, which was ranked #12th in the top 100 rankings.


UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA’s core curriculum is comprised of 13 core courses, majority of which (10) are completed during the first-year fall semester. The spring of second year is mostly devoted to elective courses with students getting the opportunity to pick from over 125 courses every year. The electives are clustered into 10 concentrations: Corporate Finance, Marketing, Management Consulting, Operations Management, Capital Markets and Investments, Real Estate, Energy, Healthcare, Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Enterprise. Two focus areas: Family Business and Business Analytics & Decision-Making are offered to students with Entrepreneurial background and those interested in Strategy, Big Data and Analytics.

Duke Fuqua on the other hand offers 12 Concentrations: Decision Sciences, Leadership & Ethics, Energy & Environment, Management, Energy Finance, Marketing, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Operations Management, Finance, Social Entrepreneurship, Financial Analysis, and Strategy. Each concentration is comprised of four courses related to the concentration and two courses that support the mastery of the concentration.

The UNC MBA class is divided into study groups, and the performance within a team is evaluated. The second credit earning activity is the case competition where the study groups compete against each other in Venture Capital Investment Competition, UNC Kenan-Flagler Real Estate Development Challenge, Fidelity Investments Alpha Challenge,  UNC Kenan-Flagler Marketing Case Challenge and Sustainable Venture Capital Investment Competition (SVCIC).  Duke Fuqua on the other hand offers Fuqua Case Bowl, Elite 8 Case Competition, Deloitte National Case Competition, Capture the Cup (Head on Competition with UNC) and VCIC Case Competition. It’s a tie when it comes to major case competitions.

The third evaluation in UNC MBA is on leadership development as an MBA. As part of leadership development, students are required to complete two 7-week intensive courses by solving problems for domestic and international clients. The hands-on learning as part of the leadership development is the most interesting aspect of UNC MBA with the S.T.A.R project giving MBAs the chance to experience consulting engagements with corporations, NGOs and other non-profits around the world. MBAs specializing in Healthcare will find the Healthcare Consulting Projects interesting. Duke Fuqua also has a hands-on consulting engagement with the Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum. What makes the engagement interesting is the diversity of the subject matter that it tackles: Accounting Systems/ Business Ratios, Entrepreneurial Business Planning and Implementation, Financial Planning and Control, Growth Management, Human Resources, Inventory and Production Control, IT and Website, Marketing and Sales, Operations and Manufacturing, Risk Analysis, and Strategic Planning.

For UNC, the latest Global Business Projects schedule demonstrates the opportunities for MBAs to practice consulting in Manufacturing, Retail, IT, Infrastructure, Media, Publishing, Aerospace, Hospitality, Healthcare and Oil & Gas Industry; all of which are in developing countries (Argentina, Brazil, China and India). Another focus area, where UNC has an edge, is the Fund Management in Real Estate, Private Equity and Applied Investment Management with students managing real assets worth $14 million. Duke Fuqua, on the other hand, has a much wider spread with the extra-curricular activities: MBA Case Competitions, Conferences and Symposia, and Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS). Some of the distinguished speakers who have shared their wisdom with Fuqua MBAs are Tim Cook (CEO, Apple), Walter Robb (Co-CEO, Whole Foods), N.R. Narayana Murthy (Founder and Chairman Emeritus, Infosys), Bob McDonald (President and CEO, Procter & Gamble) and Ken Chenault (CEO, American Express).


With just 10.9 miles separating Fuqua School of Business and Kenan-Flagler Business School, there isn’t much to choose between the two based on location. Both the schools are located in the beautiful North Carolina with a tolerable winter and a pleasant summer that eludes Chicago, Boston and New York.

Class Profile

UNC has a much smaller class size at 281 vs Duke’s 437, with a median age of 28 for the class against Duke’s 29. Duke has a slightly more diverse class: 35% woman vs UNC’s 26%, 38% international vs 36% in UNC. The average work experience for the both the programs is 5 years with an identical entry criterion when it comes to GMAT scores; mid 80% GMAT range for the classes falls between 640 and 750. The median GPA is 3.4 for both the programs.

Post-MBA Jobs

We compared the 2014 employment report for UNC Kenan-Flagler with Fuqua’s 2013-14 Employment statistics. Top Hiring companies for Duke Fuqua were Deloitte, Boston Consulting Group, and McKinsey & Company. The latest class had a mean Salary of $114,109. For those who don’t want a skewed representation of salary data, note that the median salary is $3000 lower than the mean at $111,000. Consulting dominated the post-MBA job function with 34% of the class opting for it while Finance was a distant second with 24% of the class giving it preference over Marketing (21%) and General Management (16%).

UNC has a much lower mean base salary at $104,286 with the median sliding down by $4000 to $100,000. The $11,000 difference in median base salary is a considerable difference and if you evaluate the guaranteed median bonus payments: $16,625 (UNC) against Duke’s $15,000, and the median signing bonus: $25,000 for both UNC and Duke, the total Salary is still nearly $10,000 apart in favor of Duke Fuqua MBA program. Those who are seeking opportunities in Marketing as a job function will find UNC favorable over Duke Fuqua. According to the latest report, 26% of the class favored Marketing function, with Consulting and Finance at a close 2nd and 3rd with 25% and 23% respectively.


Duke Fuqua is a clear winner when it comes to traditional post-MBA opportunities (consulting and Finance), Employer Reputation and Post-MBA Salary but UNC is a favorite for MBA aspirants planning to specialize in Healthcare, Real Estate and Marketing.

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