I am in a reflective mood. I am now 7.5 terms (including Global Institute) done with my Fuqua MBA, with 1 to go. In all facets, this has been a great 2 years. Also, for all of you reading, second year is much better than first year. I’ve gained more familiarity with my local surroundings, more flexibility in my schedule, and I know what to expect in terms of course work, social events, and recruiting. With that being said, I wanted to highlight certain things that I love about Durham and will undoubtedly miss when I graduate.
This is something that I have emphasized in many blog posts before, but business school has given me the flexibility to travel the world. In 2012, aside from interviews, I went to Argentina, Panama, Israel, Peru, China, and Taiwan. This year, I went to Belize for spring break, and there is talk of going to Southeast Asia after graduation. Plus, 2 of my Fuqua classmates (who met before business school) are getting married in Bordeaux, France. Traveling is a passion of mine, and I have been able to see so much more of the world while better understanding it in a global business context.
The Bull City
Durham provides such a nice and comfortable lifestyle. Every time that I come back home, landing at RDU, I think that I like my surroundings better than I did the prior week. There is hardly any traffic in Durham, I am very familiar with the restaurants and bars in town, and I know my way around. To name a few of my favorite places, there is Pizzeria Toro, Southpoint Mall, Maple View Farm, and the Eno River Quarry. Additionally, there are many things to do outdoors. Duke’s campus is very pretty, and the cost of living is pretty cheap. Also, I spotted Rob Lowe (whose son is a freshman at Duke) at Vin Rouge a few weeks ago.
Station 9 Living
For those of you who don’t know, Station 9 is an apartment complex in Durham that houses about half of the Fuquans. I like to equate Station 9 to a dorm for adults, but it makes life easy and classmates become incredibly close. For example, 2 of my good friends live 2 doors down from me so anytime that I need to borrow an egg or go watch a TV show, I am there. Also, aside from the proximity to my classmates, the apartment complex is full of conveniences including a renovated gym, pool, and movie room. It helps make carpools, movie nights and parties incredibly convenient and it’s within walking distance to many bars and restaurants. Also, I have roughly 2 times the space of my NY apartment, with a washer and dryer and dishwasher (that I don’t use). This is probably the last time that I will live with a bunch of my friends in the same place, and it’s been great.
Last year after recruiting ended, I started running to get back into shape. Over the past 6 months, it has turned into a hobby that I have really enjoyed. I love the fact that because of the more temperate climate here, I can run outside all through the winter. Duke’s campus is very scenic and makes a great backdrop for longer runs. Also, the Washington Duke Trail is roughly 3 miles long and goes through the Duke Forest. Running it was on my bucket list last year, and now I try to run it at least twice a week. It’s absolutely gorgeous and in retrospect, I think that it’s crazy that I never made it there last year.
I’ve already written about Duke Basketball a few times and am in the process of writing a follow up post about it, but it’s a great experience and lots of fun. Also, it is totally different than any other sporting event that I have ever been to. First of all, you are standing the entire time during the game and are constantly screaming some Duke themed basketball cheer. I recently went to the Duke/UNC game and the energy in Cameron was crazy. I never experienced college sports during my own undergrad experience and will certainly miss having season tickets.
The majority of my classmates moved to Durham for business school, putting us all in the same boat, which helps create a sense of camaraderie that I probably would not have gotten at other business schools. So unlike at a commuter school, this allows our community to get incredibly close, travel together, and experience so much more over the 2-year period.
Being Inspired & Challenged
At Fuqua, I am surrounded by incredible, accomplished people day in and day out, whether it is my classmates, professors, or guest speakers. For example, a few weeks ago I participated in a coffee chat with Whole Food’s Southern Region President, Omar Gaye, who was on campus with Walter Robb, Co-CEO of Whole Foods (watch a video of his presentation) as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series. At Fuqua, I am constantly challenged, learning new things, and changing classes, so I never have any time to get bored. When I used to work, oftentimes I felt like I was in a rut and although Fuqua can get crazy and chaotic, I would not want it any other way.