I felt pretty sure that I knew everything there was to know about The Fuqua School of Business. Last year, as a master’s student at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, I applied to Fuqua in order to be a joint MPP-MBA student, and already was friends with a number of Fuquans. So when I received an invitation for Fuqua’s inaugural LGBT weekend for prospective students last November, I hesitated: was it really worth spending an entire weekend away right before finals? But I decided to attend anyway, if for no other reason than to enjoy a couple of beers at the school’s renowned Fuqua Friday event and meet a few potential classmates.
I arrived at Fuqua at 10:00 a.m. on Friday morning and was immediately whisked into a workshop on admissions and financial aid. The workshop mostly covered the stuff that you would expect — common mistakes made on applications and the average amount students take out in loans — but also delved into Fuqua’s commitment to diversity. Megan Lynam, the Director of Admissions (and blogger), talked about how the school does more than any other business school to diversify its student body. Not only does the school organize four weekend workshops a year for the LGBT community and other underrepresented groups, but also waives attendees’ application fees.
In fact, throughout my visit, I was struck by how welcomed I felt at Fuqua. During the class visit, Professor John Joseph chatted with us before class and encouraged us to participate in class discussion. And at dinner that night, alumni flew in from as far away as New York and Chicago to meet us and share their experiences from Fuqua. I don’t think I had ever met people who loved their school so much that they were willing to take time off of work to fly down to help recruit prospective students. By the end of the weekend, I wasn’t just ready to apply to Fuqua I was excited to apply. Even though Duke was located in North Carolina, a state that recently amended its constitution to prohibit same sex marriage, Fuqua was proud of its diversity and wanted me to be a part of its team. (And as a southern Californian, I’ve also found the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area to be very hospitable and affirming).
It’s been a year since I participated in The Duke MBA LGBT Weekend, and I am on the verge of finishing my second term at Fuqua. LGBT Weekend is a few days away (it starts Friday) but this time, I along with my classmates who participated in the event last year, are this year’s organizers. So to those prospective students who are attending — we welcome y’all to Durham this weekend, and look forward to offering you the same experience that made us choose Duke. Have a safe trip and see you soon! Let’s go Duke!