If you’re in the process of deciding which school to attend — or even apply to — you probably have a list to help in your selection process. Perhaps it’s a pro/con list, maybe a SWOT analysis, perchance a cost-benefit analysis, or even just scribbling on a napkin (although I wouldn’t recommend this method, it did work for JK Rowling). Whatever your method, it’s important to have some sort of list. If not for you, then for the interviewer and throngs of people who will invariably ask, time and time again, “Why Fuqua?” Here are my top 10 reasons for choosing to attend Fuqua:
- Job Opportunity. My goal is to work for a top-tier consulting company, such as BCG, McKinsey, or Bain. Fuqua is one of the top recruited MBA programs by all three of these firms, with McKinsey and BCG partners on Fuqua’s Board of Visitors. While many schools might have a handful of their top students secure a job at a consulting firm, over a third of 2012 Fuqua grads received a job in consulting, including 30 at Deloitte, 18 at McKinsey, 13 at BCG, 9 at Bain, and 9 at Accenture. In addition, Fuqua’s Consulting Club and the Career Management Center (CMC) have a superb reputation for helping students prepare for their job interviews.
- Family-Friendly. Like a quarter of the class, I came to Fuqua with my spouse. In addition to bringing my wife with me, I also brought our 16-month-old daughter. One of my top requirements was a program that would welcome and value the two people who are most important to me, also giving them the chance to grow, develop, and thrive. The Fuqua Partners program, and sub-group Fuqua Families, give my wife and daughter the support they need while I’m busy. Additionally, my Fuqua teams have been flexible with our meeting times to allow me to spend as much time with my family as possible.
- Team Fuqua. If you haven’t heard of “Team Fuqua,” stop what you’re doing right now and look it up. Seriously, you shouldn’t go any further in the application process until you know what it is, and are ready to embrace, live, sleep, and embody Team Fuqua. … You’re taking too long. Here, try this. Or this. Or even this. If you’ve ever worked on a team before, I promise it was nowhere near as awesome as Team Fuqua. Team Fuqua goes beyond mere collaboration and extends to relationships and a support system that lasts a lifetime.
- Superior Academics. Learning at Fuqua is unparalleled. While many programs specialize in one or two teaching methods, Fuqua employs a more holistic approach. Perhaps most impressive is the pre-term for first-year students called Global Institute, which goes beyond merely teaching you how to be a leader, but actually molds you into a leader of consequence. (For more information about what makes a leader of consequence, read this.) Fuqua’s 5 shorter terms in the first year also allow students to take more classes from top-ranked instructors, which means that we begin taking electives before most other B-school students have even finished their core classes. It’s intense, but it’s a huge advantage.
- School Colors. Wearing Duke blue makes my eyes pop. Enough said.
- Diversity. With a very international background (I’m a dual citizen of the US and UK and attended a private international school from second grade through high school), attending a diverse institution was important to me. I knew that Fuqua would be diverse, but I seriously underestimated that diversity. Fuqua’s Daytime MBA student body is made up of: females (33%), underrepresented minority students (10%), and international students (38%). In addition, students come from every possible background imaginable. No student has the same upbringing, each with a unique and important perspective and set of skills. The combination of a collaborative and diverse environment make for one insightful and impactful learning environment.
- Location. Durham is awesome. Personally, I’m not a fan of living in big cities. I also don’t like living in the middle of nowhere. Durham is the perfect balance and has a great, low cost of living. My wife and daughter have plenty of things to do while I’m at school, including plenty of museums and wildlife centers (like Duke’s own Lemur Center), parks and gardens (including Sarah P. Duke Gardens), and fun places to eat. In the spring and summer months, we can watch the Durham Bulls — baseball’s most famous AAA team, stroll through the tobacco district, or grab a bite to eat at Brightleaf Square. Durham is minutes from Raleigh and Chapel Hill, the 3 cities making up the Research Triangle Park, one of the country’s most educated metros. Durham is within day-trip distance of fun locations such as Washington, D.C., the Outer Banks, Charlotte, and Charleston. Did I mention that the cost of living is low?
- Duke Basketball. If you’re not a basketball fan, you will be soon. When Jabari Parker chose to come play at Duke instead of BYU (my alma mater), I knew I had to follow in his footsteps. A few weeks ago I had the chance to be a part of campout, a weekend full of fun, festivities, and little sleep. Although I did make it to the end, I didn’t get a basketball ticket; however, 11 of the 17 in my group did so I will still have a ticket to the majority of this season’s game since we’re pooling the tickets together (in other words — work as a team and you’re guaranteed tickets!) Duke basketball is one of the country’s best all-time basketball programs, having won the NCAA tournament four times. Still not excited? Watch this.
- Alumni Network. One of the best ways to know the strength of the program is to look at the strength of the alumni network. Fuqua has over 17,000 alumni throughout the country and abroad who continue to be a part of the Fuqua community and give back to the school. Recently, Fuqua released the results of their Fuqua Annual Fund for 2013, hoping to raise $3 million and have at least 5,250 donors. They exceeded both goals, bringing in $3,799,238 from 5,412 donors. Additionally, I’ve been amazed at the number of representatives at recruiting presentations are actually Fuqua grads themselves.
- Gut Feeling. This is impossible to quantify, but was perhaps the most important part of the application process. After going through all of the research, interviews, and admissions process, you might not be 100% sure about which program to attend. I wasn’t. However, once I visited campus with my wife and had a chance to attend Fuqua Friday, there was no doubt in my mind where we should be. My wife and I both knew that we were Fuqua bound. If you haven’t already visited, I highly recommend making a visit a top priority as soon as you can. There are plenty of opportunities to visit before your first day of Orientation, including campus visits, Blue Devil Weekend (Feb. 7 – 10 and April 3 – 6, 2014), interviews, and other recruiting events. Check out the full Admissions Events calendar for more information.
Your list might be very different than mine, but hopefully these 10 items can help convince you that Fuqua is THE place to be. Make sure to bookmark the Daytime MBA admissions page and highlight January 6 on your calendar as the Round 2 application deadline. I look forward to meeting you next year!