I’ve always been an above average student, but certainly not the cum-laude, made-the-dean’s list-every-semester, hang-my-grade-on-the-refrigerator type of student. So the adjustment for me within the Fuqua community of ambitious, motivated souls wasn’t so difficult. However, if you pay attention, you’ll learn early on that succeeding at Fuqua has little to do with the grades you receive, and everything to do with how well you have learned the information that your renowned faculty has taught, along with the expectations you set for yourself.
This message rang clear for me on March 6, the day I finished Corporate Finance and my third term at Fuqua. For a humanities geek like me, taking Corporate Finance was a risky endeavor. In fact, I was pretty sure the term “Beta” was confined to the Greek alphabet and nothing more. Throughout the entire course, I found it hard to follow the relatively dense lectures and classroom comments, often wondering if my classmates were speaking in my dialect. The assignments were both time-consuming and challenging, forcing me to insert numbers for the sake of filling in blanks that I could not answer. On top of that, I was carrying a sense of guilt knowing that my professor was one of the best I had ever encountered, yet I still did not understand the material. It appeared that Corporate Finance and I were not meant to be.
But then I smartened up. I found a tutor (which is covered by Fuqua), started from scratch with the problem sets, and focused on understanding the concepts as opposed to searching for the right answers. I decided that if I was going to fall flat in this class, I was going to fall to miscalculations as opposed to misunderstandings. Most importantly, as I started grasping the material week by week, the pieces started fitting together and the confidence began to build. Never before was I able to look another student in the eye when asked, “Are you ready for the CorpFin final?” and respond with “As ready as I will be because I don’t even care. The amount I have learned has far exceeded my expectations.”
No kidding. I was so eager to take the final exam I had trouble sleeping the night before. Since I literally knew nothing about Corporate Finance before the course, I was thrilled to get through the final, confidently knowing that I had adequately answered all questions and keenly aware of the progress I had made. At the very least, enough to keep pushing me toward a concentration in Finance.