Free Lunch with a Side of Honest MBA Insight

Maybe it’s just me, but even though I’m a Director at a Fortune 50 company, I’m still a sucker for a free lunch. Based on that, it probably won’t come as much of a surprise that I attended 3 Duke Informational Lunches prior to my enrollment. And, now that I am in the Weekend Executive MBA program, I’ve attended 5 more of these lunches…and counting.

These lunch and learns are not required for MBA candidates to attend. However, in my opinion, these optional sessions are one of the most informative outlets for getting your initial personal and professional questions answered by students who have been in your exact position. If you’re on the fence about Duke and other schools, or if you want to know more about something you can’t find online, then this is the right forum for you. It’s also a great starting point before attending one of the more involved Open Houses.

At Informational Lunches, you have the unique opportunity to ask alumni (and/or current students like me) the questions that have been burning in your back pocket—maybe ones you don’t want to ask admissions directly. The open, casual environment of these lunches is designed to help you determine if Duke is the right fit. Since I’m on the other side of the table now, I don’t mind telling you that I’m always 100% honest in my answers to a candidate’s questions. If you say something that indicates that you may not be happy at Duke, well, I’m going to tell you that. Likewise, if you seem like the perfect fit and you can’t wait to bleed dark blue, I’ll let you know that as well!

I really enjoy talking to prospective students because I remember how daunting the entire MBA application process can be. The Informational Lunches were one of the biggest factors in my decision-making process and selection of Duke because it was the first time I was able to have candid conversations with real alumni. My expectations (which were somewhat jaded since I went to UNC for undergrad) of what Duke alumni would be like were surprisingly inaccurate. And since I am someone who needs to “see it to believe it,” that’s why I went to 3 lunches. They all had the same outcome—I discovered that Duke alumni are pretty cool. So, now that I am a Duke student, I decided to share that same experience with others by serving as an example and providing insight on the program.

Since it is sometimes hard to find answers that relate specifically to you, these lunches are the place to get those answers. For example, some of the most common questions I get are: How much time does the Duke MBA take weekly? What are your favorite classes? Why should I pick Duke over another top business school? How do I know if I am the right fit for Duke? Is the degree worth it? Which MBA program/format should I pick? …I can’t say I have all the answers for you, nor will any alumni have them all. I will say without a doubt that you will come out of an Informational Lunch with far more understanding of Duke than you had before you ordered off the menu! And, if you’re coming to one in the Raleigh area, you’ll have a pretty good chance of seeing me with a sweet tea!

Look for an Informational Lunch in your area on the Fuqua Admissions Events page. Lunch events are listed under the Information Sessions tab.

Matt Sumner

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Weekend Executive MBA, Class of 2014. Find out more about me...

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