Group of students
My first year team after an incredible day of bonding!

After an entertaining and exhausting 3-day orientation, I completely forgot that there was this whole thing called academics that would actually start! Many may wonder, why does Fuqua start school a full month prior to many other MBA programs? The answer is simple … warming the students up slowly! While hitting the ground running may be fun for some, I know I needed some time to acclimate to Durham, school life, and the joys of studying again. Enter Fuqua’s Global Institute.

The Global Institute is a one-month introduction to Fuqua consisting of 2 courses and lots of team building. The courses are on Global Business, and Leadership and Ethics. The Global Institute is also an opportunity for students to begin working in their teams.  For those who may be unaware, all first-year students are assigned to a team of 6 – 7 classmates with whom you complete all group projects for the various courses. The teams are diverse and represent individuals from all backgrounds, both professionally and personally.

Students balancing on suspended ropes
My teammate and I as we balance and move along the ropes.

While academics are a strong focus during Global Institute, it’s also a lot of fun, including Triangle Training and lots of socializing with your classmates.

Triangle Training: This isn’t the ropes course you did in elementary school!

For an entire day in August, each first-year team is taken out into the woods of North Carolina to a team-building ropes course. The course and entire day are built around team building and allowing individuals to get to know each other on a more personal level. In your teams, you complete lots of fun activities that require immense team work. By the end of the day, you have completely bonded with your team through rock climbing, ropes balancing, and other crazy activities! It may sound hokey but is perhaps one of the most memorable experiences you will have at Fuqua.

Socializing and getting to know your classmates: You were a commercial airline pilot before Fuqua? WHAT?!?

Dipesh with Nolan Smith
Not only did I have fun socializing with my classmates, but I also met meet Nolan Smith (former Duke Basketball star who was a first round NBA draft pick) at Shooters in Durham!

As you warm up academically and get to know your team mates, a big part of the first month is also getting to know the rest of your 400+ classmates. August is spent at house parties, Shooters (best local bar/club), and exploring Durham. This is your opportunity to really begin networking with your classmates as you begin your journey together. This is the time when you meet people from countries you have never heard of, and learn how small a world it really is as you meet classmates who went to college, high school, or even elementary school with you! You will be amazed at the things people did before business school:

  • Commercial Airline pilot — Got one of those!
  • Emergency Room Doctor — Got one of those!
  • Construction Foreman — Got one of those!

This variety of professional backgrounds is JUST from my 70 member section. Obviously, you can imagine the diverse backgrounds of your future classmates.

When August ends, you are warmed up academically and socially, and you are ready for that first term!