Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog
Graduating Early: The Pros and Cons
It wasn’t my plan to graduate from business school early. It just sort of happened. I had planned on doing a dual degree program with the International Development Policy Program, but through a series of mishaps and second thoughts, I ended up not going through with it. Somehow, through it all, I managed to get the requisite 79 credits for graduation by this December, and found a job that would allow me to begin in December. I don’t know too many other folks who’ve taken this approach, but truth be told, I didn’t take it as much as it took me.
So, a couple weeks ago, I packed all the remnants of my time at Fuqua, and began unloading them into a much smaller and more expensive apartment in Jersey City, NJ. Because it wasn’t planned as such, I’m not sure how to feel about this. And, whenever I’m at such an impasse, a pro and con list is in order.
- It turns out that business school actually gets pretty expensive, and that reality hits home once you dust off the loan packet you got first year and see the abundance of zeroes at the end of it. Starting my job early gives me a chance to make some headway on paying these loans back, and to stop using the excuse that “I’m on a student’s budget!” to avoid splurging for things that I want, but don’t need.
- Even though I interned in the same role at the same company during the past summer, this job promises to be a new and unique challenge for me. I’m definitely the type of person who likes to move from task to task quickly, so perhaps a transition was in order.
- Being near family is a huge plus. For all of Durham’s merits, for me, it’s not quite home. New Jersey, event with its association to angry housewives and tanned muscle heads, is home, and I think my experience at Fuqua may have underlined the importance of family in more ways than one. This spring is loaded with holidays, birthdays, and baseball games I might not otherwise have a chance to attend. Additionally, this move keeps my wife happy; she was able to find a job in New York that started in October, and doing the long distance bit just wasn’t for us.
- Missing the tail end of what promises to be a pretty good basketball season doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. I’m going to miss the games at Cameron, but Duke basketball has become such a cultural meme that I won’t have any trouble finding a good Dukie bar in New York that carries all the games, even the ones against lesser opponents.
- There’s some irony in our fastidious development of leadership traits at Fuqua, which is often followed by us going to the bottom of the figurative totem pole for a few years at our jobs. Anyway, we always knew this was to be a long-term investment. However, I’ve really come to enjoy the leadership roles I’ve been able to take on, both in the extra-curricular and academic settings. I’ll attempt to stay as attached as possible, though it promises to be difficult given the distance.
- I seem to recall senior year of college being one of the most relaxing and enjoyable times of my life. After I had a job lined up, earlier in the school year, I had nary a care in the world for the next several months. The second semester of my second-year in the MBA program seems to roughly correlate to this time, so at first glance, I’d seem to be skipping out on the best part of my experience. But, perhaps time has hardened me; I’m not as talented at relaxing as I once was.
All in all, I came to realize that this was the right choice for me, though, admittedly, it was dependent on a lot of factors that are probably unique to me. It’s an approach that not many students consider, and as my classmates are all pretty bright, I assume this is for good reason.