I have friends who laughed when I said that I planned to go to business school. Literally laughed. “You?!” they said, knowing my background in government. They assumed (as I probably did, too) that law school was my most likely next step. But I did not head in that direction after graduating from the University of Virginia with a degree in government. With every year that passed in the “real world,” I found myself more interested in other career paths.

Changing Course

I was beginning to study for the LSAT as a senior at UVA when my then girlfriend (now wife) recommended positions with several consulting firms as a way to explore both the public and private sectors. I had just finished an internship with the State Department, where I was increasingly concerned that heading into the public sector, although always an interest for me, should not be my immediate next step. I had no idea what exactly “consulting” meant, but I ended up with a few interviews. When an offer came through, my undergrad adviser strongly encouraged that I accept it, which I did.

It’s funny to recollect exactly how that first year in consulting proceeded. I learned far more about Excel than I ever wanted. I’m fairly embarrassed to admit how much I knew about airline and hotel loyalty programs. But I also eventually realized that I really enjoyed doing what I had by then learned consultants did – help clients solve problems with a fresh, external perspective.


Amidst this realization, I started to explore the resumes of my colleagues. Almost everyone had gone back to school for an MBA. I was lucky to have a mentor at the firm who encouraged my next step: a formal business education to complement my “on‑the‑job” business training.

While exploring and ultimately deciding on an MBA, I had three priorities:

  1. Global focus. Several consulting projects had taken me outside the United States, and I was passionate (and still am) about the way the world is changing. I hoped for a business education where I would have the chance to work with people from around the world. Fuqua’s high percentage of international students and global expansion initiative were very attractive to me.
  2. Great environment for partners. My wife and I debated going to school together, but she had a start-up opportunity and decided to continue to pursue it. We wanted an environment where she would be actively welcomed and considered a part of the community. The Fuqua Partners program was honestly a defining aspect of our decision making process. 
  3. The elusive “fit.” I visited a lot of programs because I felt that “fit” was difficult to decipher without speaking with current and former students. For me, fit was critical. I wanted a place where I could develop relationships that would be successful both in a personal and a professional sense. At Fuqua, I found a place where students take their work very seriously, but do not take themselves too seriously. And that was very appealing to me.

So here I am, just a few months from graduation. My wife is actually now a first-year Daytime MBA student, so we are happy to be staying in Durham for another year. I am excited to join this blog and share a few posts during this period before the “real world” calls once more.