Getting an invitation to one of these events feels like winning the lottery (or at least it did for me). After months of tirelessly working through GMAT problems, completing applications, and hoping for brilliant recommendations, decisions are finally handed out. Now there are new concerns. How do you leverage remaining vacation days to go to these admit weekends? When will you tell your manager and colleagues that you’re leaving? How do you start to relax now that the feeling of utter relief of getting into a school or many schools is a reality? How do you decide which school you’ll be cutting the first of many huge checks to?
Last year, attending Fuqua’s admitted student weekend, called Blue Devil Weekend (BDW), helped me to decide that Duke was the right program for me. For those of you visiting Durham this weekend, I hope you’ll find some of this helpful:
- Go to the admit weekend! It’s essential that you visit or visit again. Would you buy a house without stepping into it and feeling it out? Would you trust the neighborhood is a good one if you haven’t walked around it? Business school is a huge investment – continue to do your homework so it’s an investment made wisely!
- Be prepared to feel wonderfully overwhelmed. Of course you’ve prepared for what this would be. That’s what crazy type-A’s do. Still as it comes together it feels surreal. Enjoy this feeling! You’ve worked hard. You’ve been selected. On many levels it’s a celebration of who you are and who you will become.
- Talk to people – not for the words coming out of their mouth, but for the totality of their responses. Read their body language. How “real” do their answers feel? Do you feel comfortable with these people? They will become your alumni base and they will be your fellow classmates. Now that I’m almost through one year, I can’t stress how integral the people in my classes have been to my overall learning and experience. It’s true each school has a personality and culture – just like every firm, every family, every country, etc.
- Try to lock in your housing if you have a strong preference. Make a mental note of where you want to live and who you may want to live with. Housing is a hot commodity and finding the right housing community for you is important. I locked in my housing a few weeks after BDW which relieved a bunch of logistical stress. In the end, it doesn’t matter too much where you choose to live since B-school is such an active experience, but it’s nice to claim a sub-community.
- Ask yourself, can you love the imperfections? On the margin there are things you’ll wish were different about a school or its location. Think back to the reasons you applied to certain schools. Think about where you want to be in 2 years. Can this school get you there?
Lots of luck to all of you who are in decision mode. I look forward to meeting many of you if you’re coming to Fuqua for BDW. Maybe you’ll fall for Durham and Duke the way I did – either way you’re on the start of an incredible journey … get ready!