From Shanghai to Durham

About a year ago, I wandered here to read blog posts, trying to find some clues for my “Why Duke” application essay. Inspired, I ended up writing my essay in a blog format, and now, I cannot believe that I’m an official blogger! My journey between applying to the program, to where I am today has been both challenging and fun -– here are some highlights:

Coming to America

At the end of June, I arrived in Durham at midnight, with other classmates, after 24-hours of travel from Shanghai. It was the first time I came to the U.S. … No mattress. No food. No car. No local phone numbers. No furniture. But thanks to the supportive local Chinese community, all the challenges were easily overcome during the first few days. Then, many ladies from China, including me, gradually learned to drive with peer coaching, and obtained a North Carolina Driver’s License –- a milestone in the formal transition to our new lives!

Brushing up on my English

Shortly after settling into my new home, I walked into Fuqua to begin my MBA with the Language Institute. The program started in July, and was required for international students without solid study or work experience in English-speaking countries. During the 2-week institute, besides pronunciation courses, we read many business cases, delivered presentations almost everyday, and simulated interactive B-school classes. What’s more, I built friendships with around 100 international classmates, thanks to the teamwork exercises (and parties)!

Making some noise at Orientation!

Building Team Bonds

By the time Orientation began in August, the energy level was so high that it seemed like it would never go down. While Orientation included a lot of information, there were also fun bonding activities. In teams of 6, we rushed across the campus in a scavenger hunt. More than 400 students cheered for each other in a tug-of-war competition. Several shuttle buses ran between our homes and Chapel Hill for the ‘80s Party. At the end of the three days of Orientation, when our first-year learning teams were announced, I felt like my life at Fuqua would be great.

I was correct. I have nice teammates, and we really trust, care about and support each other. We have 2 – 4 team meetings every week for case assignments, and on top of that, we schedule other gatherings for team building. My team originally bonded through various leadership activities during the Global Institute (a 3-week program in August), including an outdoor Team Challenge Day at the nearby Triangle Training Center, where we did various physical challenges as a team, including walking on a high wire and “climbing the wall,” which is a Fuqua tradition. It was not easy for me to walk on the high wire, but I never doubted that I could make it, with help from my classmates. A few days later, we fixed the roof of a house during a community service day with Habitat for Humanity of Durham. The camaraderie within my team and with my other classmates continued to grow during Campout, when I survived 36 hours in uncomfortable conditions, with little sleep and little food.

Looking Forward to More Traveling

All of the great experiences that I’ve mentioned, and the collaboration involved is what I hoped to get from Fuqua, and the teamwork was a main reason behind why I chose Fuqua. Additionally, I wanted to attend a global business school to fuel my global career development in the future. At Fuqua, international opportunities abound. For example, I already signed up to go to South Africa for a Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum. I hope to do an exchange program in Europe, and to go to Latin America for a GATE trip in spring 2014. So, I have a lot more traveling to come, and new international and cultural experiences to look forward to!

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Meiqing Fan

Daytime MBA, Class of 2014

I was born in Shanghai, worked in Beijing and came to the United States as one of the youngest members of my class at Fuqua. While here I’ve held several club cabinet positions, traveled as much as I could and still found time to play golf on the Duke course nearby.

Learn more about Meiqing | View all of Meiqing's Posts

  • Fleur Tang

    Wow finally see a Chinese blogger and more happily, we are laoxiang=) Looking forward to more interesting happenings in Duke from the perspective of a Chinese!!

    • Meiqing Fan

      Fleur, glad to see that you like it. There are many Chinese students here. I definitely will write more in future. Have a nice weekend!

  • Lucille Wu

    Dear Meiqing, I’ve talked with you before on QQ 🙂

    Surprised and glad to see you writing as an ambassador. It definitely revealed life in Duke in a very special and Chinese way, esp for the parts mentioning about settling down in Durham and getting a driver’s license.

    Hope we’ll see more posts from you.

    • Meiqing Fan

      Dear Lucillie,
      Glad to see you here. It’s good to follow student blog, which was what I did one year ago.
      Thanks for your interest. I’ll definitely write more exciting experiences. Good luck with your application!

  • Eric Huo

    Hi Meiqing,

    Thanks for sharing your experience in Fuqua. I saw your introduction of the blog, and I am also a drama fan. When I implemented projects in Beijing, I enjoyed a lot of drama shows such as shows of the Beijing People’ Art Theatre. Hope you can share your theatre experience in Duke.

    Duke is my dream school, I wish I could join the Fuqua family next year: )


    • Meiqing Fan

      Hi Eric,

      Thanks for your interest in Fuqua, and glad to know that you love drama. Actually, I also enjoyed many shows of Beijing People’s Art Theatre when I was in Beijing.

      I have attended some on-campus concerts here, such as a String Quartet from Duke Performance, and several choirs in Duke Chapel, including the traditional annual performance, Handel’s Messiah (free for Duke students).

      I have not watched shows in DPAC (Durham Performance Arts Center) yet, but I think I’ll write a blog about all kinds of shows in Duke and Durham after watching more shows. There’re certainly huge cultural differences in drama, but I plan to try something different.

      Good luck!


    Hi Meiqing

    Glad to read your blog here. I am applying for Duke for 2013 and also fascinating by the Consulting Practicum in Fuqua. Just as you did, I am trying to find some information to finish my essay “Why Duke” at the moment from the blogs here. Could you mind if I ask for your contact information in order to get more information about Duke? I look forward to hear from you soon!


    • Meiqing Fan

      Hi Ting,

      Glad to connect with you. I’d also connect you with another student with similar medical background with you to help you know more about HSM.

      Best of luck for your application!

  • Coco Cai

    Dear Meiqing,
    Thank you for sharing, it’s helpful!
    I am currently applying for Duke. I work in marketing fuction and will continue my marketing journey after MBA. I am trying to get more information about Fuqua’s efforts in marketing area. Would you please help me to connect with a students who has the similar background?
    Thank you very much and best regards!

    • Meiqing Fan

      Hi Coco,

      Nice to know you. For the student with similar background, you could use Ask a Student resource at You would receive a response from a student.

      We have fabulous faculty and courses in marketing, including the marketing core (Marketing Management), and many electives that I plan to take in the following terms (Consumer Behaviors, Marketing Strategy, Market Intelligence, Product Management, Marketing of Innovations) – great classes and amazing learning experiences, and full of fun!

      Marketing Club is a vibrant community at Fuqua. I love corporate education sessions offered. I learned the global branding/ marketing strategy and best practices from leading brands such as Coca-cola, Oreo, Band-aid etc. They are truly exciting and eye-opening experiences for me. Like other professional clubs, Marketing Club also offers recruiting educational sessions, Marketing Intensive Learning Experience (MILE), networking with companies, week-in-cities (company visits), and mock interviews with second-years. Besides recruiting-related activities, we also have marketing case competitions, Brand Challenge (funny roadshow competition), and lunch-and-learn with faculty. By the way, Fuqua’s marketing ranks Top 3 among US b-schools.

      Hope it helps. Good luck!

  • Xinyu Chen

    Hi Meiqing,

    Your blog is really helpful! The extracurricular activities seem very interesting. Like Ting Li, I am curious about Duke and life in Durham. Would you mind giving me your contact information?

    Thanks a lot!



    • Meiqing Fan

      Hi Xinyu,

      I’m writing several other posts regarding my academic and personal life at Duke and Durham. Come back to check in a few weeks! If you have specific questions regarding a certain topic, you could write to You would receive a response from a student familiar with that topic. Thanks for your interest in Fuqua!

  • Shane

    Hi Meiqing, I noticed that you are also a member of AWIB. What does it offer? Is it helpful in exploring career opportunities? I’d like to hear your experience in the club. Thanks and Happy New Year!


    • Meiqing Fan

      Hi Shane,

      Yes, AWIB offers a lot of support in the recruiting process, such as resume/cover letter/interview workshops, “Women in Consulting” and panel sessions hosted together with leading consulting firms, lunch with companies, and networking activities. For specific questions regarding the club, I would suggest you reach an Admission Director of AWIB, which you could find on the club website:

  • Helius He


    Great! first-hand info. especially from a the same chinese!

    I’ve worked in supply chain IT for years and i’m applying Fuqua now.
    So glad to see your blogs here with so few info of MBA in Shenzhen, even in the whole southern china.
    Expect to see more fresh things here.

    thanks for your sharing.

    • Meiqing Fan

      Hi Helius,

      Thanks for your interest in Fuqua. There might be fewer school information sessions or student-led coffee chats in Shenzhen, but you can always obtain information and connect to people on the Internet. Good luck with your application!

  • Carrie Zhang

    “About a year ago, I wandered here to read blog posts, trying to find some clues for my “Why Duke” application essay.”——I’m doing the same thing now! Hope next year this time I can be an official blogger too:)

    I like your blog. BTW, I am also from Shanghai:)

    • Meiqing Fan

      Hi Carrie,

      Thanks for your interest. Glad to know that you’re doing the same thing. It seems that you’re on the right track! Good luck!

  • Sherry Xu

    Hi Meiqing,
    Your blog posts are really helpful for me to work on my “Why Fuqua” essay!
    I am currently applying for Duke and I really like your blog. I wonder if I could write you an email and get some info?

    P.S I also graduated from Fudan University and have a classmate working in Shell in Beijing. 🙂

    • Meiqing Fan

      Hi Sherry,

      Glad to know you. Sure, I would love to talk to you.