Weekend for Women (W4W) is hosted each fall by Fuqua’s Office of Admissions, and it’s kind of like summer camp, but on hyperdrive. You’ll be surrounded by other women who are exploring The Duke MBA for 48-plus hours and you’ll get to know some of them really well during that time. Lucky for me, some of my favorite people from the W4W that I attended decided to come to Fuqua too, and we reunited in August to begin spending the next two amazing years together.

Even before attending the event, I was already being connected with other prospective applicants. A Fuqua student who was organizing W4W contacted me about another woman who was coming from San Francisco—like me! We were even on the same flight to Durham and shared a cab to campus from the airport. We instantly bonded over our shared experiences working for non-profits, coming from the Bay Area, and the woes of applying to business school.

On the first night of W4W, there was a mixer at a local wine bar to let all of the attendees get to know one another and casually chat with current students at Fuqua. We were among the last people to arrive and I was worried I’d be too groggy and not have the energy to talk to anyone, but meeting these women was worth the trip alone. I was astonished at how many places, industries and backgrounds were represented amongst our group. The broad representation really proved how diverse your exposure will be at Duke.

Group photo of the 2013 Weekend for Women attendees
Group photo of the 2013 Weekend for Women attendees

Fuqua covers lodging and meals during the event, and I finally met my roommate for the weekend once I made it back to the hotel later that night. She was coming from Winston-Salem, about an hour west of Durham. She was originally from South Carolina, went to Clemson University, and was a mechanical engineer. At first, I didn’t think we had anything in common: I was coming from a big city on the West Coast, had a non-profit background, and had never been to North Carolina before. However, it didn’t take long for us to realize we had plenty in common—and little did we know at the time that we were going to be great friends going forward.

The next 48 hours were a whirlwind. We’d wake up early in the morning and have a full day of events ahead of us. We learned about the school’s curriculum (including a mock class with a Fuqua professor), different career tracks, the Financial Aid process, and leadership opportunities for women. One of my favorite parts was the International Opportunities Session where a handful of current students talked to us about their international travels, consulting projects, and study abroad exchanges. It was very intimate and informal, perfect for gaining an inside view into all of the different opportunities Fuqua has to offer.

Even if you are still unsure about going to business school, I highly recommend applying for Weekend for Women. The event provides an invaluable chance for you to see if an MBA, and specifically The Duke MBA, is right for you. Whether you’re currently applying or just beginning to think about your grad school options, W4W will help you understand what you can get out of business school, and you’ll get to meet some truly remarkable women along the way.

A little something extra… If you make it out to W4W and you have time, stay an extra day! I flew out early Monday morning, so I had most of Sunday to explore Durham on my own. I wandered around the Central Park neighborhood where I sampled beer at the local brewery Fullsteam, caught a Wounded Warrior Amputee softball game at Durham Athletic Park, and ate lunch at Geer Street Garden. I quickly learned how vibrant of a community Durham really is and that this California girl could not only survive, but thrive living in the South for a couple years.