Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog
Alumni Myth Busting: 4 Things About the Fuqua Experience
I’m baaaacck. You may remember me from such then-student blog posts as “What You Need to Know Before Starting B-School” and “The Unofficial 5-Step Path to Leadership Success at Fuqua.”
While Fuqua made me move on (I still think a 3-year MBA would be awesome…although how about buy 2 years, get 1 free?), I am back to share my wisdom ramblings.
I have been busy since we last virtually met. I graduated in May 2013, did an unpaid externship with the awesome KIPP organization, and re-joined Deloitte Consulting’s Human Capital practice.
So what brings me back into your lives? I am here to answer the ever so important question—is it all worth it? You know…the MBA…Fuqua…? Short Answer: YES
I am absolutely a better person and definitely a better business person as a result of the investment I made in myself to get an MBA and for choosing Fuqua. I think you will be too, however maybe not in the ways you expect. Given that I’m a few years ahead of where you are now, I wanted to clear up some myths that will hopefully make your MBA experience that much stronger:
Fuqua is going to give me tactical skills, all of which I will use day 1 in my job and every day going forward.
REALITY: I have probably forgotten 50% of what I learned at Fuqua due to lack of regular use and capacity to retain all of that information. I wish I could remember the 3-legged stool from Managerial Accounting and Professor Shane Dikoli or how to calculate IRR from Corporate Finance and Professor John Graham. However, Fuqua educated me on how to get smart quick. I haven’t had to use those two concepts for the past year, but I KNOW that I could quickly get back up to speed if and when I do. I am also now equipped with an army of former classmates who are using those skills on a regular basis, and I know they would happily spend 5 or 10 minutes helping me talk through a concept if I needed help.
REMEMBER: You are getting a crash course in business concepts, not to make you an expert, but to make you educated holistically with the aptitude to become an expert if and when you need to be.
I am never going to use anything from the Management Communications course Fuqua makes me take.
REALITY: All business is show business. Your career will move as quickly as you can communicate the value you bring to an organization. You have to be able to tell a story through slides or through a presentation. I can assure you that you will constantly be on conference calls, meeting with clients, and giving impromptu presentations. There is no getting around it, no matter the career track you choose.
REMEMBER: The more you practice your communication skills, the better you will perform when given those opportunities. Take each chance to build your communications skills in a safe environment at Fuqua seriously, or pay for it later.
Once I leave Fuqua, I can toss my Personal Development Plan (PDP) and this whole goal setting nonsense out the window.
REALITY: Time flies. The years will pass quickly once you leave Fuqua and it is super easy for you to get lost in your everyday work. In addition, no one is going to check in with you to see if the work you are doing or the career you are building is what YOU want. You have to make the time to think about your short and long term goals, and assess if what you are doing is getting you there and making you happy. You will have to speak up and be your own advocate to receive the type of work that most aligns with your goals and interests.
REMEMBER: If you haven’t thought about your goals and personal development, then how will you know what you want? Build the habit while at Fuqua so you never hesitate with the question “What is it you want to be when you grow up?”
You will never get gray hair
REALITY: Gray hair starts right after you graduate. #OMG
REMEMBER: Fuqua will likely be one the best experiences of your life. Take advantage of every opportunity Fuqua has to offer. It only gets real out here in the work world. #GRAYHAIR