It’s hard to believe that I’m now a Fuqua alumna. It seems like such a short time ago that I was making the drive down from Rhode Island to North Carolina to start my business school journey.

In the months since graduation, family members, friends, and prospective students have asked me what I thought about my 2 years at Fuqua. Each time I’ve come up with different highlights, but at the root of it all, that time was truly a gift to myself.

Gift of Knowledge

One of the reasons I decided to go back to school was to fill some of the knowledge gaps I felt I had, especially around accounting, marketing, and finance. And while I may not remember all the concepts and cases we learned and discussed, I know that I’ve built a stronger foundation toward understanding business more holistically.

In addition, my experience through the Health Sector Management (HSM) certificate has broadened my view of the health care industry and granted me the opportunity to learn more about medical devices, patient education, and biotechnology, to name a few topics. I love that there is still so much to learn but thankful that Fuqua has helped me discover and develop new interests.

Gift of Experimentation

During our time at Fuqua, as a class we heard from several speakers emphasizing that business school was the time to try and fail at new things within a safe bubble. I took that to heart and said “yes” to opportunities that I never thought I would.

One of the biggest highlights for me was serving as vice president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC), which is the student government body for Duke’s 9 graduate and professional schools. This was an amazing opportunity to work with many different students and administrators across the broader Duke community while practicing leadership skills we had discussed at Fuqua.

Gift of Community and Family

I vividly remember attending the February 2014 Blue Devil Weekend and sitting in on a student panel. A fellow admitted student asked what ‘Team Fuqua’ meant to each panelist. One student told a story about a section of classmates coming together to put on a baby shower for one of its members. It made me feel like Fuqua wasn’t just a place for academics but a place where people truly care about one another and work together to achieve positive results.

Throughout my 2 years at Fuqua, I can recall so many times when fellow Fuquans came together to celebrate the successes, to brainstorm solutions to problems, and to provide comfort during the lows. I can truly say that I met and found friends for life.

At the end of it all, sometimes it’s difficult to put into words how incredible of an experience business school was beyond the academics and networking. So I’ll close with this. During our Fuqua Reflects photos, my friends and I chose this quote from the wise old bear, Winnie the Pooh: “There are friends, there is family, and then there are friends that become family.”

The video below was created as a “thank you” to alumni who donated to the school, and includes more highlights from Connie’s 2 years at Fuqua: