Applying to business school—oh the memories! I remember two years ago, with the GMAT out of the way, I was confident that I had just completed the hardest part of the application process. Then, all of a sudden, it hit me: I had no idea what program was truly right for me.
As an international applicant from Europe, finding the right institution was daunting. I knew what I wanted to get out of the MBA experience, but I wasn’t sure which program could offer it to me.
Born and raised in the French countryside, in a town of 250 people, I naturally valued small communities and their local traditions. Studying green chemistry and engineering, and later working for GE Power & Water, I focused most of my career on energy and the environment. As a result, I wanted my next school to have a strong culture, but also welcome unconventional backgrounds and career paths like mine.
Finding the right MBA program was crucial for me. If you are an international applicant in the same situation, don’t fear, here are the three resources that helped me determine that Fuqua was right for me.
Check Out Online Resources
Look for direct feedback in blogs and forums.
To help me find the right school, the internet was my first stop. Like most prospective students, l started looking at different websites to get a sense of each institution. I spent hours doing research on different programs, their cultures, and their post-graduation opportunities. First, I wanted to understand the differences between U.S. and European MBAs, then I wanted to learn about individual differences between each institution. I found the most useful websites to be forums and blogs. The direct student feedback provided tangible examples of each program’s culture and focus. Poets & Quants is just one of the many websites I used to help me make up my mind.
Take Advantage of Campus Visits
This is your chance to get a taste of the school’s culture.
I have to admit that while these websites were great tools to get started, they were not what led me to Fuqua. My first personal experience with Fuqua was a few weeks before I decided to apply when I signed up for a campus visit. In September, I decided to visit campus, attend a class, and participate in Fuqua Friday. Over lunch, current students were all happy to share their perspectives and opinions on the program. During Fuqua Friday, a weekly school tradition, I had a first-hand experience of the strong community within the school. Students, faculty, and families all met in the Fox Center to chat about the week, all while enjoying food and drinks. This experience is what really resonated with me, as the close-knit community and culture were unparalleled at other schools.
Meet Current Students and Alumni
They are always happy to share their experiences.
After my first campus visit, I decided to reach out to a fellow European who was a student at Fuqua. He quickly became a close friend of mine. After a few phone conversations, I knew that the school was a cultural fit, but I wanted to learn more about the different career paths it could offer. The second-year student happily connected me by email with other students with similar career goals to mine. After my admissions interview, he took me out, introduced me to other students, and showed me his favorite spots in Durham. He genuinely embodied Fuqua’s supportive ambition. By connecting me with other students interested in energy, he made me feel comfortable that the program would help me grow in my desired field.
If I hadn’t explored online resources, visited the school, and had multiple one-on-one conversations with current students, I’m not sure that I could have confidently stated my fit at Fuqua. However, after meeting students and exploring Durham, I was so excited about the prospect of joining the Fuqua School of Business. Once admitted, the decision was easy.
So, if you are an international applicant just as I was a couple of years ago, and unsure what American business school is right for you, don’t be afraid to reach out to us. Ideally, come visit us and experience it for yourself. But regardless of the visit, don’t be afraid to contact current students and alumni. We are always happy to share our experiences at Fuqua!