I began my business school search broadly, looking for a program that stood out. While Fuqua naturally made the shortlist, I’ll admit I was skeptical of the incessant ‘Team Fuqua’ idiom and was curious to discover if the Fuqua community is truly genuine. I had little doubt about making close friends in a tight-knit community. But could that collaborative, team-first mentality really make a difference when it counted?

Spoiler alert—I ended up at Fuqua, so I got a front row seat to verify whether ‘Team Fuqua’ was a marketing ploy or an ethos that led to tangible actions once admitted. I quickly learned the latter was true.

If you are pursuing one of the industries that recruits early in the program—namely consulting or investment banking—you will begin your networking roller coaster within weeks of starting your formal Fall Term 1 classes in September. This experience can be daunting and competitive. But going through it with your peers can also be a bonding experience.

The second-year students generously share their tips and tricks from their own experiences with the process and provide guidelines for success. First-year students prepare by practicing interview questions with their classmates and shuttling back and forth to cities around the country to meet with bankers, often Fuqua alumni.

A standout ‘Team Fuqua’ moment came during this rigorous process. Our group was on the verge of moving on from coffee chats (getting to know you conversations) to more standard interview formats. My friend and I were narrowing in on our favorite bank, and had both been passed along to get in touch with a vice president. Like the previous conversations with this firm, it was billed as a, “get-to-know-you,” casual chat.

My friend’s conversation came first. He knew that my call with this same potential employer was later that same day. Before I even had a chance to ask him how it went, I got a text explaining that this was not a casual chat, but in actuality a first-round interview.

He filled me in on the types of questions he was asked and wished me luck. This gave me ample time to study and prep for the barrage of accounting and finance questions soon to be coming my way.

There were limited internship spots and I easily could have been cut had I not prepared accordingly. My classmate and I recognized that in the long-run, the relationships we cultivated would serve a better goal and bring out the best in each of us. As it happened, we both forged on. I was able to offer assistance to him at a later stage in the recruitment process.

While seemingly minor, this is one example of why the Fuqua community is truly genuine and fosters a caring atmosphere. It’s this pay-it-forward mentality that will carry on long after graduation.