Energy: it’s a word with many meanings. If you’re a scientist, you might say it’s the ability or capability to do work. If you’re in business, you might say it’s an industry that powers our everyday lives. And if you’re spiritual, you might say it’s this non-physical intrapersonal force or essence. At some point in my life, energy and its multitude of meanings became central to my identity. As an engineer, I’d done my fair share of physics. Before business school, I worked in the energy industry, and in my personal life, I’ve spent a lot of time discerning what vitalizes me. I knew that when I embarked on the journey to pursue an MBA, evaluating the energy balance (the energy that I received from school and the opportunities that I would have to give it energy in return) would be a critical part of my decision. Fuqua was where I found equilibrium, and I’ll tell you why.
I believe there are three essential pillars every prospective student must evaluate: academics and the learning experience, recruiting opportunities, and community. Given my background and interests, I was looking for a program that had an energy lens on each of these pillars. Duke’s MBA stood out because of the Center of Energy Development, and the Global Environment (EDGE). I liken the EDGE opportunities at Fuqua to applying an energy and sustainability filter to your traditional MBA offerings.
I’m currently enrolled in an EDGE Seminar taught by Professor Dan Vermeer, and it is by far my favorite class at Fuqua. Every seminar features a guest lecturer from the industry who gives a presentation in their area of expertise. I’ve broadened both my knowledge base and my network in a space I’m passionate about. I’ve learned about direct air capture technology, carbon dioxide removal, asset management, and impact investing. I’ve been challenged to think about complex problems like how we address sea-level rise and the communities impacted by it in an equitable, sustainable manner. The class is also a fantastic opportunity to network with professionals from the industry—some of whom may be hiring!
From a recruiting perspective, the Energy Club hosted its annual Energy Trek, which I had the pleasure of attending this winter. I discovered that Durham is booming with cleantech startups! Many of these firms featured Fuqua alumni who candidly shared their post-MBA journeys with us and talked about their experiences navigating the startup space. The trek featured many opportunities to connect with these alumni to discuss internships or full-time opportunities.
Okay, so I had to save the best pillar for last: community. Pursuing an MBA is far more than what you learn in a classroom or where you land your summer internship. Coming to business school, I knew I wanted to find an energy community (EDGE and the Energy club), but I also wanted to find a community that gives me energy. Ultimately, I chose Fuqua for the people. It’s a community where you get congratulatory phone calls when accepted and where your classmates offer to watch your dog if you’re traveling. It’s where you get text messages checking in on your well-being during recruiting season and where one of the most popular phrases on campus is, “How can I help?”. So, when people ask me, “Why Fuqua?” I say, “It’s the energy for me,” and now you all know exactly what I mean.