Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog
My Three Opportunities to Learn Beyond the Classroom
I found many exciting and compelling opportunities to develop professional skills and abilities through experiential learning.
Growing up in an Indian middle-income household, self-sponsoring my undergraduate education, and working for a cash-strapped startup has taught me how to do more with less. I’ve always had a default approach to optimizing resources and opportunities to maximize returns. Fast forward a month into the Daytime MBA program, I was overwhelmed with Fuqua’s plethora of resources and opportunities to learn beyond the classroom. I struggled to decide which ones to pursue. My ‘default approach’ was my impediment.
I returned to the drawing board and asked myself why I chose Fuqua. The top two reasons were the Team Fuqua ethos and the experiential learning opportunities.
I found many exciting and compelling opportunities to develop professional skills and abilities through experiential learning. So, I signed up for three of them.
Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum (FCCP)
As a student consultant, I worked with Clean Energy Ventures, a venture capital firm, to explore potential business applications for a novel technology, Vehicle to Grid (V2G). Using V2G, an electric vehicle owner can use the energy stored in the car’s battery to send electricity back to the power grid and get financial benefits.
Although there was a steep learning curve, I got to work with some of my best and brightest peers in Fuqua, allowing me to learn about the automobile and utilities industry, the technical mechanisms of how V2G works, and the frameworks of building a robust business model. Additionally, the collaborative nature of this experience allowed me to develop my leadership skills in a different professional setting (moving from India to the US).
Global Academic Travel Experience (GATE)
GATE is an elective course in which you focus on a region’s history, politics, economy, and culture as your class travels through the region. Stephanie Robertson, assistant dean for the office of diversity and inclusion, led our course with the objective of studying how businesses in Germany and the U.S. can play essential roles in creating more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations. For me, this was the ideal conduit to explore Germany, learn about its economy and culture, learn about the business impact of DEI efforts, and, in the process, make lifelong friends. From meeting business leaders in Frankfurt to enjoying a kolsch at the bank of the Rhine, this was an experience of a lifetime.
International Exchange Program
I did not have the opportunity to go for a study abroad program during my undergrad—so all the more reason for me to experience this at Fuqua. My exchange term at the SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan, Italy allowed me to internationalize my MBA experience, despite not being an official experiential learning program. I got to learn about global macroeconomics from European business leaders, work on EU business problems, study art in various renowned museums, visit race car manufacturing facilities, and eat some of the best meals of my life.
These experiences allowed me to learn beyond the classroom, making the most of my two years at Fuqua. I encourage you all to take the leap of faith; you will have a truly enriching experience.