With graduation now behind me, I find it fitting to reflect on my journey at Fuqua and articulate how the experience has shaped me. On multiple occasions, Fuqua enabled me to step out of my comfort zone.

I vividly recall the day I arrived in Durham, tasked with setting up a new home on 9th Street with just two suitcases, having traveled halfway across the world from India. The experience was a mix of intimidation, overwhelm, and excitement. It marked the beginning of forging new friendships and embracing new experiences.

Engaging with a Diverse Community

Joining a diverse MBA program like Fuqua provided ample opportunities to connect with people from all over the globe. I was eager to delve deeper into understanding and connecting with my peers beyond superficial conversations. The students and staff facilitated these opportunities through initiatives like C-LEADs, Fuqua Fridays, and diversity club events. These platforms not only encouraged interaction but also fostered meaningful connections with my classmates.

I made sure to take every opportunity to immerse myself in different cultures. I found myself practicing Spanish with fellow Latin American Student Association (LASA) members, leaning on them during travels to their home countries, and sharing my own culture during Diwali and Holi celebrations.

Navigating the Recruitment Process

Coming from India, I quickly realized that the recruitment process in the U.S. operates quite differently. Attending recruiting events, I learned the importance of stepping out of my comfort zone, networking, and presenting myself effectively. I had to shed my introverted tendencies and embrace curiosity.

With the guidance of Career Fellows and my second-year mentors, I overcame these barriers, engaging in conversations beyond sports or weather and effectively communicating my interests and capabilities during the recruitment process.

Sai Kuncham Venkat wearing his graduation gown, leans on a sign reading "The Fuqua School of Business"

Taking on Leadership Roles

During my undergraduate years, I was more laid-back and rarely participated in extracurricular activities. This time around, I aimed to be different, actively seeking opportunities to lead.

I was fortunate to be elected as co-president of the Duke MBA Consulting Club (DMCC) alongside Madeline Johnson. Leading a team of 18 members and addressing queries from over 100 students was indeed challenging. With the support of my co-president, career coach Mary Beck White-Sutton, and the entire cabinet, I am proud of the club’s achievements across all metrics.

Exploring New Hobbies

Moving to the U.S. meant leaving behind familiar pastimes like cricket and Indian Premier League (IPL). Eager to connect with my classmates, I embraced new hobbies such as pickleball.

Fuqua’s abundance of trips and activities allowed me to explore further, including treks with the Building Outdoor Leaders at Duke (BOLD) Club, board games with the Board Games Club, and adventures in seven countries during breaks. I attended multiple Duke basketball, baseball, football, and even lacrosse games. Though it took a bit of time to understand these sports, I grew to like them and found a way to enjoy them with a group of my close friends.

Pursuing an MBA at Fuqua has been a transformative experience, made possible by the support of friends, classmates, Career Management Center (CMC), and Fuqua staff. Stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things has enriched both myself and those around me. I am immensely grateful to Fuqua for this journey. And, for the record, this reflection is entirely my own—no ChatGPT assistance needed!