Experiencing all four seasons at Duke’s beautiful campus during my first year of the MBA journey has been a visual delight and a metaphor for my personal growth journey and that of my classmates. Joining a cohort of around 400 high-achieving, intelligent individuals has been both inspiring and challenging, pushing us to re-evaluate and grow in unexpected ways.

Season 1: Summer – Full of Energy

We arrived with starry eyes and high hopes, driven by ambition and excitement for what lies ahead. The energy and positivity were palpable.

Key Learning: Embrace Open-Mindedness

Interacting with people from various cultural backgrounds and nationalities helped me discover new facets of myself, fostering personal growth.

Season 2: Fall – The Pressure Begins

Recruiting pressure kicked in alongside intense coursework. As someone with a non-traditional background and a decade-long study gap, this period was challenging. The support from my C-LEAD, peers, and second-year students was invaluable, and I successfully navigated these challenges.

Key Learning: Find Your Tribe and Disciplined Time Management

Building a support system within the cohort is crucial. The unexpected support and camaraderie I’ve experienced reaffirmed my choice of business school. Additionally, scheduling even the smallest activities, including time with friends and family, has been essential in balancing the demands of business school.

A montage of four Fuqua photos taken in each season - Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring

Season 3: Winter – The Toughest Season

Winter brought the toughest challenges. The rigors of the recruiting season resulted in multiple rejections and moments of hopelessness. This humbling experience taught us resilience.

Key Learning: Learn to Pivot

Plans B, C, or D… often prove more effective than plan A. Learning to fail forward and bounce back quickly is crucial.

Season 4: Spring – Renewal and Growth

Spring brought a sense of renewal. The tough winter gave way to new opportunities and growth, symbolizing the transformative power of perseverance.

Key Learning: Healthy Competition with Decency Quotient

Competition is fierce, but Fuqua’s emphasis on decency quotient (DQ) sets us apart and strengthens our Team Fuqua spirit.

My first year at Fuqua has been transformative, both personally and professionally. These experiences and learnings have not only prepared me for the business world but have also shaped me into a more resilient and empathetic individual.