Is becoming an entrepreneur a part of your career goals? Business school can be one of the many important steps you’ll need to achieve this goal and Fuqua’s curriculum provides excellent preparation. Since I’ve been here I’ve had the opportunity to learn how to create and interpret important financial statements, forecast profits, understand customers and create a strong business strategy.

One useful opportunity that business school provides is the chance to network with other entrepreneurs or with individuals who have worked with entrepreneurs. Duke offers a number of opportunities for this, through its Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which oversees the popular Duke Global Entrepreneurship Network (also known as DukeGEN). The center provides enterprising individuals from all of Duke’s schools with contests and programs to test the rigor of their ideas and find ways to develop them.

The center and its contests have been a great resource for me. I’m currently working on a project targeted at businesses in emerging markets and the center’s feedback has been very helpful in developing my idea.

Some of the events held by the center include elevator pitch competitions in the fall and a full business plan competition in the spring called The Duke Start-Up Challenge. These events allow students to network with fellow entrepreneurs, mentors and potential investors, get feedback on their ideas and also win the funding necessary to help their business succeed.

This spring, The Duke Start-Up Challenge plans to award a grand price of $50,000! That’s enough to provide a solid foundation for almost any entrepreneurial venture. Since 1999, The Duke Start-Up Challenge has supported a number of ventures which have stimulated the local economy and led to new products and business ideas.