For the first time this summer, MMS students attended the Fuqua Language Institute with MBA students. All participants were incoming international students who had not spent significant time in the United States. The institute was a mandatory pre-term program for international MBA students, and six MMS students joined the “big party” this year. For several reasons, I am very glad that I was one of the “lucky six.”

I spent 5 full days in the Language Institute, honing my English skills. Classes and tutorial sessions were held from 8:00 a.m. until noon and then again from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.

It was far more than an English program, though. It was a taste of real life at Fuqua.

The institute provided me with the chance to warm up for the summer term and everything else that would come with the MMS program. We had individual assignments, team meetings, presentations, and networking events. It was intensive as well as practical. For example, I formed a good habit of meeting regularly with Kitty Dalton, the ESL teacher at Fuqua. We worked on my spoken English, written English, resume, cover letter, and even how to write emails properly in the U.S. These one-on-one meetings with Kitty are extremely helpful and effective.

The institute was also a great place to network with MBA students from all over the world. I am amazed that the friendships I built during those 5 days are so strong, and I think they will last for a long time. It was great to meet some of my new MMS classmates and MBA colleagues in such a small-group setting.

It did not take long for me to realize that the work load during the institute was like hors d’oeuvres compared with what has come since then. Although it takes much more than a week’s efforts to improve my language skills, the institute was definitely a help and an interesting kick-off to the school year.