For the next 8 months, I’ll be living in a town that I knew nothing about until earlier this year: Durham, North Carolina. For 18 years, I lived in the same state, in the same town, at the same address. Then, when I went to Cornell, I moved a whopping 60 miles from home. Now I’m nearly 600 miles from upstate New York, a place I called home for 22 years. So how does some girl from upstate New York end up in DURHAM?

Earlier this year, I decided to take the GMAT in preparation to eventually go to business school. I’ve worked in marketing since I was 15, so I knew that business school was eventually where I wanted to be. I also knew I wanted to go to a top school to maximize the investment of my time and my money, so I started looking at top-ranked schools. Because of my interests (Duke is the #3 B-school in the country for marketing, according to U.S. News) and my desire to try living someplace other than the Northeast , Duke was at the top of my list. As I was doing my research, I happened to come across something called the Masters of Management Studies (MMS): Foundations of Business program. It stood out, and now, here I am. But what did I like about the program, and why did I decide to attend?

Here are my top three reasons:

  1. Comprehensive — This program is comprehensive, both inside the classroom and out. With career guidance, networking opportunities (Fuqua Friday = free food!), professional and social clubs, activities like etiquette dinners, and a variety of classes, this program provides a well-rounded experience.
  2. Challenging — Like the program title says, this is a “foundations of business” degree. When I was doing my research, I liked the diversity of classes offered. Not only did I want to take classes that I had never taken before, but I also wanted to be challenged to look at the big picture to see how all of the pieces of business fit together. Plus, what’s the point of going to school if you aren’t learning something new in the classroom?
  3. Diverse — Having lived in a small town for most of my life, I love learning about different cultures and meeting a diversity of people. My class this year is about 40% international, which gives the program a global perspective with a variety of different people to learn from.

Now that I’m halfway done with the MMS program (that’s hard for me to believe!), I can tell you that it is meeting my high expectations. While it’s hard to say whether or not I should have waited to eventually get an MBA, I can tell you that I arrived at Duke looking for a challenge to grow and learn from, inside the classroom and out, and that’s what I get here, every single day.