4 Questions to Ask When Considering Graduate School

students posing around a Duke sign, questions to ask when considering graduate school
With classmates on Duke's main campus

So you’ve made the decision to go to graduate school. Congrats! Now the question is, what school is best for you?

When selecting a graduate school there are a lot of questions to ask and things to consider. These are the questions I asked myself before deciding to join Fuqua.

Does the school offer the right program?

Selecting the program that is tailored to your needs and wants is critical in getting the most out of your time in graduate school. Here at Fuqua, the MMS program offers two different tracks: Foundations of Business (FOB) and Duke Kunshan University (DKU).

If gaining an international experience immersing yourself in another culture is something that sparks your interest, DKU is the way to go. You spend the latter half of your 10-month program at Duke’s campus in Kunshan, China.

But maybe spending the full length of the program on Duke’s campus, getting all you can out of Durham, and taking advantage of what Fuqua has to offer at their home base is more appealing to you. In that case, FOB would be the track that would best fit your interests.

For me, I wanted the truly international experience abroad because a career in international business interests me, so DKU was the perfect option in my case.

Does the school have a good academic reputation?

Duke University and the Fuqua School of Business carry prestigious reputations that extend globally. It’s no surprise that Fuqua is consistently ranked a top 10 business school by multiple publications. The job placement rates and the companies that students work for upon graduation are superior.

Because of those reasons and the fact you’re reading this blog, Fuqua is probably on your radar as a school you’d want to attend. But there are other options to consider. So why Fuqua then?

The collaborative nature of the teams you work on in each class prepares you well for jobs after graduation. The Team Fuqua culture is also a differentiating factor—students look after one another and foster a collaborative environment even outside of the classroom. 

Dozens of country's flags line the hall, questions to ask when considering graduate school
One of Fuqua’s flag-lined halls

What experiences am I hoping to gain from this program?

If sitting in class all day every day is what you are wanting, then Fuqua may not be for you. But if taking classes and completing projects that challenge your traditional ways of thinking while pushing you to be the best critical thinker in different business settings and expanding your knowledge of the business world is what you want, then Fuqua is the perfect choice.

You will take classes taught by professors who are leaders in their field of study and who will be instrumental in helping you achieve success not only in the classroom, but outside of it as well. I regularly meet with my professors and have received help from them in my job search. Outside of school, the students in your program will become some of your closest friends, and those friendships will extend well beyond the program’s end.

The city where you’re located is also key to your experience. Durham has food from all over the world and the proximity to the mountains and the beaches can’t be offered by every state like it can in North Carolina. There is always something to do either on or off campus to enjoy your free time. And as my DKU class prepares to transition to Kunshan, I’m looking forward to new adventures there.

in front of the towering Duke Chapel questions to ask when considering graduate school
With my mom in front of Duke Chapel

Will it all pay off in the end?

From the moment you step foot on campus, the Career Management Center at Fuqua is determined to get you the job that fits you best. Resources include the abundant alumni network, not only from Fuqua but the larger Duke community as well.

Putting in the most that you can at Fuqua will allow you to see a return on that investment. The school has done so much for all of us already, even just halfway through the program—from the friendships I’ve made that I know I will keep after graduation, to the real-life companies that visit our classes, to the professors who are dedicated to our learning. I know Fuqua was the perfect choice for me.

Sarah Adams, student blogger in the Masters of Management Studies: Duke Kunshan University program at Duke's Fuqua School of Business.

Sarah Adams

MMS: DKU, Class of 2018

I'm born and raised in North Carolina. I grew up in Greensboro and graduated in... Read More

Learn more about Sarah | View all of Sarah's Posts