Here’s my tried and tested advice as an MMS graduate.

1. Build authentic relationships with as many people as you can.

In my experience, there are three key reasons to do this.

  • New learning opportunities: Because of Fuqua’s commitment to excellence and diversity amongst its candidates, I found that each person I connected with taught me something incredibly valuable and unique.
  • Growing your network: It’s highly likely that fellow classmates, professors, and administrators, will ultimately be your connections and advocates when opportunities for employment arise.
  • It’s fun: Whether it’s kicking it at the Heights apartment pool, rolling deep to Shooters, or sake bombing at Sushi Love, these are some of the weekly experiences that I look back with the fondest memories.

2. Explore Durham.

Durham has a lot to offer outside of campus. If you like eating new foods and drinking good beer, downtown Durham has a more mature bar and restaurant scene than some of the undergrad hangouts. This comes in handy if you need a break from the usual routine at Shooters. Attending some Durham Bulls games are a must for any baseball or sports fans. And the Duke Lemur center is home to the world’s largest and most diverse collection of Lemurs outside of Madagascar. Check out some more ideas of fun things to do in Durham here.

3. Take ownership of your education.

Actively participating in class, asking for feedback on your work, and taking the time to learn key concepts will determine much of the value you actually get from the courses themselves.

4. Support your classmates.

With a limited allocation of the highest grades up for grabs, it’s easy to get caught up in the competitive environment of school. With that said, I would fight any potential urge to pit yourself against your classmates and rather seek out ways to collaborate with them. Not only will it feel good when you help someone learn a new concept, but I can guarantee it will pay off when the tables turn and your classmate now offers to return the favor in a course you’re not as strong in.

5. Burn the boats.

During the first week of class, Steve Misuraca, program director at the time, explained that if we wanted to make the most of the MMS program we should burn the boats. What Steve was referencing was a Viking war tactic where they would sail to attack a foreign land and then burn their own boats before attacking. This established the mentality that the only way they could succeed was by fully committing to their goal. There was no option but to throw themselves completely into their endeavor. Only after they won their battle could they establish a village in their new land and begin building ships to bring the riches back home. This analogy has stuck with me ever since that day, and I believe it to be the best advice I could relay to the next generation of MMS students.