Attending Fuqua was both exhilarating and intimidating at the same time.

Cultivating strong and lasting relationships has always been something I strive to do wherever I am. Therefore, from the moment I started the program I wanted to interact with as many people as I could. Given the diverse population at Fuqua, I knew I was guaranteed exposure to so many people from all over the world. And that is part of the reason why I was interested in getting involved with the Black and Latino MBA Organization (BLMBAO) and Business in Africa (BIA) club. Here’s how I contributed and what I gained.

First, it helped me be intentional about engaging myself and those around me. It’s easy to get swept up in the frenzy of networking, job searching, case studies, etc. However, for me it was just as essential to take the time to challenge myself, grow, and really get to know others in the Fuqua community. I felt that engaging with Daytime MBA clubs would give me space where I could further cultivate my poise and proper deportment. Being a part of both the BLMBAO and BIA club just worked for me. They discussed some of the most challenging things in society and created an environment where we could be open and inquisitive at the same time. It worked for me because I wanted the chance to be a part of a community of students who took the time to learn from each other’s successes and failures. These groups provided a support system—a pillar of strength during my time at Fuqua.

Secondly, my involvement in both clubs gave me the opportunity to work with the Daytime MBAs. BLMBAO paired MMS students in the club with mentors and people who were genuinely passionate about our growth during the 10 months we have at Fuqua. And as a part of the BIA Special Events Cabinet, I managed to play a vital role in the organization and execution of the BIA Conference which went on to win Duke’s “Curl Blackman Graduate Organization of the Year.”

Lastly, the chance to interact with minority alumni who had been a part of these clubs was truly phenomenal. BIA & BLMBAO alumni are working towards being leaders of consequence, and that inspires me.

Through my engagement with these Fuqua clubs, I learned a lot about myself—including that my love for connecting on a meaningful level with those around me is real and pure. My advice is that whether it’s BIA or BLMBAO or another club or student organization, be true to yourself and join a community of people with whom you share a passion. Have an authentic interest in those around you, and you will soon find yourself surrounded by people always ready to rally around you, prep you for a job interview, grab a cup of coffee, or go on an impromptu 10-mile hike.