Friday, the 13th!

Believe it or not, that was our first day at Fuqua. I might sound spooky, but what happened on that day was quite the opposite.

Teamwork makes the dream work, as they say, and one of the best experiences at Fuqua has been its collaborative environment. It indeed is incredible how much we operate outside of our comfort zone in business school, yet the people here make me feel at home. I have connected with at least a hundred beautiful souls, a group of dedicated mentors who wish for my best, and a team of fellow students that I call my family.

My first team, to which I was assigned that first day during program launch, consisted of three other very talented and bright individuals from all across the globe. Gabriel Timm, from Brazil, is passionate about finance, soccer, and Chipotle. Wenyue “Catherine” Lu, from China, dreams about being a professional chef one day. Alec Rotunda, from North Carolina, is a soccer player and has mentored and coached several teams in the U.S. and seven other countries. Four students from four separate cultures make for an interesting combination. Despite our vastly different backgrounds, two aspects kept our meetings productive and entertaining: teamwork and fun.

The team: Alec, Catherine, Gabriel, and Riva pose for a photo

Together for the first time as a team during program launch

Everyone on that squad is a team player. We worked through assignments together as a cohesive unit, and after a few months, our organization was impeccable. When completing team assignments, we often found that we had sorted ourselves into roles without even discussing it. One teammate might handle calculations, while two of us worked on qualitative problems, and another filled in our gaps. This organization happened without the need for a clear leader—each member simply recognized a need and filled it. A lot of times, we spent more than 12 consecutive hours at school with each other. Amidst solving assignments and brainstorming in the team room while sharing snacks, protein bars, and coffee, we all established a valuable bond that I hope continues beyond classrooms and schoolwork.

Sure, my team was efficient. However, as much as we loved working through cases together, we also loved enjoying ourselves. From team dinners to our birthdays, meals at Fox Center to Chipotle after a long day, evenings at Fuqua Friday to nights at Shooters, practicing our speeches for Business Communications to learning each other’s native languages, cracking jokes together to cheering each other on before interviews—it was always a good time. We had our share of finance, marketing, and accounting cases but with a team like this, work is fun. No matter the task, I always look forward to our next team meeting.

But every season changes and the program recently had its team changeover, so now we’re on different teams. However, that group of people will always be my first family at Fuqua.

In the six months since I was sitting at program launch without a clue how drastically my life was going to change, no two days have been alike. However, my teammates and I always helped each other through it. Within my team, I grew personally and professionally in just a few months. I witnessed four cultures and disciplines unite as one. We wanted to see each other succeed—not only in terms of financial stability and jobs but also as members of society. My Fuqua experience would not be the same without my first #FuquaFamily, aka Group Chipotle.