The Master of Management Studies: Duke Kunshan University (MMS: DKU) program combines perspectives from both China and the U.S., as students spend half of the 10-month program in Durham at Fuqua and the other half in Kunshan at DKU.
Here are five thoughts I want to share as a new graduate, with the hopes it can shed some light on your own potential adventure into the program.
1. Before I Said “Yes”
Before I responded to my offer from the admissions office, I continued to conduct research on the program since it was still relatively new to me. I searched on platforms like Quora and Zhihu and I can confidently say every comment I read was positive.
I then consulted with some graduates from the program and staff from the DKU campus. The passionate and innovative vibe I experienced during this process enabled me to make the final decision to enroll.
2. The Team Fuqua Spirit
Before I came to Fuqua, I thought the “Team Fuqua” spirit is the same as the collaborative environment emphasized by a lot of schools. However, I was wrong.
I would say that the Team Fuqua spirit is actually a product of the larger Duke University Blue Devil spirit. Duke emphasizes the community concept greatly and Fuqua inherits the idea and expands upon it. That is what Team Fuqua means to me—community culture.
Here, I can feel the unconditional support for whatever path I eventually decide to go down. And that support comes from all angles—Fuqua staff, alumni, and classmates. When I am at Fuqua, I feel safe to pursue the things I long for and not afraid to try new, but risky tasks. This safe feeling was not common at all for me before I began the program.
3. Class Quality and Rigor
As a current student, I was asked by prospective students about the knowledge level of the courses. Some with business backgrounds expressed their concerns regarding whether or not the courses would be challenging enough.
The rationale behind the concerns originates from course names like “Foundation of …” or “Introduction to …” However, from my study experiences, the name actually refers to cultivating a base knowledge in business subjects so as to apply the knowledge to infinite real-life situations.
For example, when we were studying weighted average cost of capital (WACC), the concept itself is the finance knowledge base that we need for Mergers & Acquisition (M&A) Valuation, Net Present Value (NPV) calculations, and more.
In a nutshell, courses from the MMS: DKU program are of great quality and since the perspectives adopted by professors are various, even if you already own a business bachelor’s degree, they still can surprise you to some extent and benefit you for a lifetime.
4. My New Network of Friends
Other than the enlightening courses taught at Fuqua, the people you encounter during this journey are sometimes your greatest ‘take-aways’ from the program. As we all know, the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic altered the learning experiences for our MMS: DKU Class of 2020. However, the friendships we established kept us intact as a family. I, for instance, would video call my friends around the world and we tried to share how our hometowns look through our phones. We chatted about our respective ‘pandemic lives’ and cheered each other up.
5. Real Teamwork
Lastly, the teamwork experience is another gift Fuqua gave me. Real-life workplaces prioritize teamwork, but like many recent graduates from bachelor’s degree programs, we had no sense of what that really means before Fuqua. During this one-year journey, I realized that good teamwork does not simply mean no arguments. My teams sometimes argued about an accounting concept endlessly and in the end, we could only agree to disagree. Debates resulting from different opinions are an inevitable part of teamwork. Not taking the arguments personally is one of the important lessons learned along the way.
I am now about to start my new career journey after graduation. I feel more confident about my upcoming adventure because of all that I have learned in just one year’s time.
I feel happier, even though I am about to be thrown into the adult world, because of so many joyful moments I have had this year with my dearest cohort.
I feel comforted during this pandemic, even though it affected my life greatly, because of so much support offered by Duke, Fuqua, DKU, professors, staff, and my dearest friends.