This blog was written by a Cross Continent MBA student prior to the program’s merger with the Global Executive MBA program.
1. Accounting Class
The first residency hadn’t yet started, but everyone talked about accounting and how demanding it was: the pre-term assignment, the book, and all the cases we had to prepare before arriving to Durham.
I still remember that first class. It was my first in almost nine years and I was placed in the front row. And there she was, famous Professor Katherine Schipper. The pace was intense, the questions about the cases kept coming (from her to us) and most everyone was anxious, except for the CPAs. The same dynamic was repeated every day we had that class and thankfully we were able to adapt. Looking back, it was the best way to start the Cross Continent MBA (CCMBA) program and get used to the demanding curriculum.
2. Team Fuqua
We learn about this concept early in the application process, but it’s kind of difficult to imagine. How in practice, is Fuqua different from other business schools? Most nowadays talk about teams and how critical they are for success, right?
Well, from day one we were assigned to a team that would be the same for the next two terms and told that all courses would have a grade component based on team assignments. Fuqua gave us all the tools to be a successful team such as: team building activities, team reports, feedback methods, governance best practices, etc.
Many of us come from companies with hierarchical structures where disagreements are solved by escalating decisions. In our CCMBA teams, we have no hierarchy and no one to escalate problems to, so we are responsible for creating the dynamics and processes to ensure our success. These challenges are what make us realize that we have a lot of bad habits in our bag, and that we need to let them go and re-learn things about ourselves with the support of our team members. And when this process begins, the ‘Team Fuqua’ way of working together starts distinguishing itself from others.
3. The Schedule…Our Busy Schedule
This is an MBA program compatible for working professionals, so the residency schedule should be light, right? Wrong. Most of the day’s scheduled activity starts at 8:00 a.m. and finishes at 8:00 p.m. At the beginning this looks scary because there is no free time, but there is a good reason behind it. Every day is packed with activities including classes, Career Management Center sessions, speakers and team work. And quite honestly, it’s great that it is designed that way because we can take advantage of everything that Fuqua has to offer.
So before coming to a residency prepare yourself and finish all your reading and cases. Even though some activities at the residency are optional, you don’t want to be in the hotel studying while everyone is watching the ball game.
So how did we survive the first CCMBA residency? I believe there are two great explanations to that. The first one is the great people that work at Fuqua. They are available to help with anything you need—from IT assistance to special food needs. Everything has been planned and executed considering every detail. And well, there is the food, big breakfasts, snacks at every break, different lunch options and of course coffee. There is no excuse for lack of energy.