This blog was written by a Cross Continent MBA student prior to the program’s merger with the Global Executive MBA program. 

Driving up over the crest of Vail Pass, 10,000 feet above sea level and just above the tree line, my phone rang. My colleagues and I were in a car on our way to Denver to conclude programming with Denver Public Schools.

“Hello, this is Natalie.”

“Natalie, it’s Amanda Laird from the Fuqua School of Business. I’m calling to congratulate you.”

My heart stopped. Years of thought and preparation for an academic opportunity of this magnitude never prepared me for the innate reaction to such news. Squeals of delight reverberated throughout the car.

And the rest is history.

My initial elation was coupled with anxiety for what would come. How will I integrate into a world of thought unparalleled to my arts background and nonprofit experience? What will the balance of my work and family life entail as we travel the globe, learning for the next 17 months? How natural will the life of a student be for me, ten years after completing my bachelor degree?

Thus far, it’s been joyous. I relished in the awakening of my quantitative mind while running through the pre-work required before the start of the program. I’ve come to remember just how much I enjoy being a student. Launching into prerequisite questionnaires and analyzing processes by which I make decisions have deepened my recognition for how I associate my identity with the world at large.

Brimming with full-fledged curiosity and an appetite to apply the mechanics of how business ticks, I couldn’t wait to learn with the Cross Continent MBA Class of 2016. It turns out, you can bring together over 100 people with vastly different backgrounds, a common curiosity, passion and ambition, and create a supportive learning environment that expands across the globe.

Our first two-week residency together in Durham was loaded with opportunities to break down the social barriers that may exist in our professional lives and connect with each other. Our experiences crisscrossed industries and fueled fresh perspectives in our class discussions. We supported each other through the swift learning curve of what it meant to be a student again. By residency’s end, friendships had blossomed, minds were on fire, and we returned home as new people.

The beat goes on. With constant communication amongst classmates eager to plan for our next residency together, our WhatsApp filled with stories of what we are up to and photos capturing “Blue Devil” doll shenanigans. We kept the energy and momentum from our time in Durham as we launched into the new routine of distance learning in between residencies and laid the foundation for everlasting friendships and a profound tie to our new Fuqua community!