One thing I’ve learned in my professional career is the importance of developing a vision and setting goals. I’ve pursued assignments that challenge me to grow and stretch my way of thinking, and I’m fortunate to have found my next challenge: Fuqua’s Global Executive MBA Program.
If you’re still deciding whether to get an MBA, ask yourself:
- What do I want to get out of it?
- Is the timing right for me?
- Is the school right for me?
I worked with the admissions team at Duke during the application process to see whether I was a good fit for the Global Executive MBA Program, and now I’m somehow already in the middle of Term 2. Here are the main reasons why I chose to get an MBA and to do so at Duke.
Why an MBA?
1. Learn about practical leadership and management skills
At this point in my career, I have not yet had any direct reports. The majority of my leadership experience has been leading teams through various projects and assignments. Moving into a leadership role within my organization is a top objective of mine, and an MBA is a useful qualification to help me get there.
2. Make lifelong friends
A big benefit of getting an MBA is to develop your network. But that network is also your support structure. Many of your classmates are there for the same reasons as you, so going through a tough experience like an MBA program builds camaraderie and makes it easier to build meaningful and lifelong relationships. I felt this way when I was on the crew team during my undergraduate years and was waking up at 5 a.m. every morning for practice. The opportunity to grow with and learn from my classmates was another appealing factor for me.
3. Gain access to a network of thousands of alumni
A strong alumni network provides many resources, such as guest speakers and recruitment opportunities. Many business schools like Duke will even offer career services after their students graduate. Although I’m a proud Villanova grad (Go ‘Cats), I wanted to complement my existing network. Your business school helps build your brand, so access to a broad and active alumni network can be the difference in securing your next career move.
When I started researching MBA programs, a determining factor for me was whether I would be able to continue working while attending classes. An aspect of the Global Executive MBA program I found valuable was the ability to do this and the opportunity to apply coursework immediately to real-life business problems. I was at a point in my career where I had flexibility in my schedule for an MBA, and it helped that my partner was also getting her MBA so we would be equally as busy. The unique structure of the Global Executive MBA program means classes are both in-person and online. Having a preset schedule helped me communicate to my manager which dates to carve out so I could attend the in-person residencies. Also, during the distance periods, you have some flexibility as classes do not need to be attended live and are recorded.
Duke’s course offering allows students to explore multiple dimensions of business—strategy, marketing, accounting, finance, management, and so forth. There’s a reason why Duke is a top-ranked business school: Duke graduates are highly sought after by recruiters for their academic abilities and emotional intelligence. I’m still at a relatively early point in the program, but I’ll be the first to tell you both the speed and course load are demanding. Nevertheless, the curriculum challenges you to get outside your comfort zone and build your business background.
3. Team Fuqua
We learned in Term 1 about the Wisdom of Crowds. In a nutshell—groups make better decisions than individuals. Going one step further, diverse teams outperform teams where the members are all alike. The aggregation of information in diverse teams results in more informed decisions than those made by individual members.
I knew Fuqua has a collaborative culture going in, but until you experience it firsthand, it’s hard to put into words just how close-knit our learning teams and cohort have become just from having different perspectives and experiences come together. Duke believes that career development and collaboration are critical components of business education, and this program has allowed me to broaden myself on a personal and professional level. I’m excited for what’s to come, and will keep you posted.