When I decided to apply to Duke, I thought the admissions process would feel like an interrogation. I mean, let’s be honest, Fuqua is known for producing top-tier talent, so I figured the admissions process must be formidable since it’s the front line for vetting. My assumptions could not have been further from the truth as I was met with humility, kindness, and sincere curiosity during every interaction with the Admissions team.

After my initial conversation with an admissions counselor, I felt comfortable enough to approach the application process in a similar capacity to how I show up for a job interview. Whether I’m the interviewer or interviewee, I do my best to ensure the desired outcome is a good fit for both sides. To accomplish this with my application to Fuqua, the essays, and my interview, I focused on three key areas:

1. Authenticity

I may not be able to control how others show up, but I can control whether I show up as my authentic self. Obviously, comfort is a key component to being authentic, so I started by being authentic and vulnerable in my initial conversation. I was met with acceptance, compassion and understanding, which allowed me to continue the process from a place of comfort while writing my essays and during the interview process.

2. Things That Matter to Me

I took time to think about the things I’m proud of that don’t always show up on a resume, LinkedIn, or in professional settings. I wanted to share parts of me that were a bit below the surface. Once I was admitted, I could rest assured that I was valued for my authentic self since I was brave enough to provide deeper insight.

3. My “Why” on Duke

Fuqua is incredibly challenging in all the right ways. There are several great business schools, but I chose Fuqua since my family has only had positive experiences with Duke. I knew if I enrolled in the Global Executive MBA program I would get a great education, make connections, expand my global community, and put myself in a position to say “yes” to opportunities that I may not be able to otherwise. 

I have had the privilege of completing international residencies in Santiago, Dubai, Bangkok, and Berlin. During these residencies we’ve had guest speakers ranging from current and former ambassadors of the countries, C-suite executives of large global firms, and alumni living in those regions. The most humbling part of my experience, starting with the admissions process to this point, has been the outpouring of support I’ve received from my classmates, professors, and Fuqua staff.

The culture of Fuqua embodies a sincere desire to ensure the effort each student exhibits is reciprocated in various forms. Being admitted after showing up as your true self is a priceless gift that can only be given to those who strive to be authentic.