With more than 16 years working as a technology executive across retail, insurance, and technology services, my journey has been as diverse as it has been rewarding. Being a dedicated husband and father to three boys, I recently faced a challenging decision. Amidst unemployment, I chose to invest in my future by enrolling in Fuqua’s executive MBA program. This step, taken without the security of a steady income, reflects my commitment to personal growth and professional excellence.  

Committing to this program amidst life’s uncertainties required a significant shift in perspective, viewing this period not just as a challenge, but as an invaluable opportunity for growth and transformation. In particular, my decision to pursue my MBA required a fresh perspective on return on investment (ROI), one that transcends traditional financial metrics.

Professional success, as gratifying as it was, had subtly nudged me into complacency. It took a moment of transition in 2023 to bring this into sharp focus. Contemplating an MBA wasn’t about adding to my accolades but about challenging myself, about diving into the depths of learning and growth that come from such a rigorous academic pursuit.

Nick Engstrom and 5 of his Global Executive MBA classmates
Participating in the Durham residency scavenger hunt with my team (left to right: Mackenzie Chernushin, Michael Hsiung, Ozioma Uwazurike, Grant Herbon, me, Nathan Robb)

The pivotal question that changed my perspective was, “Will I regret not doing this when I retire?” This reflection shifted my view of what an MBA could offer. It wasn’t just a financial calculation but a holistic investment in myself—in time, effort, and intellectual growth. Sure, the hope for a financial ROI remains, but by acknowledging the possibility that the greatest returns might not be monetary, I found peace in my decision to commit.

Choosing Fuqua became an endeavor to reconnect with my thirst for knowledge and step boldly out of my comfort zone. It represented an opportunity to enhance my leadership and decision-making skills through new perspectives and insights.

Six Global Executive MBA students pose for a photo in Santiago, Chile. Mountains and a winery are in the background.
My team, including our new member, Jiao Li (second from the left), enjoying the closing dinner of our Santiago, Chile residency

This journey redefines ROI in an MBA context. It’s about the intangible yet invaluable returns—the evolution of thought processes, the broadening of horizons, and the forging of lifelong networks. These dividends go beyond balance sheets, enriching both professional and personal lives in myriad ways.

So, while I’m still banking on some financial returns, the immeasurable gains of this experience truly define the richness of my investment in Fuqua’s MBA program.