Since emigrating from Pakistan to the U.S. two years ago, I’ve met hundreds of new people and made great new friends. However, before Fuqua, I always craved having a community that I could feel a part of. Although I wasn’t sure what to expect here, I have been very happily surprised and have never felt more welcomed or supported. Here is a sampling of the numerous moments that have reaffirmed my decision to come to Fuqua.

Triangle Training

A scavenger hunt and our discussion about personality and the Big Five Profile during orientation had already given us a sense of what Team Fuqua was all about. But what really stands out is Triangle Training, where we were taught the lessons of team-building in an entirely non-business situation and got to know each other on a personal level. That was the day when I realized what an amazing group of people I am surrounded by. As a person who has never climbed a 6-foot tall wall, let alone the 14-foot one we had to scale, I was not only able to get over but also finish the ropes balancing task at a much-elevated height thanks to constant support and motivation from my teammates.

India and Pakistan Independence Day

Just one month after the program started, I got a chance to organize and celebrate India and Pakistan’s 70th Independence Day with my fellow cohort members from MQM and students from other programs, as well, including MMS and MBA/MEM (a dual degree combining business and environmental management). Thousands of miles away from home, we had the opportunity to share our patriotic and festive spirit with students from China, India, Pakistan, Armenia, the U.S., Kazakhstan, and more. The event was a nice breather away from our tough class schedule as we all danced to Indian and Pakistani tunes and enjoyed the feast. The feeling of pride for our countries still gives me goosebumps as I remember how the crowd rose in respect for our flags as the national anthems played in the background.

What meant the most to me, though, is not only how students from other countries helped us celebrate, but also how they helped us prepare. We almost weren’t on time for the event, but at the last minute, my classmate from Armenia stepped in to help us with the decor. It is these little moments that make me realize how the Team Fuqua spirit ties us together and makes us feel intrinsically motivated to help each other. Our diverse backgrounds truly bring us together and make us stronger!

dozens of students pose on Duke's basketball court, one of the events that made the author feel welcomed by Fuqua

Our Duke Basketball Experience with coaches in Cameron Indoor Stadium

Duke Basketball Experience

“Grades don’t matter!” is what we all yelled with joy during every round of the Duke Basketball Experience. Although basketball skill drills were involved, it was not just a game. We were taught lessons of collective responsibility and trust through various practice rounds. I have never played basketball in my entire life, but I am willing to partake in new experiences to see how much I can push my personal boundaries. Various versions of, “You can do this, Maryum,” and “You are doing great” is all that I heard from my teammates even though I was meeting most of them for the first time.

My time at Fuqua has been an entirely different kind of experience for me. In a world where competition and success are all that matters to some people, I feel fortunate to spend time with an intelligent group of people who are not only superior in their fields but also know how to help others reach their top potential.