North Carolina is a special place to be—whether it’s a temporary or permanent home. Wanting to give our students the opportunity to explore more than just Durham, we coordinated day trips to Charlotte and Raleigh. MQM students connected with alumni and were immersed in the culture of North Carolina’s two biggest cities. Knowing that not all students have a car or financial means to leave Durham, there was no charge for participation.

Exploring Charlotte and Raleigh

In Charlotte, students could visit North Carolina’s first museum, the Mint Museum, which has an impressive collection of art. Their other option was the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which showcases the history of the impressive sport of race car driving.

In Raleigh, students visited the North Carolina Museum of Art with its outdoor sculpture garden. After that, they stopped at a local food hall and enjoyed a tasting of Raleigh-based Videri chocolate.

Students had time to walk through the downtown city center in both cities. Uptown in Charlotte included a literary-themed park and larger high-rise buildings than can be seen in Durham. In Raleigh, students walked around the Capitol building, enjoyed a self-guided walking tour, or popped into the North Carolina museums of history or science.

A group of the MQM: BA Class of 2024 standing in front of the North Carolina Capitol building in Raleigh, NC during a spring break daytrip

Connecting with Alumni

Both trips included panel discussions with MQM alumni from as far back as the program’s Class of 2019. Alumni provided personal stories about their job search during MQM and beyond. They offered advice about staying in touch with classmates, building a personal network, and making North Carolina their home.

Fuqua's Michael Wong and two MQM: BA alumni speak at a panel during a spring break daytrip for MQM students

These trips were a distant idea at the start of the academic year. They were organized through a culmination of staff support, feedback from students, engagement with our Career Management Center (CMC), and perhaps most importantly, a desire from local alumni to be connected with the Fuqua community.

From the valuable insights the alumni shared to trying shrimp and grits and learning about the culture that makes this part of the U.S. unique, these trips allowed students to get outside of the classroom and enhance their experience in the short 10 months they’re here with us.

Many students use their breaks between terms to travel throughout the United States and this was no exception; students seized the opportunity to enjoy a curated experience in North Carolina. Based on the success of these trips both for current students and alumni, we will offer similar experiences again next year and will consider expanding to another city or two in the future. One of the guiding principles of the MQM staff team is to provide students the opportunities to experience the Duke, Durham, and North Carolina communities.