There are many programs out there to choose from, and one of the hardest decisions is picking which schools to research, visit, and apply to. In North Carolina’s Triangle area alone, there are several great choices, and each one has different strengths. When I considered programs beyond the local area, the number of options increased almost exponentially. There are schools at all different price points, and many different kinds of curricula. The choices were almost overwhelming for me. So I took a step back and came up with the following list of what seemed important for me:

  • A great education
  • Access to the career center
  • Closer was better than further
  • High rankings

Just to start with, I took a class at NC State to see if I could juggle having four kids, ailing parents, a full-time job, and school work on top of it. Surprisingly, I LOVED it. Maybe that wasn’t a surprise to anyone else, but to me it was great news. I was off and running. I visited several schools in the area, and started thinking about how I fit in with each program. After visiting some other schools, I came to Duke. From the time I walked in the door at the Thomas Center (where Weekend Executive students learn and live during on-campus residencies), it was clear that I had found something very special, and I was hooked. I had my admissions interview, and I felt an instant connection.

I was very much taken with the way that Duke really looks at the entire individual, not just academic performance, or career performance. They value things like volunteer work, and involvement in the community. Since I’m very active in the community, that really struck a chord within me. But before I made my final decision, I also spent quite a bit of time on the website looking at the faculty at Fuqua, and there are some superstars. I also interviewed friends and acquaintances at different schools and asked them about their experience, and what it was like. Everyone I spoke to naturally recommended their own school, so I tried to read between the lines about what their experience was like and how it would apply to me.

So going back to what’s important to me (in the list above) I also considered the following: since I live in Cary, Fuqua is only a 25-minute drive from my home. Bonus points for location. The beautiful campus is another added bonus. It is the highest ranked business school in the area, and that also appealed to me. I wanted assurance that my degree would be respected when I graduated, so I decided to go with the best—Fuqua has certainly filled that requirement. So, here I am, and I’ve been very impressed with the quality of the instruction I’ve received so far at Duke—the professors are all very enthusiastic and knowledgeable.

If it sounds like I’m happy with my choice—it is because I am. I am over half-way through the program, and am looking forward to seeing what else the program brings.