Like most who are seriously thinking about pursuing an MBA, the three biggest questions I asked myself as I researched MBA programs were:
- What value will an MBA provide?
- Which program is right for me?
- Why is now the right time?
Value of an MBA
I received undergraduate degrees in economics and finance, so the choice to pursue my MBA was a bit different than most prospective students, who are focusing on becoming more familiar with the analytical skills and theoretical concepts leveraged across the business world. As I have some familiarity in the foundational business courses from my undergraduate program, for me the value that an MBA offered was about taking time out of my day-to-day tasks to focus on refining and improving my leadership skills and big picture thinking. I would be remiss to not include the value that comes from broadening my professional and personal network. The backgrounds and experiences of those in my cohort provide a wealth of perspective and real world application of business problems. For those like me, who have been at the same company for their entire working life, this diversity of experience and thought process has been instrumental in improving my big picture thinking of how to handle business problems.
Fuqua was a great fit for me for a couple reasons. First and foremost, they are known for their focus on global leadership, which aligned perfectly with my goals for professional growth. In addition, Duke’s brand is well respected and Fuqua is consistently ranked among the top programs in the country. In addition, and more from a personal perspective, Duke’s proximity to Richmond enables me to drive back and forth to the program for each residency, which provides me with added flexibility around my hectic work schedule.
And Why Now?
I asked myself “Doesn’t the stress of working full time and taking a full course load sound like a better thing to do next year?” For me, the answer to why now was a mix of convenience and the ability to jump back into the classroom without much disruption to my life. I am unmarried and do not yet have a family of my own, which provides me with quite a bit more free time than others in the program who are juggling demands from work, school and family. Being early in my career, I can put the skills and practice of what I have learned to good use for years to come. There’s always a reason to push this important decision out. For those who are making the “next year” excuse — you are missing out on a great experience that has already had a profound impact on me in the short time I have been in the program.
I live in Richmond, Virginia, where I work as a senior manager of financial analysis at Capital One. I am pursuing my MBA to focus on improving my leadership and soft skills, to help me continue to advance within finance at Capital One.