When I signed on the dotted line to fly fast jets, I thought the next 10 years of my professional life were spoken for and I wouldn’t have time for anything outside of work. But, oh how wrong I was. While stationed in North Carolina at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, I was lucky to become part of a Fuqua military chain of command.
It all started with Greg Frana, a 2008 alumnus, who was one of my initial F-15 instructors. Greg frequently spoke of the challenge, sense of accomplishment, and rare opportunities that the Weekend Executive MBA (WEMBA) program presented. Pat Doyle, WEMBA ‘07, and a fellow pilot, also shared stories of the doors that opened because of his Duke MBA. Their experiences and enthusiasm—paired with my own research—prompted me to take the plunge and apply. It’s safe to say, if I had not heard about the WEMBA program from Greg and Pat, I would have thought it impossible to manage an equally demanding MBA and Air Force career.
Progressing through the program, I realized the program was what we fighter pilots like to call a “good deal,” and a “good deal” isn’t something you keep to yourself. Sri Krishnan, WEMBA ’15 and Jonathan Hudgins, WEMBA ’16 were two airmen that benefited from hearing my Fuqua experiences as they were researching MBAs. I also boasted how the MBA was challenging yet rewarding and how it offered some rare opportunities. My most memorable was making the final round of the Duke Start-Up Challenge with my company, Towel Burner, that I founded as a student.
Looking back, I can see how the conversations I had with Greg and Pat impacted my life. It’s crazy to think it was their stories that convinced me to get my MBA. As for the Fuqua military chain of command of which I’m proud to be a part—I’ve certainly enjoyed passing along the “good deal.” Based on Sri’s photo it looks like he will continue the tradition, and more Seymour Johnson fighter pilots will follow in our footsteps.