Why Fuqua and Why the Weekend Executive MBA?

As I was poised to leave active duty, I wanted to stack the deck in my favor. The goal was to ensure that the civilian career path I set down upon was worth the high intrinsic value that I placed on my Green Beret and military service.

I weighed several options (MBA, JD, various career streams not requiring a professional degree), and ultimately decided that obtaining an MBA would be the most impactful way to relaunch my civilian career. After considering the opportunity cost involved with not working for the two years needed to complete a traditional MBA format, I decided to pursue an Executive MBA. I visited several schools convenient to my East Coast home and weighed several factors such as reputation, fit, location, cost, etc. Ultimately, I decided that the Weekend Executive MBA (WEMBA) program at Fuqua was an ideal match.

Duke and Fuqua have excellent, globally-recognized brands, great team cultures, and were ideally located for me. Additionally, while the program format only requires a few days of in-person classes each month, it is, in fact, a full-time curriculum. Given this format, the WEMBA program has enabled me to work for the duration of the program, AND complete my MBA in 19 months.

Me in combat gear during my military experienceMy Experience in Classes

Much of the class material in the program has been totally new to me. However, the faculty and our cohort (along with a strong individual work ethic, of course) have done a great job to collectively bring me, and the other uninitiated up the learning curve in the true “Team Fuqua” collaborative fashion. I have found that while I may start a class without much subject matter knowledge, I finish the term with a good understanding of the material, and an ability to apply it.

I have found that my military experience allows for me to add a different perspective to conversations in class or team meetings. Additionally, my leadership style has lent itself well to the team assignments that I’ve encountered through my coursework.

Career Advancement

Within weeks of beginning the WEMBA program, the combination of the Duke brand and network and my military experience began to create opportunities for me. Together, they have enabled me to complete an internship with a veteran entrepreneur-focused non-profit organization, secure a ‘near-term’ project manager position at a Fortune 50 company, and ultimately land a leadership development program position at M&T Bank.

All along the way, I have been able to directly apply my coursework to my career. I have found that some material is more theoretical, and belongs in a classroom, but overall, I have come upon almost daily opportunities to apply the material from the statistics, decision models (data analysis), accounting, finance, and operations coursework.

Overall, pursuing an MBA from Fuqua has been highly rewarding, and impactful—not just due to the material and coursework, but also because of the connections and friendships that I’ve made along the way.