What will it take for you to achieve your dream? This is a question I often ask myself whenever I encounter a mountain in life that I need to climb over.

Through the years, that mountain for me was taking the leap of faith necessary to pursue an MBA when it was the right time. We all know that applying to a competitive business school is a process, and an applicant will need to ensure they have patience and support when the waves of doubt start to creep in. 

To help me with obtaining my goal of an MBA, I decided to apply to the Forté MBALaunch program, to which I gladly accepted an invitation to join their 2013 inaugural class for the New York chapter. This program helped me to network with like-minded ambitious women, as well as refine my ‘why’—the goals and reasons why I wanted an MBA.

However, life often throws human beings some wild cards that we can’t prepare for. The firm that I was working for at the time was experiencing some rapid organizational changes that had impacted my department. Suddenly, I needed to shift my priorities and it seemed that it was no longer the right time for me to pursue an MBA. Yet, my goal of earning the degree was still buried deep down in my heart. I knew if I gave up, I would be cheating future Nady, which was not an option for me. 

After doing some soul searching, I realized I was feeling stagnant in my personal and professional life, and I needed a radical transformation. The only way for me to experience this change was for me to obtain an MBA as there would never be a perfect time to do so. 

As a working professional in New York City, you might think I would only apply to executive MBA programs in the northeast. However, I always was interested in Fuqua despite the distance.  The school has such a solid reputation for encouraging students to think beyond their classroom’s four walls. This value has always kept my heart drawn to Fuqua since I am passionate about education and traveling. 

In the summer of 2018, I attended a Fuqua Executive MBA informational lunch session that targeted prospective students from the New York City metro area. The moment I entered the restaurant, the recruiter, prospective students, and current and former students all fully embraced me. As soon as we all sat down at the table, I immediately felt at peace and was comfortable connecting with everyone. When visiting other executive MBA programs, I had never felt that feeling. After the luncheon, I was convinced that I had to get my MBA at Fuqua.

Through grit, faith, and support I found out in fall 2018 that I was accepted into Fuqua’s Weekend Executive MBA (WEMBA) class of 2020. I was so overjoyed that I had been given the opportunity to earn my MBA from an amazing school. I knew that I did not want to wait until orientation week to learn more about the WEMBA program, so I tried to stay updated on any events that the school had organized. In February 2019, I decided to attend the Fuqua Executive MBA Women’s Event, where the theme was about women redefining their ambition in the world. Attending this event as an admitted student versus as a prospective student was refreshing for me. After the conference, I felt even more certain about why I was making this commitment and developed several ideas regarding what I might do when I graduate.

I recently completed my first term at Fuqua, and it was by far a very challenging experience. In that relatively short timeframe, I have taken more risks at work and have been able to apply knowledge from the program. Here are some of the lessons that I have learned in Term 1:

  1. Remember your ‘why’ when you want to throw in the towel.
  2. The members of your cohort that are sitting to your left or right complete you.
  3. Vulnerability is a sign of strength. At your own pace, only open up when you feel comfortable. But don’t delay it for too long because you can miss the opportunity to connect with others.
  4. Stay prepared and be open for opportunities because they can come when you least expect them.
  5. Relax! Remember just because you are a working professional and going to school that does not mean you cannot have any fun in the process.

As I prepare for the rest of the program, I constantly smile to myself knowing the hurdles that I overcame to be accepted into Fuqua. I can I say without hesitation I made the right choice to apply. The challenges were all worth it because I get to be part of the largest class of women that the WEMBA program has accepted thus far. Also, I am in a position where I can pay it forward by sharing my experience of applying to other women who are interested in Fuqua. 

It is humbling to know that I sit in a room with some of the brightest, kindest, and most ambitious people on this side of the world. I am grateful to be taught by professors who constantly challenge you, as well as be supported by a staff who go above and beyond for you. In conclusion, this journey has taught me that dreams have no expiration date that if we simply believe in ourselves and work fervently towards our goals, we can obtain them.