When I first arrived on campus for orientation week, I did not know what to expect. However, I knew the next 18 months would be filled with sacrifice, challenges, and growth if I just merely leaned into the process.

One thing I knew for certain is that I had the opportunity to be surrounded by people who had incredible minds while advancing my education. I graduated from Fuqua’s Weekend Executive MBA program in December of 2020, a year filled with unpredictable events that rocked the world. Since then, I have been asked what I learned in my MBA program and how to make the most of the experience as a Woman of Color (WoC) at Fuqua

Here are some points of advice that I have learned from Fuqua.

  1. Take the risk of building allies with peers who have contrasting beliefs from you. You may often discover that those existing differences will provide a safe atmosphere for you to share your views at Fuqua.
  2. Consistently invest in your community so they can constantly pour into you.
  3. Be open to letting Fuqua perfect your blueprint in life.
  4. WoC are known to be resilient, therefore, bring this trait to the table so you can be a game-changer.
  5. Leadership looks different for everyone; a quiet leader is just as impactful as a boisterous leader.
  6. Always remember, as a WoC, you belong here. Your unique gifts are your trademark for your success at Fuqua.

These are just my thoughts and are not the golden principles for any students to follow who are looking to succeed at Fuqua. However, I can only draw from my personal experience in earning my MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

My time at Fuqua was filled with life-long lessons that I often tap into. Indeed, immersing myself in seeking different perspectives from others and brainstorming on team projects helped to increase my knowledge in certain disciplines.

Yet, it was the individual connections that I made that were the highlight of my time at Fuqua. If I had a time machine to go back to when I first arrived on campus for orientation week, I would tell myself to eliminate overthinking and just be present because a majority of your peers are having those same thoughts as you. Therefore, you are not alone!  

Across the board in MBA programs, the pool of minority students is significantly less in comparison to our counterparts. My message to all diverse students and prospective students: believe in your work ethic, belief system, and be determined to be in a position to attend business school, once accepted.

Your true community will include allies, so embrace the support and the challenges that may come with the differences when forming these relationships. Therefore, bring your entire being, joy, experience, and voice to Fuqua. The MBA will give you the skills to help you act as a change agent in this world.