Duke Weekend Executive MBA Student Blog
Reflections as I Approach MBA Graduation
During my time in the 22-month program, I have gained invaluable insights into finance, operations, managerial accounting, entrepreneurship, and business strategy.
The most common motivation to study for an MBA is to upskill in multiple business domains. I also realized the benefits of an MBA are applicable regardless of industry or area of professional focus. Numerous conversations I had around technology were accelerating business outcomes. As a result, I always had the zeal to upskill myself in areas like business strategy, economics, accounting, etc.
Before starting my MBA, I had 16-plus years of experience with technology and consulting at companies ranging from startups to giant tech companies like Amazon. In addition, I have worked in multiple roles in technology advisory, architecture, and management with subject matter expertise in big data, analytics, AI/ML and cloud.
Duke Fuqua’s Weekend Executive MBA program was the best fit for where I am in my career. I wanted to continue my current path at Amazon Web Services as a principal solutions architect. The program’s curriculum is goal-oriented and tailored in a hybrid format. Therefore, I could pursue and gain new skills without interrupting my work life. The program has complete training—courses are designed to train and analyze business cases and subjects from a 360-degree business angle including through the lens of the CEO, CFO, CTO, COO, and other leaders. During my time in the 22-month program, I have gained invaluable insights into finance, operations, managerial accounting, entrepreneurship, and business strategy.
Additional Takeaways from Duke
The Weekend Executive MBA ’22 cohort has expanded my network beyond the technology sector. I’m thankful to have met a diverse class of professionals and leaders from across the globe.
Our class had a chance to go through many case studies to analyze business problems from real-life scenarios, sometimes with purposefully insufficient data. We were challenged to recommend a solution from our collective team experience. I admired the multi-view discussions and open classroom environment as they led to authentic learning and experience dealing with ambiguity. I adored every moment of our Term 4 Strategy class taught by professor Daniel Gross.
Seeing is believing, and from my experience with the cohort, I can reassure you from our learnings that innovation and ideas happen when people with differing perspectives and backgrounds come together to approach problems, and new thinking emerges. Fuqua’s teaching style and culture empowers everyone to be a leader and to do what’s best for the business and the community.
The Importance of Having DQ (Decency Quotient) as a Leader
As we all understand, operating as successful leaders today, we emphasize EQ, not just IQ. Intellect and emotional intelligence are considered essential.
Fuqua prepares the leaders of today and tomorrow by adding a third dimension—DQ. Bill Boulding, dean of Fuqua, believes the best leaders have this triple threat of IQ, EQ, and DQ.
DQ drives a step further than EQ. DQ means a person has not only empathy for employees and colleagues but also a genuine desire to care for them. It means wanting something positive for everyone in the workplace and ensuring everyone feels respected and valued. DQ is evident in daily interactions with others. It implies a focus on doing right for your team and others.
DQ always makes me think of myself as an individual part of a larger picture. It underlines the importance of interacting with others with respect and humility. Operating withing global teams, it’s vital to consider someone else’s point of view and consider their needs. As a person, I am now operating to make sure everyone I interact with feels optimistic and valued, as we develop a sense of trust, and get individuals to experience true collaboration. When we see the trust build, the potential and talents of an individual are unlocked, and the entire team succeeds.
Time Flies—Ready for MBA Graduation
While being a full-time working professional and graduate student for the past 22 months has been challenging with ups and downs, I have been so thankful for Team Fuqua. First, all the students, professors, and administration staff worked together to support each other. Then last but not least, my family, friends, especially my spouse (Syamala) and children (Akhil & Arjun), understood my time commitment to the program and helped me balance my personal life by adopting a personal calendar to meet my MBA study needs, so I could focus on classes and uninterrupted study time.
The program is coming to end, and when I wrapped up the final semester’s exams in late March, I got my weekends back. I have repurposed weekends with fun activities and spending time with family and friends through local hikes, biking, and some international travel as my schedule permits. Our family took a trip to Isla Mujeres near Cancun, Mexico, to celebrate the course completion.
I feel accomplished, grateful, and humbled at the same time to receive an email from Dean Boulding congratulating our cohort on earning the Duke MBA. I can’t wait to reunite with #TeamFuqua at our MBA graduation in May. Let’s go Blue Devils!