While I was deciding whether to go back to school in mid-2020, I was pondering some advice I was given. First, go to a top-ranked school like Fuqua. Second, and certainly more interesting at the time, I was told to do an on-campus program. During the most uncertain time in recent history, I contemplated if that was even going to be possible. I had been considering pursuing an MBA degree for some time, and with the encouragement of my wife, the search for what that would look like began in earnest.
I am a people person, and I like to interact face-to-face with others. During the pandemic, it was not always possible to have those types of interactions. As I researched different business schools, a few things really rose to the top of my list. First, having the option to be there in person in some capacity was very important. Another major factor in selecting Fuqua was the one-weekend-per-month residency schedule. While I loved coming to Duke, many other programs required in-person residencies every two weeks. That was not a realistic option for me and my family.
When I spoke with the Fuqua team, they laid out their in-person plan. I spoke with admissions counselors and the program managers that help shepherd us along through the program. They explained their current plan for in-person classes and how they made those decisions. They were also transparent that these were guidelines and that the rules around coming to campus were subject to change, depending on what the virus did. Some of the other schools I spoke with were unable to articulate a similar level of planning. Recognizing how important the in-person experience is, the Fuqua team made it a priority to give everyone the chance to experience the Duke campus.
Once I committed to attending Duke, I was excited to get to campus. I started the program in May of 2021. We had to follow safety protocols, including an isolation period after arriving on campus, regular Covid testing, and wearing a mask indoors. I was just so happy to be there, the protocols didn’t bother me. Not for one second do I regret choosing Duke and attending every single residency. Was it fun to wear a mask in a two-and-a-half-hour class, three classes in a day? Absolutely not. But, the engagement we had during the classes and the people that I met made it 100% worthwhile.
Eventually, those safety measures were lifted and we were all excited to see each other’s faces. The ability to work and study together on campus was an experience that was invaluable to my time in the program. After class and studying, there were many happy hours and dinners throughout Durham together. The in-person experience that Fuqua offered was top-notch. The team went above and beyond during the most trying time in recent memory. The ability to come on campus would not have been possible without the hard work of Associate Dean Karen Courtney, and the entire program staff. For that reason, anyone considering attending business school should have Fuqua at the top of their list.