When I picked up the phone to call Fuqua’s admissions office, I was on edge. I was wrestling with the big question: With my “nontraditional” background in military and sales, would I fit the Fuqua mold? Here I was, an ex-infantry officer now navigating the tech world, wondering if my unique path would fit in with the Fuqua spirit.

Trusting My Authentic Self

Embarking on the application process was like stepping into a new chapter of self-discovery. It was a bit of a rollercoaster, complete with its own set of ups and downs. And it was that very first conversation on the phone with David Steber that put things into perspective—my authentic self was not only acceptable but embraced.

I’ll admit, I still carry uncertainty about how my military experiences will mesh with the business school ethos. To my surprise, I am becoming more comfortable with the idea that my background brings a unique angle that adds value to our collective learning.

Fuqua isn’t only about challenging coursework or networking. Yes, there is plenty of that, but it is more of an expedition into who you are and who you’re becoming. It’s about recognizing that, despite coming from different walks of life, we are connected by a shared desire for self-discovery and professional growth.

A group of Fuqua Weekend Executive MBA students holding signs to celebrate completing an escape room at Bull City Escape
We escaped! My classmates and I went to an escape room during a recent residency.

Celebrating Our Differences

I recently sat on a panel discussing intersectionality, the notion that our social identities overlap and intersect in dynamic ways that shape who we are. Even though the panelists came from wildly different backgrounds, we had far more in common than we had differences. There was a shared human experience that we could all connect to. The everyday things—the chaos and joy of family, the universal language of a good meal or a catchy tune—these are the experiences that create common ground.

Fuqua has been a transformative adventure for me, reinforcing the value of staying true to myself. It’s allowed me to weave together my diverse life chapters, from commanding in combat to innovating in the cloud, and even making strides in social impact. This blend has not only shaped my strategic thinking but also instilled a drive to lead with purpose and impact.

To those pondering an executive MBA, particularly at Fuqua, here’s a slice of advice: wear your story proudly. Whether you’re donning camo or corporate attire, your individual journey is invaluable. Looking back at my time here, I’ve come to understand that embracing your true self is essential, particularly in a place as vibrant and diverse as Fuqua. By bringing our whole selves to the table, we are sharing our unique spin on life that enriches discussions and enhances the Fuqua experience for the entire community.