The MBA Life: Duke

  1. Introduction
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    Introduction

    Joe and Jackie Mancini are MBA students at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Joe is a second-year and Jackie is a first-year. "We're still in negotiations with Associate Dean Russ Morgan on a two-for-one tuition deal," Jackie says. They live in an apartment just off campus. Joe and Jackie met at a leadership conference during their senior year of high school and were married seven years later. At Fuqua, Joe has been the communications chair of the MBA Association and an admissions fellow. After graduation, he will return to consulting at PricewaterhouseCoopers with a long-term goal of starting his own company. Jackie is a COLE (Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics) fellow and an admissions Fellow. She will be doing a health-care internship in Chicago this summer and plans to stay in health care upon graduation next year.

  2. First Came the Class of 2012
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    First Came the Class of 2012

    Joe: It is difficult to believe that two years have passed since I sent my deposit check to Fuqua. After spending a few years in the “real world” as a consultant, I decided to return to business school for some more formal business training. Although I will be returning to consulting after graduation, the program has provided the chance to explore many other industries and functions. I’m happy to share a little bit of my experience in this slideshow before I transition into the Fuqua alumni network.
  3. Then Came the Class of 2013
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    Then Came the Class of 2013

    Jackie: When Joe started at Fuqua, I was worried about moving to Durham, N.C., without a personal network of my own. However, I found that the Fuqua Partners was a welcoming group for those of us that come to Durham to support our partners while they are at Fuqua. They even held a new-partners orientation for me while Joe was at new-student orientation. After a few months of watching Joe experience so many unique opportunities at school, I decided to change my Fuqua title from partner to student. I had always contemplated going back to school, and Fuqua offered an MBA with a health sector management certificate. Coming from the health-care consulting industry, I was excited for the opportunity to surround myself with other students interested in the business of health care and to learn from distinguished faculty like Kevin Schulman and Bill Gradison. Just one year after Joe mailed his deposit check, I hand-delivered mine.
  4. Arrive at Fuqua, Coffee in Hand
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    Arrive at Fuqua, Coffee in Hand

    Jackie: At Fuqua, we are lucky to have many days in Durham that are full of sunshine and a warm breeze. Our mornings start at about 7:30 a.m. with two travel mugs of hot coffee and a six-minute drive to Fuqua. I’m a morning person and prefer the 8 a.m. classes. Joe’s classes usually don’t start until 10:30 or even 1:30, but since we carpool, he comes in early with me. Joe: Jackie drives me crazy with her early classes, but I tend to come early with her anyway and use the time for team meetings, homework, the Wall Street Journal, fantasy sports teams, and a nap in the library if need be.
  5. Homework in the Fox Center
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    Homework in the Fox Center

    Jackie: Joe and I try to keep our schoolwork to the daytime hours, treating it like a full-time job. That way we can spend time with each other and our friends at night. In between classes we usually camp out in the Fox Center. This is the center hub of Fuqua where most students have meetings, lunch, and Fuqua Friday every week. Since our academic year consists of four six-week terms, the learning time is fast, and it pays to utilize the time between classes to catch up on class work and e-mails.
  6. The ’Stache Bash
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    The ’Stache Bash

    Joe: Each April, guys at Fuqua sign up to grow mustaches to raise money in support of classmates who are pursuing non-paid summer internships, largely with a nonprofit or in entrepreneurship. We recently reached the 2012 goal of $20,000 to help classmates pay for incidentals this summer. Hopefully this picture doesn’t haunt me in my professional life. During lunchtime at Fuqua (12:45 to 1:30), many student organizations promote their events. Last week there was a hot-dog eating contest in support of MBA Games, an annual charity event hosted by Fuqua to support North Carolina Special Olympics.
  7. Club and Team Meetings (Jackie)
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    Club and Team Meetings (Jackie)

    Jackie: Every day at Fuqua, you spend some portion of your time in class, with the remainder pursuing your career search, contributing to clubs, and participating in social activities. The next few slides will show you how we spend our daytime hours when we are not in class or doing homework. At the club fair in August, I was immediately drawn to the Association of Women in Business (AWIB). Our club cabinet wanted to emphasize ways to improve women and men working together. With this in mind, this year’s Women’s Leadership Conference theme was “The Numbers Game: Personal Strategies for Collective Success.” We spent four months planning the conference that included sessions targeted for both men and women together, such as a panel on navigating the life of dual career couples. I brought Joe as my conference date.
  8. Club and Team Meetings (Joe)
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    Club and Team Meetings (Joe)

    Joe: I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of the MBA Association (MBAA), which is the student government organization at Fuqua. We met formally once a week for several hours, but I was constantly interacting with other representatives of the MBAA. My role focused on communications—jokingly known as the “spammer-in-chief”—where I sent a weekly newsletter, looked after the various communications channels at Fuqua, and brainstormed new ways to get the word out on events. Notice the blue hair in the background of the photo? That's Associate Dean Russ Morgan.
  9. Exposure to Senior Business Leaders
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    Exposure to Senior Business Leaders

    Joe: If you wanted, at Fuqua you could spend every evening in a different event with a distinguished person speaking about a business concept or challenge they have faced. Pictured here is George Barrett, the CEO of Cardinal Health, as he gives advice to students as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS). Exposure to these senior business leaders is a highlight of the Fuqua experience. Two examples: former General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner co-teaching a class on “Managing the Challenged Business” this spring, and Procter & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald unexpectedly walking into a leadership class last fall to share his latest insights.
  10. Getting a Bit of Exercise
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    Getting a Bit of Exercise

    Joe: One of our favorite pastimes is walking or running the Al Buehler Trail around the Washington Duke Inn, just down the street from Fuqua. After a day filled with classes, team meetings, and club events, we can use a breath of fresh air. Even though Jackie and I share the same building, we do not really share the same activities, so we use the trail as a chance to catch up on everything that is going on and plan for the next few days. Jackie took this picture of me and several friends as we walked the trail after class.
  11. Bowling with Teammates
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    Bowling with Teammates

    Joe: Here is my first-year team on a brief respite from our usual status working in a team room. Fuqua divides all students into sections and then into diverse teams, which extend through the entire core curriculum. To underscore this emphasis on diversity: Half of our team was from outside the U.S., and we all worked in different industries and functions before Fuqua. Quick example of “Team Fuqua” in this context: When I was struggling in accounting, a classmate with a CPA (who was not in the class) took nearly four hours of free time to help me prepare for an exam. With his help, I did well and later returned the favor in operations class, which was my area of expertise.
  12. Fuqua Friday
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    Fuqua Friday

    Jackie: Every week we have Fuqua Friday, where students, partners, families, and staff come together at 5:30 p.m. for food and drinks, to think a bit less about school and a bit more about the weekend ahead. Every weekend there is plenty to do, whether it’s Fuqua Prom, FuquaVision (our Fuqua version of SNL), Fuqua Idol, MBA Games, the Blue Cup competition with the University of North Carolina, or some excuse to dress in ’80s attire. One of the great things about being in a smaller city like Durham is that everyone tends to hang out together, rather than fall back toward old friends who happen to live in town. The result is that everyone really gets to know each other, even in a class of 450. The picture above is with one of our friends that we met at Blue Devil Weekend and have since spent many Fuqua Fridays, a trip to Napa Valley during fall break, and an RV road trip to Indianapolis for Superbowl XLVI!
  13. Weekends: Free Time with Team Fuqua
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    Weekends: Free Time with Team Fuqua

    Jackie: This picture doesn’t represent what a typical weekend looks like, but it is a great picture of the 65 peers I have spent most of my time with my first year. This is my section at Section Olympics during orientation. We won the Olympics, and I happened to be my section’s resident amateur photographer. At Fuqua, first-year students are split into six sections that we take all the core courses with together. This camaraderie (shown in the tug-of-war competition above) is the foundation of Team Fuqua, which extends every day from team-building events at the start of the year to that infamous "Cranberries" team assignment in operations in the spring. Your section-mates become close friends who you spend your weekends with on hikes, dinners, and Durham Bulls baseball games.

  14. Out and About in Durham
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    Out and About in Durham

    Joe: I heard someone say that Durham is like “Brooklyn meets Mayberry meets MIT.” The result is a forward-thinking community that is revitalizing the city without losing its historic past. This revitalization is happening with huge growth in startup companies based in Durham and investment in community activities (like the Durham Farmers’ Market or Durham Bulls minor league baseball team). It doesn’t take long to figure out that there is far more to Durham than the lingering tobacco advertisements on the walls of buildings downtown. Jackie and I spend a lot of time downtown at the local restaurants and Bulls games. Some of our favorites include the pimento cheese scrambled eggs at Parker and Otis, Toast’s Italian paninis for lunch, and the $5 tickets and $1 hot dogs at the baseball stadium for dinner.
  15. Learning to Cheer for Duke
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    Learning to Cheer for Duke

    Joe: Coming from the University of Virginia, an ACC rival of Duke, I have had a pretty hard time trying to be a Blue Devil. That being said, one of the biggest perks of Duke as a graduate student has been free and easy access to great college sports (especially basketball). Every fall, the graduate student population camps out for season tickets to Duke basketball. Unlike the undergraduate students who camp for every game in tents, we have to “camp” (usually in RVs) for just one weekend. Even if you do not get season tickets, graduate students can usually enter any game (except vs. the University of North Carolina Tarheels) via the “walk-up line.” Through experiences like these, I’ve largely overcome my allergic reaction to Duke attire.
  16.  Spring Break: Getting Out to See the World
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    Spring Break: Getting Out to See the World

    Jackie: A definite perk about returning to business school is having a spring break again. One of the great things about Fuqua is its emphasis on developing a truly global perspective. In reading business cases, the news, and talking with our peers, we felt that India was and is going to be a leading business destination and thus targeted the country for our spring break destination this year. Joe and I planned much of our trip based on our peers’ advice on visiting their home country of India. It is one thing to visit a country; it’s another to experience it from the view of a local. This picture captures us celebrating the Holi festival in Jaipur. It was an amazing experience, but I will say that my hair had a slight pink hue for a week!