Being 100% honest, I didn’t think I would have much choice in MBA programs. I would send my applications in, hope for the best, and get into one, maybe two programs. Going into the decision dates I didn’t have a top choice program or really high hopes, because I didn’t want to end the application process disappointed. I was at a loss when I was fortunate enough to earn admission to five top MBA programs: Fuqua, Tuck, Ross, Kellogg, and Booth. After celebrating, I realized I had a problem. An amazing problem, but a problem all the same: I had to pick where to enroll.
I get the question a lot – Why Fuqua?
For me, this decision wasn’t financial or about a particular ranking. It came down to three key reasons:
1. Health care Breadth and Depth
Having worked in both the provider and pharma spaces prior to Fuqua, I knew how unique each health care subsector was. I knew I’d recruit into the provider space, but I wanted to broaden my perspective and develop a network that spanned the broader health care industry. The sheer size of the HSM cohort (my year is 78 students!) was appealing in itself. In terms of coursework, I love that Fuqua offers strategy courses specific to each subsector, as well as an analytics and innovation class, and a course focused on health policy. Combined with the ability to take law school or policy classes, I knew my understanding of health care would uniquely broaden and deepen through HSM.
2. Health care Experiential Learning
I knew I wanted meaningful learning experiences outside the classroom, making health care-specific experiential learning an MBA must-have. One Fuqua opportunity I wrote about in my application was the Duke University Hospital Experiential Learning Practicum (DUH ELP) – an academic course where you work on a strategic project with Duke University Hospital leadership. The ability to work in the provider space during my MBA was a unique opportunity, and definitely part of my MBA decision. I’m happy to report that I’m currently in the course, working on a project to improve Pediatric department business operations, and finding it just as fulfilling as I had hoped. The fact that I’m working on a Pediatrics-related project, a part of health care with personal significance, makes the experience even more impactful.
3. Team Fuqua (it’s real, I promise!)
“There is no bad choice…”
Is something I heard from a variety of current students while making my decision. No matter what top business school you attend, you will get an incredible education and have amazing internship and full-time opportunities.
…so go where you feel at home.
Where do you feel the strongest cultural fit, and can you be your 100% true authentic self? Business School is a network where you’ll make lifelong friends and grow in a variety of ways. At Fuqua, I consistently connected with current and other prospective students in a way that felt so natural and easy. At the end of the day, when I pictured myself in my MBA, I saw myself walking down the Hall of Flags and hanging out in the Fox Center. Over a year later, I still can’t picture myself anywhere else.
I have three pieces of advice for prospective students deciding where to enroll. First, revisit the criteria you used to evaluate programs. Now that you know what your real options are, how do programs stack up? Second, make the decision that is right for you, and only you. An MBA is a truly personal decision. Don’t let what’s important to you get lost in the shuffle. And third, get excited, because the next two years are going to be absolutely incredible wherever you decide to enroll.
Hope to see you in the Fox Center!