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Duke Fuqua MBA Admissions & Related Blogs

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How Business Improv at Fuqua Changed My Life  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2019, 08:00
1
FROM Fuqua Student Blogs: How Business Improv at Fuqua Changed My Life
This is my story of why I vowed abstention from public speaking because of Russia, and how a business improv class at Fuqua changed all that while helping me overcome my lifelong fear of performing on stage.

The Origin of My Fear

“Is Russia part of Asia?” I kept wondering to myself, once upon a time in my third-grade geography class. I saw the world map and couldn’t help but ask all these questions as kids do. Only one problem—I was afraid to ask my teacher. She was not mean by any means (pun intended). Asking questions was just not part of a class session where I went to school in Vietnam. You wouldn’t be rewarded for participation, maybe except with a nerdy reputation.

I fought with myself for days. Mind you, I had held a girl’s hand in second grade and that was so much easier than this! Finally, my curiosity won over my fear. I summoned the courage to raise my hand. My teacher, slightly puzzled, allowed me to speak. The whole class turned back to look at me. My heart was racing the entire time. I asked my (fateful) question.

With a laugh, she asked, “What does Russia have anything to do with this class?” My classmates all erupted in laughter. I quickly sat down and didn’t look up the entire time. I just ‘lost face.’ Humiliated, shamed, mortified.

I vowed to never speak up again. What would be the point? I wouldn’t gain anything and I’d surely look stupid in front of everyone.

Then I came to the U.S. to do my undergraduate studies. There was not one syllabus that did not clearly spell out a class participation grade. Professors would even cold call me if I tried to hide. How terrifying!

I tried to speak, but my heart would be racing long before and long after I spoke—if I spoke at all. Every class was a struggle between trying to earn good grades and not having a heart attack. I would feel exhausted every day.

It got worse at Fuqua. My classmates were so articulate and confident. They seemed to even enjoy speaking up?! To make it even more comedic, my professor cold called me on my very first day of class at Fuqua. It was my third-grade geography class all over again.

It was a vicious cycle. I would pressure myself to think of something insightful so that I would sound intelligent when I spoke. Inevitably, I would overthink things and tense up. When it is was my turn to speak, I felt like classmates could tell that I was nervous. Eventually, I would tell myself I can compensate by doing well on the exam instead.

Until I took improv class. It changed my life.

Image
My teammates and I playing the “Good, Bad, Worse” game on stage. We took turns providing good advice, bad advice, and a worse advice to questions asked by the audience.

What is Business Improv at Fuqua?

Workshop in Managerial Improvisation is a week-long class where you practice thinking on your feet and applying the “yes, and” principle. When you “yes, and” you accept your partner’s idea no matter how silly and then expand on it. A simple, yet powerful tool to remove judgment and grow your creativity.

Throughout a series of games and exercises, my classmates and I built trust so that we could think, speak, and act in an extremely supportive environment. There was absolutely no pressure to sound smart or be cool.

You just need to be present. Be in the moment. Carpe diem.

The first day, we broke the ice by carrying each member around the classroom on our shoulders. You had to focus because your classmates were entrusting themselves to you. My turn to be carried came, and it felt strangely reassuring knowing that my new friends had my back. Literally.

It was so liberating, knowing I was not alone. Most of my improv classmates were also international students who shared the same struggle as me. At that moment, I knew I made the right decision to take the class.

The next few days flew by. We had so much fun playing silly games where everyone surprised themselves with their newfound quick-wittedness. Deep down, we unlocked ourselves from fear of judgment. Everyone truly wanted to listen when you talked or watch you reenact a movie scene that you like.

My favorite exercise had us present using premade Powerpoint slides that we had not previously seen. We found ourselves coming up with a go-to-market strategy on the fly for a random combination of a landline phone, sunflower, and cheese. My teammates Hilary, Dvir, and I creatively “yes, anded” the crap out of that presentation. We even improvised a TV commercial for the product.

To “yes, and” is to be present. Focus and listen intensely. You are here, physically and mentally.

The Final Presentation

I felt comfortable speaking to my teammates, but what about the whole improv class? On the last day, we all had to perform on stage in Geneen Auditorium in front of everyone. I signed up as the emcee for our team. I was to facilitate a slightly complicated game called Survivor, which involved audience participation. I needed to not only speaking clearly but also in a way that energized the crowd and got them to participate. So many questions raced through my head as I practiced emceeing.

Finally, our turn to perform came. We ran up to the stage making noises and clapping loudly to pump up the crowd. I couldn’t have asked for a better audience than my improv classmates. They cheered as loudly and enthusiastically as possible.

The
clapping stopped and the spotlight turned to me. All eyes were on me to start
the show. Would it be third grade all over again?

Strangely
enough, I felt no fear. My lifelong fear evaporated, just like that.

I was just focusing on what I was doing. I spoke loudly and clearly to my audience, with excitement as if I had known them for a long time.

Sensing
my confidence, they responded enthusiastically. The audience became more and
more entertained after each round. They broke into a gigantic applause when we
finished and took a bow. What a scene!

As I reflected on the week that was, I still couldn’t believe that my first time on stage was so successful. It was all thanks to improv professor Bob Kulhan and our group instructor, Cesar Jamie. I was so inspired that I joined the Fuqua Improv Club and registered for more management communication courses that involved public speaking.

While fun, many of the improv exercises prepare you for real business situations when you have to present without much practice. In fact, I saw the results of my improv training that same week. I aced an interview and was selected for a mentored study with a local sports technology company, thanks partly to the insights from improv.

Image
Our team celebrating after our final performance, just before leaving the stage

Three Takeaways from the Course

  • Focus, focus, focus. Today’s world is highly distracting, and you need to focus to become a good listener. Only then you can adapt, motivate, and inspire. Before any class or stage performance, our team had a ritual where we got together to warm up and refocus.
  • To “yes, and” is to acknowledge your partner’s point. Too often we only perfunctorily acknowledge something in order to get to our point by saying “yes, but.” Improv instills in you the importance of truly listening by starting with acknowledgment and then expanding on your partner’s idea.
  • Have fun. I enjoyed every moment of this week-long 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. course. If I had a chance to do it again, I would in a heartbeat. I became much closer to my teammates during the experience and am still very grateful for their support.

I came to Fuqua to train myself to be a future leader. Improv set me on the right path to becoming just that—more focused, adaptable, and inspirational. To those who find public speaking terrifying, I hope my story inspires you to face your fear head-on. I conquered my fear. Can you?

The post How Business Improv at Fuqua Changed My Life appeared first on Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Latin American Student Association Provides Valuable Support  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2019, 06:35
FROM Fuqua Student Blogs: Latin American Student Association Provides Valuable Support


An MBA is a once in a lifetime opportunity to put yourself out of your comfort zone, especially if you are an international student. Coming from Brazil, I quickly learned that the cultural difference between my home country and the U.S. is greater than I had ever realized. That’s why having support from fellow Latin American students has helped me make the best of my experience.

The Latin American Student Association (LASA) is one of the largest clubs at Fuqua, and it promotes both professional and social events, facilitating a network comprised of its members that include people passionate about our region. Here are four areas where LASA delivers value during the MBA journey.

Admissions

LASA plays an important role in the application process. The club partners with Fuqua’s admissions team to promote local events in Latin America, connecting prospective students to alumni and current students so that they can learn more about our school. LASA also helps newly-admitted students to ‘land’ in Durham, promoting sessions that share information on housing, health care, and daily life in North Carolina prior to the beginning of classes. As a country representative, I’m responsible for connecting with prospective and admitted students from Brazil to answer their questions about Fuqua. If you’re a prospective student, you can contact admissions and ask to be connected with a student from your home country.

Professional Life

Recruiting in the U.S. can be strikingly different from recruiting in Latin America in general. The LASA Career Cabinet strives to bridge this gap by promoting workshop sessions, resume and cover letter reviews, company webinars, and a career conference. The club also offers the LASA Career Fellow program, which consists of matching a first-year student to a second-year with similar professional interests. For me, the program was a major source of help because it provided me important insights on how to recruit in the U.S. Different from the Fuqua Career Management Center’s career fellows, LASA career fellows specifically bring the perspective of someone who has successfully navigated and comprehended the differences in the recruiting processes in U.S.-based and Latin American companies.

Image
LASA students with Duke Latin American undergrads they mentored

External Relations

LASA’s External Relations Cabinet is responsible for helping students to build relationships with Latin American alumni and companies, expanding recruiting opportunities for the LASA community. They also organized the first LASA conference about entrepreneurship in Latin America where I enjoyed hearing from amazing leaders such as Martin Rastellino (founder of Despegar) and Woods Staton (CEO of Arcos Dorados).

Social Life

LASA is known for its amazing social events—from barbecues to Carnival to Día de Los Muertos. The parties are great opportunities to take a well-deserved break from academic life and a chance to share our culture with other students while getting to know more people. At LASA social events, I have met amazing people from all over the world, including a Chilean partner of a student, who is now one of my best friends in Durham, and an Indian who loves to practice his Spanish. Speaking of partners, many Latin students come to Durham with their families who engage in events promoted by the LASA Partners Cabinet.

View this post on Instagram LASA Cabinet 2019-2020 Image! Welcome FY Cabinet ImageImage

A post shared by LASA Fuqua (@lasafuqua) on Oct 1, 2019 at 10:21am PDT

The post Latin American Student Association Provides Valuable Support appeared first on Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Examples of Our 25 Random Things  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2019, 06:35
FROM Fuqua Student Blogs: Examples of Our 25 Random Things


If you’re a prospective student reading this blog, chances are you’re already aware of the “25 Random Things” essay that is part of the application. But how should you approach writing it? Here are some examples from our essays that might help spark some of your own ideas.

Maddy Conway

  • My instinct is always to believe the best in people until proven otherwise. Cut me off on the highway? I choose to assume you’re in a rush for a good reason—maybe a sick kid at home, or late for a job interview. I’m an optimistic person, and I believe in the benefit of the doubt. 
  • At age five, when our pet fish died, I’m told that I turned calmly to my mother and asked if we could eat them. While slightly concerning, I take this to mean that my practical streak runs very deep. 
  • One finals period in college, I was introduced to the song “Ocean,” by the John Butler Trio. It’s a 12-minute long instrumental triumph, and I listened to it 116 times over the course of a single weekend (over 23 hours’ worth, if you’re doing the math). To this day, “Ocean” is my most effective tool to combat writer’s block.
  • Instead of buying a ring, my husband and I took an “engagement trip” to the western coast of Newfoundland, where we climbed on metamorphosed mantel rock (#geologynerds), met a moose that we named Muenster, and camped outside in balmy 40-degree Fahrenheit June weather. All our fellow tourists were Canadian retirees. It was the best trip I’ve ever taken.
  • In another life, I would be a radio journalist. I absolutely love NPR.

Yun Hong

  • I decided to pursue my undergrad studies in Japan to learn about the country. Without being able to speak a word of Japanese, I found part-time work as soon as I could. Washing dishes, making beds in hotels, cleaning buses, teaching English, and mowing golf courses, I ended up picking up the language faster than any of my Japanese course classmates and was the first in my class to get Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level 1.
  • I once missed a flight by losing track of time at the Hong Kong History Museum, and without credit card or cash, I ended up spending the entire day asking for help from strangers to get back to Japan. I tried to convince them that I could pay them back once I was back in Japan, and couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t believe me. After 11 hours, I was nowhere closer to getting myself a ticket but had made friends with a middle-aged man from Columbia who was in a similar situation and spoke no English.
  • While trying to decide which business school to go to, I was offered a Fuqua T-shirt by a friend who got into Fuqua 10 years ago but did not enroll. This random hand-me-down became yet another sign for me to apply to Fuqua.
  • In my drawer at work, I always had four or five different prototypes of next-generation vital sign sensing T-shirts and three to four prototypes for wristband sensors. User testing these prototypes was an important part of my routine that helped me communicate effectively with customers and partners.
  • In the next drawer, I had over 20 different products made by various competitors that I also personally tested thoroughly to study and analyze. In one of the largest software solution companies in Asia, I was known as “the hardware guy.”

Sandeep Panda

  • I started photography while I was in France 5 years ago—and like most people who have DSLR cameras, started with simple bokeh photographs. It was the beauty of the Notre Dame cathedral at night that inspired me to venture into night photography and I haven’t looked back ever since. I actively follow this still and post my work on 500px. Most of my viewers are from the U.S., Germany, and the U.K.
  • Interestingly, during my stint at Goldman Sachs, I spoke to people across five continents. However, what made the experience even more global is that I had to interact across seven different time zones—sometimes all in a single day from Australia to Salt Lake City.
  • I love music. I love both modern as well as classical Indian music and love the contemporary takes on them. I am the co-founder of a nonprofit organization, Snehalata Memorial Foundation, focused on the promotion of Indian Classical Music.
  • I have been interested in financial markets since my final year in college and created a portfolio of stocks after due diligence. My ROI is 105% on the initial investment in three years.
  • Hailing from a computer science background, my passion for games was directed into creating alongside playing. I created many small games in college. I also took part in the world game championship challenge to develop a full 3D game and qualified in the top 100. The trailer is here.

Austin Ray

  • When I was younger, I trained dogs in sheep herding and agility. I did not appreciate either experience at the time, but I’m glad that my parents pushed me to try something unconventional. I’m now open to trying anything once.
  • I once made GQ.com’s list of “Best Dressed Readers.” I still don’t know who nominated me.
  • I try to meditate and practice yoga regularly. Throw me in any situation and I’ll always feel at ohm.
  • I will use a bad pun at every opportunity.
  • I moved from California to New York to co-found a non profit when I was 24. I only brought a duffel bag with me. No mattress, no furniture, no kitchen utensils; only enough clothes to get through the first season. I didn’t know if the organization would get off the ground, but five years later and it’s still going strong. Seeing a napkin sketch of a dream transform into reality is still one of my proudest achievements.

Courtney Ridenhour

  • I’m addicted to true crime. I’ll read, watch, or listen to anything related to it.
  • On that note, I think working in the Behavioral Analysis Unit at the FBI would be the coolest thing. A slight obsession with how people think and what makes people tick might be what got me into the world of advertising and marketing.
  • In college, I led backpacking trips for incoming freshmen. Part of our training included a wilderness first aid course. Because of this training, I can now make a splint out of anything. Show me a jacket, a bandana, and two sticks, I see a leg brace. It’s my only party trick.
  • My favorite day in New York is the first Sunday in November—the day of the TCS New York City Marathon. The city shows up. The streets are lined. People are cheering for strangers. There’s a real sense of community. I volunteered for the race a couple of times, and have always made a point to watch and cheer. I finally got to run the marathon last fall. The race was a tough one, but it was one of the coolest experiences. Crossing that finish line is a moment I will never forget.
  • I have a bad binge-watching habit. But I’m super up-to-speed on all things Netflix. I will say, as a small redemption, that this habit pairs well with marathon training.
The post Examples of Our 25 Random Things appeared first on Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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A Record Year for Hiring at Fuqua  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Dec 2019, 10:00
FROM Fuqua Student Blogs: A Record Year for Hiring at Fuqua


I’ve often told people I feel like I have the best job at Fuqua. As associate dean for career management, I have a front-row view of our tremendously talented students seeking jobs plus direct insight from the companies looking to hire them.

It could be tempting to think of our careers team as matchmakers in that process—but our roles are so much more complex and constantly evolving. We are the eyes and ears of the business school in understanding what companies want in the talent they are hiring and how they are hiring it. We are among the first to spot shifts in the skills needed to succeed in the ever-complex landscape of business today.

In 20 years on Fuqua’s career team, I’ve personally witnessed the changing nature of work and the new demands in skills and opportunities that accompany those evolutions. Our faculty is continually updating and tweaking our curriculum to meet the needs of business. That means our students are prepared. It also means they are in demand.

The data in our most recent careers report demonstrates that demand. Three months after the Class of 2019 graduated, 97% had received job offers and 95% had accepted offers. Those are the highest percentages I’ve seen in my 20 years. In addition, median annual base salary rose by 8% from the previous year.

I believe the numbers speak not only to the talent of our students but the recognition by employers that they are being well prepared at Fuqua. Other highlights from the careers report include:

  • For the third
    consecutive year, the West Coast is the top geographic destination for
    our graduates, attracting approximately a quarter of the combined graduating
    and intern classes. I attribute this trend to the popularity of the technology
    and health care industries, along with increased numbers of graduates going to
    work in consulting in the region.
  • By industry, 32% of the class went into
    consulting, 23% into tech and 20% into finance. The number of graduates entering
    finance in 2019 was up four percentage points from the previous year.
  • McKinsey hired the most graduates in 2019,
    followed by Amazon, BCG, Microsoft, Dell, and
    Google. Fifty-nine companies hired three or more grads or interns.

The full careers report can be found here. You can also read more about the trends in this Poets & Quants piece.

I’m proud our data continues to show that Fuqua graduates are able to pursue their career interests in a wide variety of industries, functions, and locations.

Mostly, I’m proud of the stories I hear about the ways our
graduates are impacting companies and their communities. I love hearing
recruiters tell me how a Fuqua graduate brought a team together to solve a
challenge or used their technical expertise plus leadership skills to drive
innovation. Knowing our team helped highly talented people find fulfilling
roles where they can use their skills and passions to help make companies and
the world better is always our best metric of success!

The post A Record Year for Hiring at Fuqua appeared first on Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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How Meeting the AI Advisor to the Prime Minister of India Transformed   [#permalink]

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New post 13 Dec 2019, 08:00
FROM Fuqua Student Blogs: How Meeting the AI Advisor to the Prime Minister of India Transformed Me


I’m sixteen months into the Daytime MBA program at Fuqua, and the experience has been hugely rewarding. As a part of my curriculum, I’ve had the privilege of studying under professors who are globally renowned leaders in their fields, traveled to South America to help a large financial institution transform its digital strategy, and interned at a company that I’ve wanted to work for since I was a teenager.

However, my already amazing experience got even better when the Global Team at Fuqua asked me to organize and moderate a panel discussion with Nivruti Rai. Nivruti is the country head for Intel, India, and the artificial intelligence (AI) advisor to the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi. She came to Fuqua during her visit to Duke to unveil Prime Minister Modi’s Global AI Conference in New Delhi, which is to be held in April 2020.

In addition to Nivruti, attending the discussion at Fuqua was David Hoffman, the director of security policy at Intel, Prashant Shah, a prominent Bollywood filmmaker, two members of the Global Team at Fuqua, and sixteen second-year MBA students, representing the Association of Women in Business, the Tech Club, and INDUS—the South Asian club.

Image

After a quick round of introductions, Nivruti started off the discussion by explaining the rationale behind why she thinks that AI will be one of the biggest drivers of India’s GDP growth in the coming years. She told us about the petabytes of data that India has, and how she and Intel are partnering with the state and national governments to improve everything from health infrastructure to road conditions, including the development of grey zone mappings to reduce the high rate of traffic accidents in the country.

Discussions with students ranged from how to bring data out of the “walled gardens” of the big tech firms and allow it to be leveraged by passionate social entrepreneurs who want to use that data to train machine learning models for improving the society, to how future leaders at Fuqua, who come from developing nations like Nicaragua, can help their countries benefit from the global AI revolution.

She also spoke at length about the various “smart” initiatives that have been undertaken by the Indian government over the last five years, such as the Smart Cities Mission and CityStack, and how these initiatives are collaborating with each other to usher in a digital age in India.

From the discussion, it was amply evident that Nivruti is incredibly passionate about leveraging AI to solve several of the economic and societal challenges that plague India and the world. Conversations with my fellow classmates after the discussion echoed my feelings—we were truly inspired by Nivruti’s lifelong dedication and passion towards the subject. She is a role model for anyone that is looking to positively impact their communities through technology. We felt empowered to uncover our passions and solve the most pressing problems of the world.

The post How Meeting the AI Advisor to the Prime Minister of India Transformed Me appeared first on Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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How Hosting the Top Technology Advisor to the Indian Government Transf  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Dec 2019, 10:00
FROM Fuqua Student Blogs: How Hosting the Top Technology Advisor to the Indian Government Transformed Me


I’m sixteen months into the Daytime MBA program at Fuqua, and the experience has been hugely rewarding. As a part of my curriculum, I’ve had the privilege of studying under professors who are globally renowned leaders in their fields, traveled to South America to help a large financial institution transform its digital strategy, and interned at a company that I’ve wanted to work for since I was a teenager.

However, my already amazing experience got even better when the Global Team at Fuqua asked me to organize and moderate a panel discussion with Nivruti Rai. Nivruti is the country head for Intel, India, and the top technology advisor to the Indian government. She came to Fuqua during her visit to Duke to unveil Prime Minister Modi’s Global AI Conference in New Delhi, which is to be held in April 2020.

In addition to Nivruti, attending the discussion at Fuqua was David Hoffman, the director of security policy at Intel, Prashant Shah, a prominent Bollywood filmmaker, two members of the Global Team at Fuqua, and sixteen second-year MBA students, representing the Association of Women in Business, the Tech Club, and INDUS—the South Asian club.

Image

After a quick round of introductions, Nivruti started off the discussion by explaining the rationale behind why she thinks that AI will be one of the biggest drivers of India’s GDP growth in the coming years. She told us about the petabytes of data that India has, and how she and Intel are partnering with the state and national governments to improve everything from health infrastructure to road conditions, including the development of grey zone mappings to reduce the high rate of traffic accidents in the country.

Discussions with students ranged from how to bring data out of the “walled gardens” of the big tech firms and allow it to be leveraged by passionate social entrepreneurs who want to use that data to train machine learning models for improving the society, to how future leaders at Fuqua, who come from developing nations like Nicaragua, can help their countries benefit from the global AI revolution.

She also spoke at length about the various “smart” initiatives that have been undertaken by the Indian government over the last five years, such as the Smart Cities Mission and CityStack, and how these initiatives are collaborating with each other to usher in a digital age in India.

From the discussion, it was amply evident that Nivruti is incredibly passionate about leveraging AI to solve several of the economic and societal challenges that plague India and the world. Conversations with my fellow classmates after the discussion echoed my feelings—we were truly inspired by Nivruti’s lifelong dedication and passion towards the subject. She is a role model for anyone that is looking to positively impact their communities through technology. We felt empowered to uncover our passions and solve the most pressing problems of the world.

The post How Hosting the Top Technology Advisor to the Indian Government Transformed Me appeared first on Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors
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Design Thinking Beyond Fuqua: 3 Takeaways from IDEO’s CoLab Makeathon  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Dec 2019, 11:00
FROM Fuqua Student Blogs: Design Thinking Beyond Fuqua: 3 Takeaways from IDEO’s CoLab Makeathon


Serving on the cabinet of the Design & Innovation Club is one of my favorite extra-curricular activities at Fuqua. Guiding my classmates through design thinking workshops is extremely rewarding, and has given me the chance to hone my own design skills as well. The opportunities I’ve had through the Design & Innovation Club prepared me to represent Fuqua earlier this year at IDEO CoLab’s Spring 2019 Makeathon in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

The Makeathon was a full day of mini design sprints focused on emerging technologies. Participants spent the day prototyping solutions for challenges related to the future of work, financial inclusion, the circular economy, and other future-focused topics. There were lots of Post-its. There were lots of buzzwords. There were also a lot of great questions, surprising insights, and provocative prototypes. I left feeling inspired and optimistic about the future that we have the power to build. 

Here are a few main reflections that I took away from my day at CoLab.

1. Prototypes can help you explore alternate realities.

At the start of the Makeathon, all 64 participants were divided into teams of four. Each team was given a problem statement and was tasked with designing a solution to their problem. Seven hours later, each team had built a scrappy-yet-functioning prototype of their solution using a combination of code, cardboard, circuit boards, and whatever other materials they found laying around the lab. 

The idea of rapid prototyping is one of the cornerstones of IDEO’s methodology. The basic notion is that, by turning a rough idea into an even rougher tangible artifact, you can get new insights by watching people interact with the prototype and by interacting with it yourself. You can then build these insights into future iterations of the product. 

The Makeathon put the value of this idea on full display. At the start of the day, the CoLab team showed off one of their recent prototypes: a blockchain-enabled firearm dubbed “The Glockchain”. If you’re rolling your eyes at this, I think that’s kind of the point. As understood by the CoLab team, prototypes are provocations. They’re intended to make you take a potentially outlandish idea seriously, to consider the implications, and to ask questions that you may not otherwise have asked. 

The concept of prototype-as-provocation expanded my understanding of what prototypes are for and when they’re useful. Prototypes can be about testing solutions, but they can also be about inspiring questions. They can be tools of exploration, not just tools of refinement. Prototypes allow you to hold a little bit of alternate reality in your hand and to experience what the world might feel like under a different set of rules. And then, if that new world feels right, they can help you get started on building it. 

2. Diversity is essential to designing a future that works for everyone.

The Makeathon was something of a diversity paradox. On the one hand, the variety of cultural and professional backgrounds represented in the room was staggering. My fellow participants hailed from China, Mexico, India, Italy, Singapore, the U.K., and elsewhere. They worked in fields as varied as architecture, politics, computer science, extreme sports, fine art, education, and neuroscience. This was a serious asset when it came to designing our solutions. We all benefited from the outside-the-box ideas that occur when you smash different backgrounds and disciplines together in unexpected ways. 

On the other hand, it was impossible not to notice that almost every person in the room traveled to Cambridge directly from an elite American university—nearly all from the east coast, mostly from New England. Inevitably, an event like the Makeathon will only be as diverse as the elite institutions that it sources from. And these institutions are still hardly representative of the global population

My team experienced this fact as a practical impediment. As we worked to design a better process for making salary decisions, we found ourselves asking whether the solutions we were throwing around would be applicable to blue-collar workers. Or, for that matter, anyone who didn’t spend the bulk of their workday behind a computer. We couldn’t answer these questions.

But the elite nature of the Makeathon also gets at a deeper problem, an uncomfortable truth that has no easy answers: the future is always being designed by the elites. And too often, it’s designed by the elites, for the elites. 

Here, IDEO’s human-centered approach to future design offers a ray of hope. What we weren’t able to do during the short 7-hour timeframe of the Makeathon—empathize with the people who would be affected by the system we were designing—is actually the cornerstone of IDEO’s practice. IDEO provides an example of an elite institution aspiring to design a future that works for humanity at large. 

The lesson from the Makeathon was clear: diversity is critical not just for generating paradigm-shifting ideas, but for ensuring that those ideas serve the best interests of the many rather than just the few. 

Image

3. The design thinking process really works. 

Imagine you were asked to sit at a table with three strangers and come up with a totally original, commercially viable venture concept—in just 7 hours. This sounds miserable and fruitless even to me, a self-avowed idealist who loves dreaming of new ideas. 

IDEO has managed to craft a process that makes such an endeavor both productive and fun. Beginning with nothing more than a bare-bones problem statement, my team designed and built a functioning prototype for a product that none of us had previously imagined. A product targeted at an industry that none of us were experts in. A product that, in my opinion, has a pretty great shot at commercial success. 

This didn’t happen by chance. It’s the outcome of a process that’s been honed over the past 2-plus decades. Many steps in this process have become familiar in modern tech-driven workplaces: user personas, journey maps, “how might we…” statements, divergent/convergent brainstorming, etc. But seeing the process executed so elegantly by so many people in such a concentrated amount of time and space was genuinely magnificent.

When all was said and done, the Makeathon lasted for just over seven hours. But my experience there will inform my approach to innovation for years to come. And it was an excellent complement to the design thinking skills at Fuqua that I’m building through my classes and the Design & Innovation Club. 

The post Design Thinking Beyond Fuqua: 3 Takeaways from IDEO’s CoLab Makeathon appeared first on Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog.
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Design Thinking Beyond Fuqua: 3 Takeaways from IDEO’s CoLab Makeathon  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Dec 2019, 15:00
FROM Fuqua Student Blogs: Design Thinking Beyond Fuqua: 3 Takeaways from IDEO’s CoLab Makeathon


Serving on the cabinet of the Design & Innovation Club is one of my favorite extra-curricular activities at Fuqua. Guiding my classmates through design thinking workshops is extremely rewarding, and has given me the chance to hone my own design skills as well. The opportunities I’ve had through the Design & Innovation Club prepared me to represent Fuqua earlier this year at IDEO CoLab’s Spring 2019 Makeathon in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

The Makeathon was a full day of mini design sprints focused on emerging technologies. Participants spent the day prototyping solutions for challenges related to the future of work, financial inclusion, the circular economy, and other future-focused topics. There were lots of Post-its. There were lots of buzzwords. There were also a lot of great questions, surprising insights, and provocative prototypes. I left feeling inspired and optimistic about the future that we have the power to build. 

Here are a few main reflections that I took away from my day at CoLab.

1. Prototypes can help you explore alternate realities.

At the start of the Makeathon, all 64 participants were divided into teams of four. Each team was given a problem statement and was tasked with designing a solution to their problem. Seven hours later, each team had built a scrappy-yet-functioning prototype of their solution using a combination of code, cardboard, circuit boards, and whatever other materials they found laying around the lab. 

The idea of rapid prototyping is one of the cornerstones of IDEO’s methodology. The basic notion is that, by turning a rough idea into an even rougher tangible artifact, you can get new insights by watching people interact with the prototype and by interacting with it yourself. You can then build these insights into future iterations of the product. 

The Makeathon put the value of this idea on full display. At the start of the day, the CoLab team showed off one of their recent prototypes: a blockchain-enabled firearm dubbed “The Glockchain”. If you’re rolling your eyes at this, I think that’s kind of the point. As understood by the CoLab team, prototypes are provocations. They’re intended to make you take a potentially outlandish idea seriously, to consider the implications, and to ask questions that you may not otherwise have asked. 

The concept of prototype-as-provocation expanded my understanding of what prototypes are for and when they’re useful. Prototypes can be about testing solutions, but they can also be about inspiring questions. They can be tools of exploration, not just tools of refinement. Prototypes allow you to hold a little bit of alternate reality in your hand and to experience what the world might feel like under a different set of rules. And then, if that new world feels right, they can help you get started on building it. 

2. Diversity is essential to designing a future that works for everyone.

The Makeathon was something of a diversity paradox. On the one hand, the variety of cultural and professional backgrounds represented in the room was staggering. My fellow participants hailed from China, Mexico, India, Italy, Singapore, the U.K., and elsewhere. They worked in fields as varied as architecture, politics, computer science, extreme sports, fine art, education, and neuroscience. This was a serious asset when it came to designing our solutions. We all benefited from the outside-the-box ideas that occur when you smash different backgrounds and disciplines together in unexpected ways. 

On the other hand, it was impossible not to notice that almost every person in the room traveled to Cambridge directly from an elite American university—nearly all from the east coast, mostly from New England. Inevitably, an event like the Makeathon will only be as diverse as the elite institutions that it sources from. And these institutions are still hardly representative of the global population

My team experienced this fact as a practical impediment. As we worked to design a better process for making salary decisions, we found ourselves asking whether the solutions we were throwing around would be applicable to blue-collar workers. Or, for that matter, anyone who didn’t spend the bulk of their workday behind a computer. We couldn’t answer these questions.

But the elite nature of the Makeathon also gets at a deeper problem, an uncomfortable truth that has no easy answers: the future is always being designed by the elites. And too often, it’s designed by the elites, for the elites. 

Here, IDEO’s human-centered approach to future design offers a ray of hope. What we weren’t able to do during the short 7-hour timeframe of the Makeathon—empathize with the people who would be affected by the system we were designing—is actually the cornerstone of IDEO’s practice. IDEO provides an example of an elite institution aspiring to design a future that works for humanity at large. 

The lesson from the Makeathon was clear: diversity is critical not just for generating paradigm-shifting ideas, but for ensuring that those ideas serve the best interests of the many rather than just the few. 

Image

3. The design thinking process really works. 

Imagine you were asked to sit at a table with three strangers and come up with a totally original, commercially viable venture concept—in just 7 hours. This sounds miserable and fruitless even to me, a self-avowed idealist who loves dreaming of new ideas. 

IDEO has managed to craft a process that makes such an endeavor both productive and fun. Beginning with nothing more than a bare-bones problem statement, my team designed and built a functioning prototype for a product that none of us had previously imagined. A product targeted at an industry that none of us were experts in. A product that, in my opinion, has a pretty great shot at commercial success. 

This didn’t happen by chance. It’s the outcome of a process that’s been honed over the past 2-plus decades. Many steps in this process have become familiar in modern tech-driven workplaces: user personas, journey maps, “how might we…” statements, divergent/convergent brainstorming, etc. But seeing the process executed so elegantly by so many people in such a concentrated amount of time and space was genuinely magnificent.

When all was said and done, the Makeathon lasted for just over seven hours. But my experience there will inform my approach to innovation for years to come. And it was an excellent complement to the design thinking skills at Fuqua that I’m building through my classes and the Design & Innovation Club. 

The post Design Thinking Beyond Fuqua: 3 Takeaways from IDEO’s CoLab Makeathon appeared first on Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog.
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Why We Founded the Duke MBA Fintech Club  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jan 2020, 07:00
FROM Fuqua Student Blogs: Why We Founded the Duke MBA Fintech Club


We co-founded the Duke MBA FinTech Club in the Spring of 2018, with the goal of fostering a community passionate about financial technology at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and to create an ecosystem that supports MBA students in pursuing careers within the industry.

Just a year after its founding, the FinTech Club had made significant progress towards many of its objectives. The club, in collaboration with Fuqua’s Career Management Center, increased the number of fintech-related internships and full-time positions being posted at Fuqua, developed many relationships with potential employers, alumni, and industry experts and helped expose students to Fuqua faculty that is focused on the latest research and industry trends.

Over the past few years, Fuqua has been a leader among top business schools in offering fintech-related electives. Professor Campbell Harvey’s blockchain course was the first of its kind and Professor Manju Puri’s elective course, “Raising Capital & Financial Technology,” explores how recent market disruptions have allowed firms to raise capital in new and innovative ways.

In addition to these courses, another highlight for us was the FinTech Club’s trip to Washington, D.C., to attend the “Fintech and the Future of Banking” conference jointly organized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship. The conference featured regulators, industry practitioners and researchers with the belief that at the intersection of research and experience lies good public policy.

Professor Puri was not only a key figure in organizing the event, but she was also one of the most exciting speakers at the conference. In her session, she shared a summary of her research paper, “On the Rise of Fintechs – Credit Scoring Using Digital Footprints,” wherein she was able to show the highly predictive powers of our digital footprint and its implications for consumers, firms and regulators. Another one of our Fuqua professors, David Robinson, moderated an insightful panel of experts from the venture capital industry.

Image
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin speaking at the conference

With leading faculty, a strong alumni network, and the recent establishment of the Duke MBA FinTech Club, Fuqua is well on its way to providing MBA students with a complete package in learning about fintech and pursuing a career in this fast-growing and exciting industry.

Prospective students interested in the Duke MBA FinTech Club can find more information in this video we recorded as co-presidents of the club in the fall of 2018:



The post Why We Founded the Duke MBA Fintech Club appeared first on Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog.
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Gaining Consulting Experience with FCCP  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Jan 2020, 11:00
FROM Fuqua Student Blogs: Gaining Consulting Experience with FCCP


The Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum (FCCP) is an experiential learning opportunity for students to work on consulting engagements with businesses and nonprofits around the world. First-year and second-year MBAs work in teams to assist client organizations with challenges across a number of industries and fields such as marketing, strategy, and operations. The program also includes courses with Fuqua faculty to learn the best tips and tricks to succeed in this role. FCCP culminates with a final presentation to the client to share recommendations.

Why did I join?

Coming from a career in merchandising in the retail industry, I never had experience with consulting. I came to business school to begin a career in marketing, and FCCP allowed me to get hands-on experience consulting on a real-world marketing problem facing a huge organization. To me, this was invaluable and proved to be a great way to better understand the marketing challenges that organizations face, and also to get my first experience with a consulting project.

What was my experience?

I worked on a project for the U.S. Polo Association (USPA) to increase its marketing outreach to women. USPA was looking for creative ways to reach new consumers and share information about gender equality in the sport of polo. My team did industry research, analyzed internal USPA data, and completed a competitive analysis to develop short-term and long-term strategic recommendations. We were able to impact a number of marketing initiatives from social media to large scale events.

What were your biggest takeaways?

During this experience, I learned an immense amount about marketing for a large organization. However, I think the most impactful learning was the skillset needed to execute a consulting project from start to finish. It taught me about project management which helped me greatly in my summer internship at Frito-Lay. Additionally, it gave me experience presenting key recommendations and insights to C-suite executives. FCCP was one of the most impactful and educational experiences I have had at Fuqua, and it greatly equipped me for future success in my career.

The post Gaining Consulting Experience with FCCP appeared first on Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog.
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The Duke-UNC Rivalry Explained  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2020, 13:00
FROM Fuqua Student Blogs: The Duke-UNC Rivalry Explained


Eight miles separate Duke from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). The Battle for Tobacco Road, as it’s known, is one of the greatest rivalries in college sports or, as I and many others would argue, in all of sports. The centerpiece of the rivalry is men’s basketball, a sport in which both schools have excelled through the years.

But what makes the rivalry so great? Let me hit you with a few stats.

The two teams have been playing each other for a century—the first game was January 24, 1920. According to the NCAA, UNC ranks No. 3 on the all-time wins list while Duke sits at No. 4. The schools have combined to win more than half of all the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships and 50 regular season titles.  Oh, and since the 1949-50 season in head-to-head matchups, Duke as scored 13,559 points and UNC 13,581. That’s a 22-point differential over 70 years and 179 games. That stat alone should tell you how great a game it is to watch.

Image
More than 9,000 fans packed into Cameron for the UNC-Duke game

Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit my own story in all of this. Growing up in North Carolina, “choosing your blue” was a part of the deal. In my case, Duke wasn’t chosen so much as it was inherited. My dad graduated from Duke undergrad in 1981 (the first season at Duke for Coach Mike Krzyzewski, as he very often points out). The brainwashing began at birth—at 6 months old, I sat in my bouncer as Duke took home the 1992 National Championship. I’m pretty sure the Duke trivia education started as soon as I was capable of speaking. And by the time I was 5, I had completely rejected wearing “Carolina Blue”—to this day, I do not own anything in that particularly awful shade and will not buy anything that resembles it.

Coming to Duke for business school was the culmination of a life-long dream to be an official Cameron Crazie, as we call our basketball fans. I camped out for season tickets last fall, and you can bet I’ll be in the stands when the two teams play at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 7 (the first meet-up is February 8 at UNC).

While the rivalry hits its peak each year with the two regular season basketball games, it extends across all sports, and, in the case of Fuqua, a very special event in the spring. Each year, Fuqua takes on UNC’s business school, Kenan-Flagler, in the Blue Cup, an athletic competition with more than twenty events including soccer, basketball, kickball, running, and community service, to name a few. Needless to say, I’ve already begun training.

Image
Duke Stores getting into the spirit of the rivalry

If it isn’t already clear, there won’t be a day that I root for UNC. That being said, two of my best friends are Carolina fans. And that is what makes the rivalry the great. Duke and UNC fans are neighbors, classmates, friends, co-workers, and sometimes spouses. We hate each other a few days each year, but we respect each other and know that being a part of a rivalry like this one is unlike anything else in sports. So, Carolina, I hope you lose, but also thanks for the fun.

For more on the rivalry, check out this article, and I also highly recommend HBO Sport’s “Battle for Tobacco Road.”

The post The Duke-UNC Rivalry Explained appeared first on Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog.
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The Duke-UNC Rivalry Explained  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2020, 14:00
FROM Fuqua Student Blogs: The Duke-UNC Rivalry Explained


Eight miles separate Duke from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). The Battle for Tobacco Road, as it’s known, is one of the greatest rivalries in college sports or, as I and many others would argue, in all of sports. The centerpiece of the rivalry is men’s basketball, a sport in which both schools have excelled through the years.

But what makes the rivalry so great? Let me hit you with a few stats.

The two teams have been playing each other for a century—the first game was January 24, 1920. According to the NCAA, UNC ranks No. 3 on the all-time wins list while Duke sits at No. 4. The schools have combined to win more than half of all the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships and 50 regular season titles.  Oh, and since the 1949-50 season in head-to-head matchups, Duke as scored 13,559 points and UNC 13,581. That’s a 22-point differential over 70 years and 179 games. That stat alone should tell you how great a game it is to watch.

Image
More than 9,000 fans packed into Cameron for the UNC-Duke game

Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit my own story in all of this. Growing up in North Carolina, “choosing your blue” was a part of the deal. In my case, Duke wasn’t chosen so much as it was inherited. My dad graduated from Duke undergrad in 1981 (the first season at Duke for Coach Mike Krzyzewski, as he very often points out). The brainwashing began at birth—at 6 months old, I sat in my bouncer as Duke took home the 1992 National Championship. I’m pretty sure the Duke trivia education started as soon as I was capable of speaking. And by the time I was 5, I had completely rejected wearing “Carolina Blue”—to this day, I do not own anything in that particularly awful shade and will not buy anything that resembles it.

Coming to Duke for business school was the culmination of a life-long dream to be an official Cameron Crazie, as we call our basketball fans. I camped out for season tickets last fall, and you can bet I’ll be in the stands when the two teams play at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 7 (the first meet-up is February 8 at UNC).

While the rivalry hits its peak each year with the two regular season basketball games, it extends across all sports, and, in the case of Fuqua, a very special event in the spring. Each year, Fuqua takes on UNC’s business school, Kenan-Flagler, in the Blue Cup, an athletic competition with more than twenty events including soccer, basketball, kickball, running, and community service, to name a few. Needless to say, I’ve already begun training.

Image
Duke Stores getting into the spirit of the rivalry

If it isn’t already clear, there won’t be a day that I root for UNC. That being said, two of my best friends are Carolina fans. And that is what makes the rivalry the great. Duke and UNC fans are neighbors, classmates, friends, co-workers, and sometimes spouses. We hate each other a few days each year, but we respect each other and know that being a part of a rivalry like this one is unlike anything else in sports. So, Carolina, I hope you lose, but also thanks for the fun.

For more on the rivalry, check out this article, and I also highly recommend HBO Sport’s “Battle for Tobacco Road.”

The post The Duke-UNC Rivalry Explained appeared first on Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog.
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The Admissions Interview: What to Expect and How to Prepare  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Feb 2020, 11:00
FROM Fuqua Student Blogs: The Admissions Interview: What to Expect and How to Prepare


The journey to business school starts in many places—for me, it began while riding in the back seat of my dad’s car. But for all MBAs, at some point, it converges on one location: an admissions interview room.

Cue the feeling of anxiety in the pit of your stomach. It is a daunting 45 minutes, I’ll grant you. But it is also an incredibly important way in which our school culture is shared with applicants, and how we build our community intentionally to foster the things that make Fuqua—and our future global business leaders—great. So, to make the interview less scary, I’m here to dispel some of its mysteries and give you a few tips for success.

What to Expect

Whether you interview on campus, or in one of our remote locations, a few things stay the same.

Your
interviewer WILL:

  • Be a second-year Daytime MBA student or an alumnus of the program. As Fuquans themselves, they are committed to building the school culture by helping select the next class of students.
  • Keep it conversational. This is not an interrogation—we’re trying to get to know you!
  • Ask behavioral questions (i.e. “tell me about a time you…”) focused on drawing out your unique contributions to your workplace and community.
  • Leave time for you to ask questions. We know that you’re evaluating us as much as we’re evaluating you.

Your interviewer WILL NOT:

  • Have read your application. The only thing they have is your resume. So you can mention things already stated in your application without being repetitive!
  • Ask questions that have a single correct answer.

At the end of the day, the admissions interview is a mutual assessment of fit with the Fuqua community. So, when your interviewer is thinking about your candidacy, they are asking themselves questions. Do I want this person on my C-Lead team? Would they make a good addition to my alumni network? Would I be proud to connect this person with a recruiter at my company? Will they have a positive impact on Fuqua and the world?

With this in mind, the only way to leverage your interview to get that acceptance phone call is to be yourself! If it wasn’t already clear from the “25 Random Things” essay, the Fuqua admissions office is deeply committed to getting to know you—not your neighbor, or your boss, or some caricature of the perfect MBA student—but you, with all your quirks and passions.

How to Prepare

One piece of advice is this: prepare stories, not answers to specific questions. You never know exactly what your interviewer might ask, but you can bet that the best answer is always going to highlight a tangible example from your career. So, think through the experiences that shine a light on your leadership, your teamwork, your creativity, and resourcefulness, and you’ll be prepared for any question that comes your way.

Here are a few other tips for what you can do to prepare:

Check out the Daytime MBA blogs!

The good news is, if you’re reading this, you’re already in the right place. Over the last few years, we’ve covered everything from our rivalry with UNC to the definition of “Team Fuqua.” We want to know why you want to join our community, and if you’re not sure, this is a good place to start.

Contact a student ambassador.

We love talking about what it means to be a student at Fuqua! Set up a brief phone call with one of us, and I promise we’ll answer any lingering questions you have (and maybe make some restaurant recommendations for your interview day as well).

Re-read your resume.

Most likely, all your best professional stories are right there. Don’t worry about being redundant—your admissions interview is a chance to expand on the things you’ve accomplished.

Take 10 minutes and reflect on how you got here.

Applying to MBA programs is no walk in the park—it took some hard work and introspection to get where you are today. So, don’t forget the vision that has motivated you. Be true to your story and you’ll do great!

The post The Admissions Interview: What to Expect and How to Prepare appeared first on Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog.
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The Admissions Interview: What to Expect and How to Prepare   [#permalink] 17 Feb 2020, 11:00

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