Saturday, March 10, 2007

Duke(Fuqua) Visit

I took a late evening flight to Raleigh-Durham airport on Thursday, Feb 15th and landed a little later than planned. It was pretty late by the time I reached my motel, driving the car I rented at the airport. I had no reason to worry as I had to be at campus by 9:45 AM and Duke was only 15 minute drive away It was good to have planned this all upfront and my earlier Tuck and Darden visit experience proved all too helpful here. Though this time around, I was traveling alone. I woke up late and leisurely got suited and booted. Then checked-out from my motel and drove to the campus. It’s not hard to find your way around Duke but I still managed to make a couple of extra rounds. Parking apparently is somewhat a problem at Fuqua, especially for visitors. Visitor parking was 10 minute walk away.

Class Visit
I walked into Fox Center and found my way to the admissions office. Surprisingly there were quite a few people there which I should have been expecting, being the peak interview time for Round-2. Given the option, I picked “decision sciences class thinking it would allow me to compare class with that of Darden. My escort guided me to the class and introduced me to the professor who, I must remark, looked pretty young. The class got underway and it was a day for presentations. Supposedly popular real-life case on an “olive oil businessman” was discussed previous class and today teams would be randomly picked to give their analysis and recommendation. The mood was buoyant and light hearted but participation had to be solicited by the professor at times. I enjoyed the class and also understood most of what was presented. The structure of this class does not allow me to compare with Darden but the difference between case and lecture method is evident. Another important to note is that laptops are not allowed in class, which can be good or bad depending on the way you look at it. Fuqua class is around 65-70 and quite a few people were conspicuous in their absence.
Lunch with Students
After class it was time to head down to the cafeteria for the lunch. Student escorts showed us the way around and sat down with us for Lunch. They candidly responded to all our questions and shared their experiences. It did seem that they were trying to give a frank and accurate picture of life at Fuqua. It seems that most activities in the first year are centered on the school. Many students stay at school from early morning to late evening. Interesting fact I learnt was the students find it easy to interact with students from other sections and do form relations. But as expected this would depend on your own initiative and involvement. I enjoyed the lunch, chat with other applicants and first year students.

Campus Tour
Next on my schedule was the tour of the campus. The infrastructure at Fuqua seemed impressive, especially compared to Darden and Tuck, which I did experience first hand as well. The school does have funds at its disposal! We covered the classroom area, library, meeting rooms, conference center and other things that one would expect to see. Nothing struck me as special or distinct compared to other schools. Not that anything was bad, just that nothing registered as special. Most of what’s there at the school, you should be able to find in the brochure. Unlike the Tour of the campus at Tuck where the “Tuck Culture” really came out as spectacular, Fuqua tour was more like a sightseeing trip. It could be partly to do with the fact that it was afternoon, I just had my lunch and was sleepy.

Interview
Other things covered and complete, it was time to wait for my interview. I sat by and chatted with other applicants. A first year student showed up to give us company and answer questions; I found this very considerate of the admission committee. Our interviewers arrived together and precisely on time. We were escorted to the interview rooms the floor above. As per the norm it was an interview with second year student and she began by laying out a structure and things she would like to cover in the time we had. This was very thoughtful especially compared to other student interviews that I did find to go a bit hap-hazard. The interview was conversational with the standard what, why, how questions. We covered everything from my professional background, co-curriculars, interest, short term and long term goals, why MBA and why Fuqua. I was very satisfied with the way the interview progressed and especially with my answers. There weren’t any questions that stumped me but it’s not surprising in an interview of this format. 45 minutes later we were back at the admission office. I thanked the staff and headed back to my car.

Overall, I was very pleased with how the day progressed and felt that it was well worth the visit.

2 Comments:

Naren said...

Anand,

Were you in Duke? As R2 results were out on Mar 08...

cheers

Anand said...

Duke result = Ding, nwait for my next post.

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