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Fridays from the Frontline: 6 Reflections on My First Year

First-year MBA students often get so wrapped up in the hoopla of class and campus life that they neglect to see the big picture—including the fact that they’re in the frame.  There’s been a lot of digital ink spilled on these pages about the assorted networking and internship opportunities embedded in the business school experience, but one aspect that goes overlooked is self-care.

Swati Tiwari MBA ’19 took to the Fuqua blog to touch upon these issues and more, sharing six major takeaways from her first year of business school.

The following post has been republished in its entirety from its original source, the Duke Fuqua Blog.

6 Reflections on My First Year

Swati Tiwari, MBA ‘19

1. Don’t underestimate the burden of internship recruiting.

It wasn’t long after that first email from the Career Management Center in August that I started noticing recruiters on campus for company presentations and networking nights. I remember being surprised that campus recruiting began so early. After all, I was just getting warmed up to being a student all over again!

Internship recruiting comes fast and furious, so realizing in advance that you will have to balance recruiting and classwork (not to mention your social life) can certainly help you avoid disappointments. Even though most of us come to business school with an open mind relative to our next career step, shortlisting a few industries or functions early in the process can prevent wasted time at recruiting events.

2. Your professional network before business school is still your network.

Tagging on to the above point, don’t forget your professional network from before business school. They can open many additional doors in terms of recruiting off-campus, so maintain those ties even after you leave your job! I wrote thank you emails to my recommenders once I got admitted and sent them frequent updates on the exciting classes I am taking and my internship recruiting process. One of those mentors also helped me land an interview with my dream company, so you just never know.

3. Leverage the experiences of second-year MBAs.

In my transition from a working professional to a business school student, the best advice I got was from those who walked in those same shoes less than a year ago. From advice on electives to clubs to companies, I always leaned on the shoulder of a handful of second-years who also became my close friends during that time. The Team Fuqua spirit truly comes out when second-years go above and beyond to help the first-years.

4. Don’t forego your hobbies and passions.

Once I got caught up in the daily grind of school, recruiting, and happy hours, the first thing to get cut was something I loved and had practiced almost daily for 10-plus years: yoga. Sometime in Spring Term 2 I realized how much I really needed that ‘me time’ during those stressful days. My number one advice to incoming students would be to try to maintain at least one hobby or passion you entered school with.

5. Take advantage of experiential learning opportunities.

There are a number of great options at Fuqua, particularly the ones that involve global travel. Experiencing new countries and cultures with your classmates creates a level of bonding that’s so much deeper than what you get from regular interactions. I am so glad that I travelled all over China for a Global Academic Travel Experience with 25 other Fuquans at the end of my first year. I got the opportunity to learn more about my classmates while eating authentic, delicious Chinese food and exploring the region. Can it get any better?

6. Consider taking classes outside your core strengths.

As an engineer by education, I naturally lean towards, and perform better in quantitative classes. But the whole point of coming to business school is to become a well-rounded leader, no? I didn’t do a great job of taking many qualitative classes in my first year but this is something I’ve promised myself to be more cognizant of in my second year. The one class which is most outside my comfort zone and which I am most excited to take is Negotiations. It’s a super important skill to learn both in your personal and professional life! And from the reviews and waitlist queues, a super fun class to take!

Clear Admit Resources
As you work on your Fuqua MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s Duke offerings:

Posted in: Feature Small, Fridays from the Frontline, General, News

Schools: Duke / Fuqua

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