Fridays from the Frontline: What You Need to Know About Class Sections at Fuqua
As we all practice “social distancing,” it’s a good time for a reminder about the community and bonds you can form in business school. In this edition of Fridays from the Frontline, we learn about sections at Duke Fuqua from two MBA candidates for the Class of 2020.
What You Need to Know About Class Sections at Fuqua
by McCallen Moser and Charlotte Whittaker
We know you’ve heard all about #teamfuqua, but have you heard about the “Unos” (aka Section 1) or the very proud “#fiveordie” (aka Section 5)?
Where It All Begins
On day one of first-year orientation, you are sorted into one of six class sections. Think Harry Potter sorting hat but completely random (or is it?). These sections are groups of around 70 first-year students, created most simply for the purpose of who you take classes with. But there is oh-so-much-more to it than that. While the sorting of students is completely random, we take the resulting section rivalries very seriously. You better be prepared to jump into the long-standing competitive tradition of Section Olympics and scream your section’s chant on day one of orientation.
As a proud member of Section 5, I have seen the spirit of Team Fuqua amplified in so many ways through this group of my 70 newest friends. We jumped into our first section bonding experience literally on day one. After that, there was no looking back. Our section, and all sections for that matter, have turned into families in just a few short weeks.
Our GroupMe conversation is full of witty banter and the much-needed homework deadline reminders. We have yet to miss a birthday in the group and love any excuse to celebrate together. We work out together; even attending spin classes taught by one of our very own. We study together. We have BBQ nights to celebrate finishing finals. We built a house together with Habitat for Humanity. And most importantly we support each other every single day as we start this crazy two-year journey as a team.
Section 5 has earned the “outgoing” reputation. We know how to throw a good party, could talk to a wall and never seem to run out of energy. I don’t have the exact stat but let’s just say Section 5 members are dominating first-year leadership positions at Fuqua and having the most fun while doing it (*cough* unlike Section 1 *cough*).
Section 1 is more than 70 fellow MBA students from 15 countries who represent nearly every industry from public health to investment banking. Section 1 is my Fuqua family. Since Orientation and Global Institute, we’ve welcomed new babies, struggled through our first set of finals, and celebrated countless birthdays. My section bonded more than I imagined possible in just a few short weeks.
In Section 1, we call ourselves the Unos, and we have a reputation of genuinely liking one another. We start our first class every day with a joke from our former algebra teacher and part-time comedian. In addition to the typical larger social events, such as costume parties and trivia nights, we host randomly assigned, small group dinners to create bonds between our individual Consequential Leadership teams. As opposed to Section 5, our teachers have (unofficially) noted that we are the happiest section at Fuqua.
Personally, my section is a big part of my involvement on campus. I serve on our section cabinet as the health and wellness chair and I work with eight other section mates to plan engaging activities for all Unos. As a cabinet, we turn suggestions into events that benefit the entire Section 1 family. One example was a “Football 101” informational event—hosted by our international chair with the help of two football gurus—to help navigate small talk with recruiters.
From my experience planning and attending events, I can say with certainty that Section 1 is the best section at Fuqua (totally not biased).
At Fuqua, sections play a significant role both in and out of the classroom. Often, our section mates will be the first friends we make on campus during orientation and the biggest resource we use throughout the Fuqua experience. While every section develops a unique personality, we all live by the same core principles and contribute to the Team Fuqua culture, which makes The Duke MBA so unique.