Are you trying to figure out if it is the right time for an MBA? I was in the same boat as you, and it sure is a tricky decision. Taking a break from a well-settled life with a permanent job and a handful of years’ work experience is never easy. Should I opt for MBA? How does it help me? To what colleges should I apply? I was troubled by such questions and more. So let me tell the story of my road to Fuqua and how I finally took the dive. Maybe it helps you.

My Background

I am a computer engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology. I grew up in a banking family and was always intrigued by how modern banking is being redefined by technology. I started my career with Lehman Brothers in 2008, which I must say was very exciting as I witnessed my first job go up in flames during the Great Recession. It was a great learning experience early on in my career, in fiscal jurisprudence and risk. Meanwhile, I continued designing technologies for various investment banks.

First Attempt as an Entrepreneur

One fine day I quit my job and pooled my savings with a couple of friends, to start FinMin, a data analytics firm that used consumer spending patterns to uncover trends. Soon, I came to the realization that for a startup firm to work you can’t simply develop a product—you have to sell it. Therefore, I knew I would have to work on my sales and marketing skills to be a successful entrepreneur. This was when I decided to opt for an MBA. As I learned, an MBA curriculum can help you with whatever business skill you want to improve. And thankfully, I came across The Fuqua School of Business.

School Strengths

Fuqua has a curriculum that provides flexibility in your electives and experiential learning opportunities. You can also choose concentrations including Choices of Finance, Marketing, and Strategy among others. Beyond the curriculum, I would suggest you choose a school that can shape your overall personality, something that Fuqua is known for. A Team Fuqua culture backed by a vast alumni base made my choice easy.

Switching Careers

There comes a stage in your professional life when you want to switch careers, but you lack the requisite skills. This is where an MBA comes in handy. It is one of the only courses of study that lets you reset your career and helps you start afresh. Fuqua is a known brand when it comes to switching careers. We have alumni across many industries, which is a crucial factor in a career search, along with the support of the Career Management Center.

Experiential Learning

Much of the education here at Fuqua is based on practical training. At this stage of your career, one thing you might have realized is that theory can go only so far. I have been part of the Mentored Study program where I have worked with startups while at school. There are other similar programs like Fuqua on Board, where students sit on the board of Durham-based non profits and help devise strategies. These hands-on opportunities give you an unparalleled experience.

Support from the School Community

I was also impressed with the support that Fuqua provides for partners. If you are looking for a place where you and your family can spend two quality years, Durham can’t be beat. My wife has been involved in activities at Fuqua so much that she is often mistaken for a student.

In Closing

There are many other aspects of business schools to consider that I haven’t mentioned here. But my ultimate advice to prospective students is to make sure you have a good reason to pursue an MBA in the first place. If you do, it will make the journey worthwhile and enjoyable.

Arpit Garg with his wife.

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