I was recently interviewed by Accepted.com, an institution that helps prospective MBA students applying to business schools. They reached out to me because they liked my blog and were curious to know more about me.
Next, you can read the interview that was published on their site called “Culture, Location, and Support: A Duke MBA Speaks”.
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? What was your most recent pre-MBA job?
Enrique: I was born in the South of Spain, in a small city by the coast called San Fernando. I studied Computer Science in Madrid, after studying High School in Maryland.
Right before starting my MBA I was working at a software company in Austria as a Project Manager. As you can see, I like to move around the world!
Accepted: Why did you choose to pursue your MBA at Duke? How are you the right “fit” for that program?
Enrique: I chose Fuqua for several reasons: its culture, its location, and its support to international students.
Fuqua’s emphasis on team work is a perfect fit for such an outgoing person as myself. I enjoy working in teams and wanted to be in a collaborative environment. While applying to business schools, I reached out to several Duke students to learn about their experiences and get a better idea of what kind of people go to Fuqua. I felt a great connection with each and every one of the students I met. I knew that I wanted to be around such people.
Fuqua is located in a small city in North Carolina: Durham. Durham is really affordable, compared to other cities with top MBA programs. I live really close to campus at a brand-new, spacious apartment. There are no traffic jams in Durham! People are extremely nice and, being a small city, I can interact much more with my classmates and other Duke students. Durham is also well known for its food; there are great restaurants in the area from all sorts of cuisines.
Finally, Fuqua is very international. Around 40% of the class are internationals. There are all sorts of activities to help our community get to know and understand other cultures. Each Friday we celebrate what we call Fuqua Friday: first and second years, families, and faculty get together to eat and drink. Each Fuqua Friday is organized by a different club. For instance, one of the Fuqua Fridays was organized by LASA [Latin American Student Association] and they brought Mariachis to play in the school. Another fact that shows how supportive is Fuqua towards internationals is its financial aid program.
Accepted: What’s your favorite class so far?
Enrique: Is difficult to say, as I am enjoying most of them! Fuqua has a set of core classes and allows us to choose electives in January of our first year. I’m finding extremely useful all the classes that relate to finance and accounting, as I come from a technical background. The concepts that we are learning are key for every MBA.
Accepted: Is there anything you wish you’d known going into b-school that you can share with incoming first year students and applicants?
Enrique: I did a lot of research and talked with many people before coming to business school, so I had a clear picture of where I was getting into. I would encourage incoming students not to stress about recruiting and networking, and always be yourself. Companies want smart people, but also some that are fun to work with.
Accepted: What do you plan on doing once you receive your MBA? Do you plan on staying in the States or returning to Spain — or heading off to some new, exotic destination?
Enrique: One of the best things about an MBA is that it allows you to face an ever more global economy. With Duke’s MBA, I could go work almost anywhere I wanted. I have always chosen where to work or study based on the culture and the people I met in each place. When considering what to do after the MBA, I will follow a similar approach: analyze each option and understand how my family and I fit in. That option might be here in the States, Spain, or elsewhere.
Accepted: As someone who successfully applied to a top business school, you must have some good advice for our readers! Can you share your top three tips on b-school admissions?
Enrique: About essays, try to be unique and show personality. Read your stories and ask yourself “how are these essays different from the rest of the applicants?” Regarding the interviews, be yourself and smile, don’t be a robot who memorized all the stories. And finally, about the GMAT, remember that is just one more part of your application. Don’t bring yourself down in case you don’t get a 750 and keep being positive!
Accepted: Can you recommend a nice coffee shop on or near campus that’s good for studying or hanging out with friends?
Enrique: Personally, I believe the best place is Fuqua’s Fox Center! You’ll get the chance to meet many different people, hang out with your section and teammates, enjoy a Starbucks coffee, study, do cases with other students, play ping pong, and many other things. The Fox Center is the heart of Fuqua.
If you really feel like leaving campus, there are several places to hang around with other students or family next to Fuqua. I rather have a beer than a coffee, so I would recommend Six Plates, a quiet place where you can enjoy an Estrella Galicia, an awesome Spanish beer!
Accepted: Can you tell us about your blog? Who is your target audience? How have you benefited from the blogging experience?
Enrique: I started reachingthethirties.wordpress.com when began applying to business school. I wanted to practice writing English, as well as to share everything I was learning about business schools and the recruiting process. I also have a lot of friends and family scattered around the world, so it also was a great way of keeping all of them updated about my progress. Once I got accepted to Fuqua, my mission was to tell the world about this awesome place and the great MBA program that we have. Fuqua is a very young school and is not well known in some parts of the world, such as in Spain. It is my goal to spread the word about Fuqua.
A lot of people have reached out to me through my blog, asking questions about the recruiting process or Fuqua. It is great to be able to help them, and even more when you hear back from them telling you that they reached their goals.
Thanks to Sarah and Linda for giving me the opportunity to tell my experience at Fuqua!