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Benefitting from a Collaborative Environment

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Maya Raichura
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Benefitting from a Collaborative Environment - April 26th, 2016

Making decisions is hard. Every single thing we choose eliminates all other possibilities. This is life.

When deciding which business school was the right place for me, I evaluated several factors. Among them was diversity—was I going to be able to learn from classmates from all around the world and many different backgrounds?*A focus on health care—whichever school I chose had to be a leader in health care, and its MBA coursework would have to give me a variety of opportunities to learn about the industry.

But most importantly, I wanted a collaborative environment.*I don’t think I fully understood the value of a collaborative environment and the impact it has had on my MBA life until I faced one of the hardest things a person*can—the death of a loved one.

They say Fall Term 2 of a Daytime MBA student’s*first year is one of the toughest, with a heavy academic load combined with intense recruitment activities. Days tend to be long, and patience is not always student’s best strength. I remember we all went into the second week*of the term knowing it*would be particular challenge. We could see on Monday morning that each*day that followed was going to include*14 or more hours of intense work, with little time to rest, eat and recharge energies.

On Tuesday night, I*was in the middle of a company presentation when I*got a call from my husband. He said that his sister had passed away. This was not unexpected, as she had been fighting cancer for over a year, but at that moment my world seemed to collapse. I went home to my Station 9 apartment, bought a plane ticket for early the next morning, had dinner, packed, and tried to sleep for a few hours.

You might be wondering why I’m telling you this story, and what does it*have to do with Fuqua and an MBA. As I was saying, I had not truly realized the importance of a collaborative environment until that evening. My Consequential Leadership (C-LEAD) team responded incredibly to what I was going through. One of them offered to drive me to the airport at 4:00 a.m.*and was there for me when I most needed it. It seems crazy that a few months ago we had not even met, and on a day like this they stepped up to help. Coursework was taken care of. Notes from class were also take care of. Between my amazing section of 70-plus classmates, who emailed me during the week to give me strength and offer their help, and my C-LEAD teammates, I knew that I didn’t have to worry about what I was going to miss while home.

But a collaborative environment is not only about the students, it is also about the professors. I have to say that the response of each and every one of my professors was more than I expected. Their understanding was much appreciated. Most even went the extra mile, saying that they would personally help me get back on track when I returned. They offered their time and their support.

The Fuqua community is unique because of the careful selection that the Admissions office does every year when admitting students. We are a supportive community that will not only enrich you from an academic and professional standpoint, we will also enrich you from a human perspective. We are there to cover each other’s backs and help when needed. I definitely felt it while going through this rough experience.

When deciding which school you would like to go to, focus on the*factors that are really important to you. The ones I mentioned at the beginning of this post were some of the ones that made me choose Fuqua, and I must*say I’m happy that I did!

The post Benefitting from a Collaborative Environment appeared first on Duke MBA Student Blog.


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