I started sharing my Blue Devil Weekend experience with you in last week's post, but that only began to describe the first half of my experience.
The second day of the weekend was where the bulk of the material was covered. We started bright an early with a welcome from the Dean and started in on the curriculum and academic portions of Fuqua. We heard about the Research Advantage as Fuqua terms their faculty that specializes in both teaching and research excellence. They are cited among the most productive research faculty in terms of papers published in academic journals.
Next, we headed off for our classroom simulations. We spent 45 mins in one of about 10 "classes." These are much shorter than the usual 2 hour class, but gave us a taste of what our classroom experiences would be in a variety of different subject areas. I attended the Entrepreneurship and Strategy courses. Both were action packed and the profs were calling on us already. There was a nice balance of discussion and case method in my strategy course and the entrepreneurship course had an interesting focus for researching how entrepreneurial behavior can be fostered.
After classes, we met up with our student hosts for the weekend and chatted with them over lunch to get any of our questions answered. An accounting prof named Shawn worked to convince me and several others who were undecided about Fuqua to the good points of the school. He was really passionate about the program and about the local area. That conversation reminded me of the personal nature of the program because he asked us to come by his office in the fall and say hi so he knew that we decided to come.
The afternoon was filled with a variety of optional activities ranging from soccer games, runs, Wii games, and others. I decided to go on the Duke campus tour from one of the Double Dukies at Fuqua because I had briefly driven past campus but I hadn't been able to see too much. It was a beautiful day! Definitely in the mid-70s and I must admit that I thought it was getting a little "sticky" even though I'm told that's nothing compared to their summers. A group of us took an hour long walk around campus seeing the famous Chapel, Cameron Gymnasium, and undergraduate living and academic areas. The campus was beautiful and it was so nice getting outside after having spent most of the day in classrooms.
The weekend closed with a wonderful dinner and some FuquaVision. FuquaVision is something very unique to Fuqua. It is a SNL style improv sketch comedy group that makes and distributes videos on a regular basis. This one was one of my favorites. After that, it was back in the busses and out to Parizade, a lovely restaurant hangout near one of the most popular living option, Station 9. They had closed the restaurant for us and made it into a happening dance club. All in all, it was a great evening. I headed back to the Washington Duke on the earlier side since I had to get up a mere 2.5 hours later to start the journey home.
I have to say that I'm really glad that I made the trip out to Durham regardless of what I decide about Duke. I needed the first hand experiences of the weekend and conversations with students to make my choices more clear to me and also get a much deeper understanding of some of the things that were mentioned in the info session that got me to apply in the first place. For those of you who have been accepted to schools or find yourself in the spot in the future, I highly recommend that you make the time and find the money to make it to whatever Admitted Students events that your potential program has. The information and experiences you get on campus are something that you will get from no other source and are definitely worth the $500-800 that it will cost to get there for the weekend.