Duke Fuqua Community Connections – Business In Africa Club


– Hi everyone, thank you so much for joining us today. We’re super excited to be speaking to prospective African students,
and students in Africa. We are the Business in Africa Club, and home to many African
students at Fuqua, and students really interested
in African business too. My name is Ineza Mutimura, and the way we’re going to structure this is, I’m going to ask the panel
a couple of questions and answer some myself
too, and then there will be questions coming in from you guys. So please, if you have
any burning questions, ask them and we’ll get to them. And then you know, if you have a question for a specific panelist,
please specify their name, and then we’ll address it to them. So my name is Ineza, as I
mentioned, and I’m from Rwanda. I’m also South African, I lived there for many years, so you know my Eastern Africans and my Southern Africans, you
guys are all family to me. I came from a background in education. I was living in Rwanda
before I came to Fuqua, working in education, doing
employability projects as well. And coming in, my interest was to round out my business skills. So looking into internship opportunity, I’m a First Year, internship opportunities and impact investing,
social impact consulting, and I’m also looking at
ed tech, and big tech. So big tech, the big tech companies that have education products,
ideally, but I’m open. So now that I’ve introduced myself, we’ll go down and have everyone else. – Do the intros. Hi guys, my name is
Segun, I’m a Second Year Daytime MBA here at Fuqua. Prior to Fuqua, I worked in Nigeria as a tech entrepreneur,
and this past summer I interned with Microsoft in Seattle. – Awesome. – Hi everyone, my name is Meron Baissa. I’m originally from Ethiopia, but I’m coming in from the
New York, New Jersey area. Prior to Fuqua, I was in education, and my hope is that I’ll pivot into tech, in the long term, to entrepreneurship. – My name is Meshack Nyaribo. I’m originally from Nairobi, Kenya, and before business school
I was also in the area. Before business school,
I was in the investment banking space across East Africa. I did my summer at Credit
Suisse in New York, and looking to go back
into finance post MBA. – All right, so my name is
Patrick, I’m from Ghana. Before MBA, I was into entrepreneurship, basically social impact, and also finance. After MBA, I’m looking forward to doing consulting in the
impact investment space. – Awesome. Actually, Pierson and I
are also CASE scholars, so the Center of the Advancement
of Social Entrepreneurship. And if you’re interested
in social entrepreneurship, or anything social, please
check out CASE, they’re amazing. I heard some really
interesting introductions and it peaked my interest. I want to know, how did
you guys end up at Fuqua? So given your backgrounds, what was the kind of process for you deciding that you wanted to go to business school, and then deciding that
you want to come here? – I can start on this. So I was working, I was based in Nairobi, but working across East African region for one of the pan African banks. And through my career, I’ve gotten to see, you know, not just what was happening in East Africa, but also
gotten a bit of exposure to Western, Southern Africa. So my main idea for
going to business school was going to look for that
international exposure, and I felt that business school was the best avenue for me to
get exposed internationally. Through the application process, which we’ll talk about, I
searched for a few schools, I had my criteria, and I just had what was important to me. The three things that I
felt were most important out of a business school experience. And when I searched around, I felt that Fuqua was actually the place that met all my criteria, and I felt that I’d be happy, actually,
for the next two years. And I’m a Second Year MBA right now, I think that my experience
has been amazing so far. I have met amazing people, not just these guys here today. But you know, I’ve constantly looking back as to why I came to my
MBA, and I’m meeting those targets and meeting those goals. And generally, this is a place that I felt happiest, and until today I can say I’m still happy. – Awesome.
– Yeah. – One more person, maybe? – Do you want to go? – Okay. I think very similar to Meshack, like I was in Nigeria and I wanted a step change from the way things were going on with like business, and pretty much my exposure. And while I had been considering business school for a number of years, like I think what helped
crystallize that for me was my wife went through the MBA, so I was able to see first
hand what that was like, and I was like, wow, this is
a huge opportunity out there. And I immediately started
looking out for business schools. Having seen what that was like, I then began something for
the type of business school. I’m a very happy, go lucky type of guy. I don’t take myself too serious. I still like to think
I’m smart in some ways, like most people here
would attest to that. And I wanted to be in
a group of people that, you know, I would be able
to take things easy with but still be able to drive
myself to these goals in a very smart like
serious type environment. And Fuqua, like everything
just aligned for me here. I applied here, and I was fortunate to get selected as one of the
class of 2020 folks, and everything like Meshack
said is working out so far. – Awesome. Something that you said, Segun, that really spoke to me
was being happy go lucky, and almost looking for a community. And for me, that was one of my
main things looking at Fuqua. I think business schools have a reputation of being very kind of uptight, and you know, very serious
people, very smart. And I was like, I do want to be surrounded by really smart people,
but I also just want to be kind of related and not, you know, be able to, you know, pull my hair down. And I found that Fuqua had that, and I read a lot about Team Fuqua, and at the time I was like,
what does this really mean? Is this like a marketing thing? And I realized that, as I was speaking to different business schools, the admissions team, the alumni, the current students
were super responsive, and were so ready to take time out to talk to me, help me
with my application. I was struggling with the GRE, I got a lot of advice
from different people who also had similar struggles. And just found that there was already that sense of community
that I was looking for. Let’s talk a little bit about
the application process. Pierson, do you want to tell us what the process was like for you? What were some of the
challenges that you faced? – Okay, so the first challenge was, okay, I’m from Ghana, and I couldn’t make the journey to US to visit
the schools in order. That meant I had to really fill those gaps with a lot of reading and research. I read a lot about business schools on all these business school media, like Poets and Quants, Clear Admit and all of those media outlets, to get a sense of the business schools. And then from there, as I wrote in to the schools that I felt like they were going to really
help me achieve my mission. And from there I started
talking to a lot of people. I went to almost all the events in Ghana. I mean there are a lot of
admission events in Ghana. I met Natasha there. That was the first personal contact with Fuqua, and I loved it. I mean Natasha was so great. She really spoke to me and gave me a very good sense of how the
whole team Fuqua is about. And then from there, I got connected to some Ghanaians in
Fuqua, and some Nigerians, and like they were very supportive. I mean I think all the schools that I was applying to and had admissions to, Fuqua students were more supportive. They really helped me to
really get a good sense of it. So in the nutshell, I
mean if you’re unable to come here, then that would mean you have to do a lot, a
lot of personal checking with the students, with the admissions, and also have a very good feel of what the whole school culture is about. So like for me, that is what I did. Spoke to a lot of students,
admissions and students, and I’m paying for it. I think I’m speaking to not less than six students from Ghana, I mean to also get a good sense of how the whole admission process is about. – Awesome. And anyone else can chime in, but can you guys tell us, what are some of the key questions that you asked in some of these conversations? Meron, do you want to start? – Yeah, for me with business school, there was certain things I wanted to have. I wanted to make sure, an undergrad, I would come from biology and English, so I didn’t necessarily have the business acumen that I needed. So I needed to make up that gap, but in addition to the education piece, I wanted to be in a space
where I felt comfortable, where I could have essentially family, which is what I found here. And I didn’t expect it, in a way, but I genuinely, genuinely
have friends and family. And what was your question? – The question’s that, when you networked with people at business schools, what were the kinds of
questions that you asked? – I asked them if they
got out of business school what they were hoping for,
and if business school really turned out the way they envisioned. And some people told me what they wished they would have done. Some people said it really hit the mark. Some people said, they hesitated, and therefore they didn’t
get as much as they want. So I accumulated all that knowledge, and I’m using it now to make sure I get the best out of my
business school experience. – Awesome. – I also want to add onto that, because I applied to Fuqua twice. I was wait listed the first time, and I was a reapplicant the
follow round, in round one. The first time, I approached
the application process as filling a series of forms, you know. I was like yeah, put this in there, fill this in. (laughing) And I was like yeah, I’ll hear back from them in like two weeks. (everyone laughing) Through the process, right, in a very, very unserious way, and I think I quickly have come to realize, like having spoken with
many other people after, you know, getting in myself,
that many internationals, specifically many Nigerians approach the process in a very similar way. But it really is a
process that should start with introspection to say, you know, what do I want to get out of this? Who am I? How does the goals and
mission of the school, how does that align with my story? And then trying to marry all of that into one coherent story as
to why you should be here. And the second time around, even though the first time I really
did a terrible job, it was a much easier process for me, even though it seemed like more work. It was much simpler for me to put in those thoughts on paper,
and then by the time I got the call, you know
it’s easy to say now, but I was fairly confident I was going to get in the second time around. – That’s awesome. I really agree with you, because I think in some of the backgrounds
that we come from, school applications are
just not that difficult, like it’s not that complicated, it’s much more straight forward. You know, when looking at applications for US business schools, I found some of the questions very cryptic. They’re very open ended, and I’m like, what are they trying to get me to say? And then the more I researched, I realized that American students, or students who are in the US, have a lot of resources that help them answer these questions. Some of them go through programs for six months or more helping
them refine their stories. – Yeah. – And as people on the
continent that don’t have access to these
resources, necessarily, really recognizing that there is a science to how you apply to business school, and it’s not something that you can, you know, do for like a couple
of hours before the deadline. That’s just not how it works. So really finding people who have gone through the
experience, who understand what the admissions team is looking for, and having them look through your essays, having them help you identify your own story is really important. We’re going to look at some questions. Just a reminder, if you
have any burning questions, please do send them through
and we will answer them. So we have one question, we
have a question from Natalie. She’s asking, could you talk more about the opportunities to contribute to the Fuqua community
outside the classroom? – Oh wow. (everyone laughing) – I can definitely take that. I just got selected for Fuqua On Board, which is, you use your business skills and business acumen to help
non-profits across the Durham. And I got a placement with
the Black Chamber of Commerce, and I’m really, really excited. So that is a way I can contribute
outside of the classroom and to the Durham community at large. – Maybe just add on my
own personal experience. I think Fuqua has very many opportunities to contribute outside the classroom. I think on campus there
are about 60 clubs, and it may seem like, you know, smaller than maybe other schools, or larger than other schools, but I think what’s important is finding
what you really love and how you want to contribute. From my own personal experience, I’ve been involved with admissions both in my First Year
and in my Second Year. I’m involved with the Finance Club, BIA, with these guys as well. And additionally the rugby club, which is something that,
you know, is close to me. I have been playing rugby
for very many years, and I also wanted to get involved with that when I was
coming to business school. One of the things though is that you cannot get involved with everything. You find what you’re
really passionate about, and you know, that’s
what you give the effort, that’s where you put in the effort. What you tend to find is sometimes everything looks amazing, and you know, First Year, I joined like
probably seven, eight clubs. And you quickly realize that there’s not enough time in the day to do all the activities that are required. So you drop a few and keep the ones that you maybe want to say that are really dear to you,
and still get involved with all your other passions,
by attending events, showing up to support your classmates. And I think one thing
that I’ve learned through, you know, just getting involved is building that network of friendships through different pockets of people, with different pockets of people who have different interests. – Awesome. Since we’re talking about
extracurricular stuff, Segun is the VP of Communications for the Business in Africa Club. So do you want to tell us a bit about the purpose of BIA, as well as how, what perspective students
can look forward to? – Okay. So simply put, BIA is a
diversity club here at Fuqua, led by the young business
leaders we have here. And our mission is to
help education people about business opportunities
that exist in Africa. So while, you know, intuitively BIA might seem like a club
for Africans by Africans, it’s really an open club
for every single one. One of our co-presidents right now is an American, and I
think what it just shows is that the club is as
big as we want it to be. So wherever it is you’re coming from, this is a great melting
pot to get started. And the club is really pushing on to do some really great things, one of which is a
seminar, which we do once, the conference which we do once a year. Outside of that, fun
fact is club memberships here at Fuqua are free. Meshack touched on that point, which is why he was able
to join so many clubs. (everyone laughing) And I think what I found
is that people usually, after a while like go to
like three or four clubs that they’re really passionate about. My three or four clubs
here are Fuqua Vision, BIA, the rugby club and Fuqua to Duke. And you know, outside of that, you also have professional clubs that can help you reach your goals in terms of your career, which I imagine most of us are also members of. But I mean, clubs are free, you don’t have to stress about having to stump up hundreds of dollars every single term to be in club activities. It really is a fun place
to discover what you like. – Yeah. I think I want to talk about the CASE i3, I mean that is the Center
for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship
initiative on impact investment. So I recently joined. I mean that was a very rigorous process. So basically what we do is, you are given a real life situation, a company that you support throughout two terms. So you would help the company to grow, help the company to achieve it’s mission, help them solve their own difficulty and also help them to grow. So what you basically
have to do is understand the whole business model of the company, provide them with support. Sometimes you visit there,
sometimes you don’t visit them. So that is the whole idea of the CASE i3, and I think so far, even
though I just joined some few weeks ago, I’m really loving it with the kind of complexity
that comes with that job. – Awesome.
– Yeah. – And in addition to CASE
i3, there’s also FCCP, which is also a consulting practicum, similar to CASE i3, where students have worked with a client and essentially have a consulting project with them. The great thing about
CASE i3 and FCCP is that you also can get credit for it. So it’s part of the
experiential learning credit that you can get, which is amazing because I think Fuqua really lends to different types of learning styles. Some people are really, you know, good having a textbook and a professor, and really enjoy the classroom experience, whereas others really need to get their hands dirty for them to learn. We have some other questions that came in. What does Team Fuqua mean to you? (Patrick laughing) – Who wants to start? (everyone laughing) If I could, it means a lot, but I think the best way to put it is, I think, just sharing an example as
to how this manifests itself in our lives, because
Team Fuqua is, in general, you know it’s a collaboration, it’s everyone at Fuqua coming together to help each other, to succeed
across different paths. For my own personal experience, Team Fuqua was, my
personal experience was, last year when I was
recruiting for my internship, it was a really stressful period in that I was required to travel
quite extensively, just to network, to try and find the opportunities, and to try and at least place myself at a good spot in the industry I was recruiting for. One of the things at Fuqua
is that you’re given, or you’re placed in a
team called a C-LEAD, which is a team of about six people that you work together
with for your core classes. During the time I was struggling, I could not actively participate
in every class assignment, every class project, but my C-LEAD and I came together with an agreement that, you know, any time that I was around, I would actively participate, and if there was work due that, when I was around locally,
I would actually do it, and take the lead and take the bulk of it. But whenever I was not around, they would actively come
in and take the bulk of the work, and maybe all I had to do was review and edit
and have that sent out. Considering that your
grade is a group grade, you cannot, you know, say
that I will not do anything, and let your team suffer,
or your team tries to, you know, your team does not support you because everyone gets the same grade, so. Together we were able to come up with something that worked, especially just because
both things are important. Class was important,
recruiting was important. And coming together to actually make sure that the whole
system worked out for us was something that I can
say manifested itself as Team Fuqua for me. – I think, I want to chip in this, I mean there are those six principles, but I think one that really speaks to me the most is the authentic engagement. So Team Fuqua to me is
more of being yourself in a very diverse way, and bringing out diversity together for a common purpose. And that is one thing
I’ve really seen here, that there is huge diversity in there, but by people being themselves. So you are yourself, you
bring your natural self, and then you have to
contribute to the community. And I think that is one thing that has really stood out for me, the authentic engagement
that people are involved in. – Awesome.
– Yeah. I think just to add onto that like, all of this like sounds
great, surface level, but I think what drives all of this or what makes it really special, the special sauce is
the people who are here. I don’t know, there’s just something about dealing with people
who do not judge you, you know, as much as you
would get judged out there, or people who would be
able to laugh with you, and you’re very serious like, we have a group, you know. If you get dings, maybe
you were applying for jobs, you don’t get offers,
like we laugh together. (everyone laughing) We have someone who got dinged from the very same job, coming to say, okay, this is what I think I did wrong, you guys get ready so you guys
don’t get dinged, you know? It really is people looking past like all the emotional things that really get marked up elsewhere, and saying okay, we’re all altruistic and working together, you know, to just keep this place a genuinely loving,
caring place for everyone. – Awesome. So we have a couple of
questions around careers, some regarding career switchers, and also the support of the
career management services here. Can anyone speak to their
experience with the CMC? Especially if you’re switching. – I can speak to that. The CMC has been phenomenal. For people that are switching, one of the things that I highly encourage you to do is to really, really think about why you’re coming to business school, what you want to get out of it. And I say this because recruitment hits very quickly when you get to campus, and you’re offered so many options. So you essentially drown
in so much options, so you have to know what you want. But as far as the CMC goes, right from, we start school end of July, and there’s what we call GIE, and during that time the
CMC offers classes in term. So we get a jump start on
how do we craft our story, what we want to switch
to, what we want to do. How do we create advocacy and so forth. So they’re very hands on, and you can walk into their office
and make an appointment at any time, and they’ve
been incredibly helpful. – I think–
– Awesome. – Maybe just to add on to the careers, I think one thing that
I found really important is that the CMC is supported
by Second Years as well. Every student is assigned a career fellow who is a Second Year
student, who volunteers to, you know, help the First Years
review their cover letters, review their resumes, and
really work together with them through the whole time to prepare them for the time when you’re supposed to actually apply for these jobs. And additionally is that
the Team Fuqua aspect comes in also in recruiting in that there’s a bunch of Second Years
who interned across a place. Different industries,
different backgrounds, and what people end up doing is, First Years get linked
up with Second Years, and depending on your
industry, your interest, you seek out the Second Years who actually interned and the places that you want to go to, or maybe have a background similar to yours, if you’re switching careers. And it’s just working together, 30 minute chats that we call coffee chats where the Second Year is able
to share their experience, their recruiting experience,
their internship experience. And I think I found that very helpful, just because the recruiting process, I think, in the US is very different from what we’re traditionally used to, and it’s all about networking. It’s all about relationships. And that support system,
having it in house, I think is very, very important. So having the CMC on one hand, and having the Second Years coming in to support on the other hand makes it really an amazing experience. – Awesome. – I think I want to start slightly on the, look, me coming from Ghana
and coming to the US, look, I was really blown out how much intentionality comes in with respect to their recruitment over here. From the very first that we came, I realized how very intentional the CMC, I mean as the Career Management Center is, and how deliberate and structured the whole approach is into recruitment. I mean as I told you at first, I didn’t come here to visit. I did a lot of online search. One of the things I really psyched up for was the implement report. And Fuqua always blew
my mind with how much success they had with the employment. And coming in, I think I really understand why they have so much success
in the employment report with respect to career,
because there is a lot of intentionality and guidance,
and help all around you. Whether you’re switching career, or you’re wanting to a higher
role in the same function. – I completely agree with you, and I think the career management
services here is like, it’s a Team Fuqua effort. Everyone is here to support. Everyone is, you know, adding value with whatever their background is in, and sometimes you get
connected with someone who is trying to pivot out of an industry that you’re trying to pivot into. And I find that if you, also, I think before I came to business school, I had the impression that I needed to really know what I wanted. And if you don’t, that’s
also totally fine, because the way the CMC starts is really by having you reflect. There’s a huge reflection effort where you’re given tools to ask yourself really critical questions about what you’re trying to achieve here, and I found that that was
really insightful for me. And the other thing is, it’s like, it’s almost like you come
into this candy store and there’s like so many jobs, and like I mean it’s overwhelming. It’s really overwhelming. The brand names, you know,
the salary opportunities. I mean it’s pretty amazing,
but there’s a strong support system to help
you focus your energy, and I found that really helpful. We have a question about
our more non-academic focus. Oh, here is it? It just popped. Okay, “As international students, “where are you guys living? “And do you enjoy your accommodations?” (everyone laughing) Do you find–
– Give me instructions. (everyone laughing) – Do you find it easy to socialize with the rest of your classmates, both international and domestic? – Where I say, I say in an apartment complex called Station Nine. – Station Nine. – Which has a reputation for being the complex that has most of the parties, if not all on campus. So a large percentage of students stay in an area originally
called Ninth Street, and there, I think, four
main apartment complexes that most students stay in. In terms of socializing with domestic and internationals, I think firstly my roommate is an
international student as well, but he had been working
here before business school. And the essence of having everyone living close together
allows you the opportunity to engage with each other,
whether it’s at the gym, whether it’s carpooling
on the way to school. – Swimming pool.
– On whether it’s social, over the summer or, you know, early fall, you know, chances to get out into the pool and have some good time together. But I think having everyone just staying next to each other has
that community feeling that I personally also wanted out of a business school experience. Maybe anyone else would
state, someone else can. – I can speak to that. I’m not an international student, but the experience that I wanted, I live in this campus called
University Apartments, and what’s interesting about that is people that often live there are people from all over Duke. We tend to forget, at
Fuqua, we tend to forget that there is this big
Duke that has access to massive, massive resources. Part of the reason I wanted to live there was to be able to access that resource, and there’s an intentionality behind why I chose to live there. In addition to that is,
I live on the bus line, and I don’t drive, so that
was very useful to me, and that is why I chose
University Apartments. – Awesome. – So I think like, the only
decision I made as well, staying First Year, was cost. I stayed at a place called The Heights, really beautiful set of apartments, was right on the bus line, and
20 minute walk from school, which I think is as close as you can get in terms of walking distance to Fuqua. And I would Uber a ton to all the parties at S Nine and everything
else in First Year. Second Year I got a car, and you know, I felt more comfortable
knowing my way around, so I moved even further
out, but funny enough is I’m closer anyway,
because now I’m a five minute drive away from school. And now you can drive to like S Nine without batting an eyelid. So I think when it comes to housing, it depends on, I don’t know, I’m guessing there are many internationals on. If cost is a factor for you, you might look at that,
because I think S Nine is– – A bit dear.
– More expensive, but Meshack worked in banking by the way. (everyone laughing) – I’m still poor. (everyone laughing) – Yeah, and whether or not you have a car, also, dictates where you can stay, but obviously if you’re in a place where all the people are, you can carpool easily like Meshack did. – And also, just Station
Nine is also on the bus line. From my apartment door to where the bus picks me up is a three minute walk. So it’s also one thing I looked at when, because I knew coming
in I did not have a car. So before getting to know people, moving around first, having that bus line access is also important. – Awesome. We have a ton of
questions, which is great. Okay, do you plan to,
okay this keeps moving. Where is that one? I’m just going to go for another one. “Seeing how huge an
investment the MBA tuition is, “is taking a loan advisable
in terms of loan repayment?” We’re all here, so we
don’t have our repayment. – We don’t have our repayment yet. (everyone laughing) It’s an investment, I think. The MBA itself is an investment, and you know, if you have the funds to pay for it out of pocket, definitely, you know, that’s an option. But I think some people, if not all, have some sort of loan to support whatever funds that they had. And it’s just looking at
it from a cost benefit. Most loans do not require repayment over the two years, and will require you to start paying post-MBA. So there’s that comfort
knowing that over two years, there’s no repayment that is due, and when you start
working, which is, I think most of the time is like
six months after graduation. When you start working is when
your first repayment hits. So you just have to look at
it from that perspective. And you know, we’re all here to do better than our previous jobs. I’ll hopefully get a
bit more money as well. So there’s that weight that you have to place on it is, you know, am I scared to get a loan that requires me to pay during my two years? Or do I want to make this investment, come get the best education I can get, and hopefully rise up in my career, and then start repaying off the loan. So it’s a weight that you have to put on the cost versus the
benefit of the program. I think that’s an individual thing. – Yeah. I will back you up to say it’s something that is completely individual. I take this from the
viewpoint of like rankings. Like when I was applying to school, rankings were all over the place, and this and that, but
I think meets really is, anyway, let me now go
into African parables. (everyone laughing) – He’s an old man. (everyone laughing) – But what blew my mind at Fuqua was that this is a school where, you know, the school acts as your cosigner, and I think there’s nothing, at least when I was making my mind up as to whether or not to take a loan,
where to take a loan from, that was a huge statement
of intent to say hey, we believe in like helping
you to reach your goals so much so that we will be the ones who will stand as surety for you. A lot of other schools,
regardless of ranking don’t have that, and that makes it so much more comfortable in that we’re all working on trust. If you don’t pay your loans,
I hear what happens is, you know, the school will say hey, are you able to do this? You know they really come in, and it’s almost like a conversation, where it’s this simple relationship where it’s like, this
simple one way arrangement where it’s like pay up, it’s
time for you to pay this money. So that made it, even
though it’s a huge amount in terms of the exchange rates. If anyone is from Nigeria, you understand. (everyone laughing) It makes it so much easier to know that, hey, being able to pay back these loans is dependent on these guys
helping me attain my goals. And at the same time, these guys are taking it one step further to say, hey I’m also here at risk
if you don’t do this. So there’s a lot of weigh up. It’s a lot of money, no doubt, but that helped me take
that decision over the line. – Yeah, I think it’s such a, this decision makes such a huge bearing on your life. I would say, I would agree that it’s a very personal
decision, but talk to people. You know there’s so many people on campus who can speak to you about this, about your personal situation. You know reach out to admissions. I found that they were super helpful, and gave me very candid
answers to my questions. Also, we come from, at
least the background I come from is not one where people take, you know, I don’t really understand the credit system, right? Like for me I was like, what does it mean, like I was like, are
there going to be people, you know, loan– – Loan sharks.
– Debt collectors. (everyone laughing) Will they be at my doorstep? You know, that’s kind
of how I envisioned it. And you find, and one thing that I think was clear to me is when
I started doing research, I realized that most of
the successful people that I admire have had to take a loan at some point in their life. So it’s kind of betting on yourself, investing in yourself, but really making an informed decision. So speak to the people that
you know and reach out. There’s a question about, okay, do you plan to return to
your home countries post MBA? And was this part of
your goals in your essay? What do you plan to do after your MBAs? (everyone laughing) – What was in your essay? (everyone laughing) – So there’s a joke, Meshack, funny enough posted on one of our groups, you know like everyone from Africa writes, “I’m going to go back
to Africa after my MBA.” To some extent, I think it’s true in that we all want to return. I think for every individual,
it’s a matter of when, not if. So I think it’s safe
to say, for those of us who are internationals here, I imagine we all put in, at some point in time, we would go back there. But we also have goals that we’re here to like reach, right? So yeah, yeah. (everyone laughing) – I think, I also say
that I plan to move back at some point in time, and I gave myself a timeline which, you know,
it’s a personal thing. But having done a lot of work, based on my personal work experience, working across different
countries in the continent, I felt that I had a good grasp of the business situation in Africa. And my reason for coming for the MBA was to get that international exposure. The MBA has done a good job, so I hope to also work for a few years, get the business exposure, get
the hands on experience here, and then use those
skills when I move back. – Well for me, I’m a
bit agnostic about it. I feel I would really
love to go back to Africa, if I find the right opportunity to go. I feel like Africa is a booming place. The only challenge is that sometimes you want to also justify,
I mean you took some loan, you have some opportunities,
but looking at all the other opportunities in the US and in Africa, and see which one will also help you with
your short term goal of probably paying back your loan, and also having some
international exposure as well. So I mean, if I find a very
good opportunity in Africa, I would really want to commit to go back. Yeah, the only challenge is that sometimes you don’t seem to find those
opportunities very often, and frequent as compared to the numerous opportunities that you find here. I mean I think the
Career Management Center, I checked in there and there are over 180 companies or so recruiting from here, and I was trying to look at the number of African countries, and
I think I was able to find one or two African countries on their career website as well. So looking at all these opportunities, I mean if I get a very good opportunity to go back to Africa, I
would really commit as well. – I think to that point,
and maybe this speaks more to the question, yes,
add some to the question is that your stock goes up incredibly more when you’re here at Fuqua. I was a tech entrepreneur in Nigeria, and knowing many businesses
I interacted with on a day to day, and I got into Fuqua. And even in a few months
before I came here, I got like an incredible offer to work for some pre-MBA
experience, and I got paid much higher than I did. And all it was was, you know, I had got into Fuqua, while I was also looking for my internships, I got some very incredible offers. I had some people who were talking to me and said, you know, we
want you to come back here for just a month after your internship and we’ll pay you what you
got paid for the internship. You know, all those offers do come in, and I think speaking to that point, if I do decide to go back to Nigeria or South Africa, or wherever else it is in Africa, I know for a fact that my stock is much higher
than it was when I left. – When you lived–
– Definitely, yeah. – Yeah. I think the gist of what
everyone is saying is like, we want to maximize our time here. – Yes. – You know, maximize it, milk it for all it’s worth, and then
possibly go back, right? Let’s see what else we have. This is an interesting one. “How did you guys approach
the 25 things essay?” (everyone laughing) – Well people maybe can take it first. – Okay. For me, I thought of like
25 words that was just me, and then I was just like
this, this, this, this, and like seriously though,
that’s the way I was, like okay, this is me,
this is me, this is me. And then I was like okay,
now I need to elaborate how this is you, and each word had a story of what makes me me. For me, a lot of it had to do with family, a lot of it had to do
with my past experience, what I hoped for the future, and that makes me tick and who I am. So that’s how I went through
the 25 things about me. But in addition to that is, I came in through the diversity workshop
that happens in November, and during that time they tell you a lot about how you should approach your application process,
what you should think about, and to actually really think about who you are and what you want. And I think that’s the key piece, and that’s how I did
the 25 things about me. – Seems like so long ago,
because I did this in 2017. But I think what helped me is, I found a structure that worked for me, and speaking to a few people, especially like during the GI time after coming in, how different
people approached it is. You know, everyone had
a different structure, whether it was
chronologically from the time that you were born, to where
you are in your career. I placed mine in different brackets, and I looked at it as personal,
social and professional, and tried finding things
that I would put in. Like it was not a one day thing, definitely, it took a couple
of months to actually get 25. I think you do the
first 10 pretty quickly, and then you’re like, I’m not fun anymore. (everyone laughing) You know, and then you have to find another 15 fun facts
that you’re like, oh wow. And you know, slowly by
slowly I used to have, I hope my employer’s not watching, I used to, on my work laptop,
I just had like a sticky note. If anything, if I was
working and I found something that came to mind, I was like, this may be a fun fact, I’d write it down and go add it onto my essay
at a later point in time. But I think, I wrote all your essays pretty quickly, 25 fun facts took a while but we’re here, so I think I’m fine. (everyone laughing) – One thing I really liked
about the Fuqua application is that essay, because I found it was so different from everything, all the other essays that I had seen. And it really showed how much Fuqua cares about diversity, and
I would encourage you to be, you know, don’t be afraid to write something quirky about yourself. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. It doesn’t have to be really,
you know, serious or formal. I know, I think the perspective
for some of us coming, you know, from I think more
conservative backgrounds is, okay, I have to, you know
I can’t say this thing because it’s not about business, like really, anything
that makes you different– – Have fun. – Have fun with it, yeah,
like have fun with it. And during orientation actually, at several intervals we would have, the facilitators would
read out the random facts, and you know, people in the audience would have to, you know, put their hand up and say “That’s me” and explain
a little bit about that, and there was so much interesting things. So don’t be afraid to really dig deep and write things that are very unique, you know, and creative. – On that note though, be honest, and I think I should approach it thinking of like, I want to be different. Be honest, just be you, be honest. Don’t shy away from who
you are, but be honest. Don’t try to create
something that doesn’t exist. – Yeah.
– Yeah, true. – That’s a really good caveat. Oh gosh, okay. “How certain is it for
an international student “gaining employment after graduation?” – Segun, do you want to start? – Okay, let me start. How certain, nothing is
promised, is the truth. I think everyone here got,
I can speak to my cohort, everyone here, every single international that I know of, and I’m
caveating it, that I know of, got not just a job but
what I would consider to be a great job, coming from Nigeria, within my view of the world. Recruiting is a very difficult process. You’re not just going against a market that is perceived to be difficult, but you’re also going against
very smart people here. I keep giving this example, I kept looking at the employment stats for tech. I think that it was like
20 something percent of people would go into tech,
so I was like okay, cool. That means in a class of like three, 400, I’m going to be going against like 20 to 30% of that for these tech roles. And when one of the companies came over, I was surprised that Jeanine, which is the biggest
hall that we have here, was full to the brim. I got the very last seat, and I was like, oh my goodness, is everyone
recruiting for tech? So the anxiety came, the stress came, and I think that’s what makes the process, one of the things that makes
the process really difficult. But that said, we have the CMC, we have the Second Years. We have a ton of people
who have come through the Fuqua system and are now alumnis and are out there
willing and able to help. I had an interview just yesterday, or the day before, and believe it or not, someone sent an email from here when he learnt about it, and I had people over there like waiting
to provide Fuqua people, waiting to provide a support system to say hey, this is what to expect. This is what you should look out for. And with that, the process, even though it was super stressful,
nothing’s going to change that, it becomes much easier,
and I think everyone comes up way, way better. I think everyone comes out with a job. But when you’re going
through that process, it just does not feel that way. – Yeah. – I think also having gone through, I’ll echo Segun’s comments. It’s a really tough process in that you’re not exposed to it
before business school. I think everyone out of undergrad went through a different
recruiting process, but at this level, you
know, you’re with a caliber of people that is quite high. But one of the things that I loved is that supportive ambition, and when you have that going in, I recruit at investment
banking for the summer. I was really close with everyone who we recruited together with, just because it is very tough. It’s a lot of effort
that you have to put in. Everyone is struggling. But you also have that
support system of alumni who are willing to help and pull everyone up into the industry. You have people from different sectors, or different industries,
having also alumni, pulling them in. And it is not assured that
you’ll get an internship, but we are certain that you will get a really good gig if
you put in the effort. It’s all about the effort you put in, and if you get into business school, to be honest, we believe that
you’re already smart enough. Companies already believe that, so it’s just about that extra push that you have to put in, as an individual, to get through the line. – Yeah. – Awesome. We have a question, “I’d like to get “application mentorship
from current students, “can the Business in Africa Club help? “If possible, I’d like
to connect with Segun, “seeing he has similar geographic “and professional backgrounds.” – Sure. (everyone laughing) Sure. One thing that work,
email five Fuqua people, you’ll get responses from four. The fifth person will probably be a procrastinator like myself, that will email you after the fact. But the response rates a very, very high. I don’t know if our email addresses will be put up there, but
if you go to BIA site, or if you go to any of the Fuqua websites, you can reach out and email us, and we’ll be able to respond. – You can also look at, if you are looking for a specific person with a similar background as you and are not sure where to find them, you can also email admissions, and they would be able to
connect you with the people. All right. What is a typical day
like during your MBA? – This is for the First Years. (everyone laughing) – First Years. Yes.
– I recognize that it’s so many different from, I mean, being in First Year and Second Year, because right now being in First Year, you are more into academic
and recruitment as well. So you’re having all these
coffee chats in between your academic schedules,
and then you’re having all these networking events as well. And then you’re supposed to also read all these cases, and do
all these assignments and do all these things. So in a typical day, for me one thing, if there’s one thing business school has taught me is all
about time management. And I feel like I’ve learned that that is the subject, that is not taught, but you really leave the
business school having it. I have never been so much
engrossed with my calender. I think the calender is
the most common app here. You see everybody’s
laptop, before they look at the calender, and the
colorful activities in there. So in a typical day, it’s all about the academic work and your recruitment, but there is a lot of fun as well. And Segun, I really,
my first day in Fuqua, they showed you one of
the Fuqua vision skits, I was like oh, this is so much fun, like a lot of mini movies about Fuqua, and all those things helped to really calm your nerves after
all these heavy seminars. But I think the Second Years have pretty much cool life,
and they seem to be okay, and all the First Years are now really into all this recruitment,
prepping for interview and all those things, yeah. – I think Second Year, Second Year life is different from First Year in that we’re still recruiting as well. Most of the Second Years recruit
again after the internship. So like I’m also personally recruiting, but having gone through the First Year recruitment cycle, you more
or less know what to do, you know how to do it. You’re much more refined
in what you’re doing. In terms of academics, you have a leeway on what classes to pick, rather than being confined to the core classes. You have more flexibility with your time. And you’re also now involved with clubs at a leadership level. So it’s not that we’re just hanging out, there’s other stuff that people are doing, making sure that the clubs are running. Making sure that you’re supporting the First Years in their
recruiting efforts. I’m personally involved with admissions, so doing that on the side as well. So there’s a lot going on still, but you’ve just become, like I can say, I’ve become much better in
terms of managing my time. Knowing what to say yes to
and knowing what to say no to. Yeah. – In the CMC, some of the
CMC classes that we have, they show this curve that
really shows an experience here. – I love that curve. – That curve is like, in a
nutshell, it’s our experience, and it’s basically, it’s like this. It’s like I guess a– – It’s like this, so
you come with high hope. – Then you insights. – You go down, then
you finish it half way. – And then your confidence, right? – A lot of hope, yeah. – And I think this is just like, above the line is like positive, and below the line is very negative. So you start off with
hope, and then you dip into insight, which is
usually very painful, and then you come up into confidence. And I think the Second Years are largely in the confidence area,
whereas for First Years, I think it’s a bit of a
rollercoaster, you know. Sometimes I wake up at night and I’m like, oh my gosh, I’m failing. Sometimes I wake up and I’m like, oh my gosh, I’m the boss. (everyone laughing) So it really depends. On a typical day, like Pierson was saying, it can be really, really packed, but the beauty of it is you realize that you are almost crafting
your own experience, and you have to prioritize, you know? For the first full one,
which is the first term, it was really busy for a lot of people recruiting for consulting, and– – Investment banking. – And investment banking,
so I would come on campus and 60% of the students or more, probably 60 to 80% were
dressed in full suits, and I’m wearing my jeans
and I’m like, oh my gosh, am I doing this wrong?
– What is happening? – Am I doing business school wrong? And I kept having to go, so I would go to the CASE office, or I’d
go to some Second Years and I’d be like, I’m freaking out because I’m not going
to any employer events, but I told myself I
wouldn’t, that’s intentional. And they kind of calmed me down, and they said, no, no,
no, you’re doing it right. Like keep your eye on the ball, right? And sometimes you get swept up into things that you weren’t initially interested in, but because everyone is going there, then you feel compelled to, but having a strong support system around you who will remind you why you’re here, I think is really, really important. Okay, so we’re going to wrap up. I’ll take one more question, and then any parting
advice from the panel. Let’s see. What question can I take? Okay, did you attend the MBA workshop for minority applicants
prior to attending? Any advice for an attendee
based on your experience? – I’ll take that. I definitely attended, and
that is when I interviewed. I thought it was a very,
very good experience. It was a gateway to see
what it means to be here. Another piece is it tells you what the admission
officers are looking for, and how you should approach
application process. Beyond that, you get a chance to actually connect with student, and
beyond that also alumni, which is very key in
the application process. Somebody said, it’s not
just like submitting an application and just lying back. That really is not how the MBA process is. It’s very hands on. There’s a lot of
networking you have to do. You have to listen, you
have to ask questions, and you have to talk to people, and that workshop definitely gave me that opportunity to do so. – Awesome. All right, so in closing,
what are your parting thoughts and parting advice for
our perspective students? – I’m happy to go first. As much as I think of how difficult it is, and how tasking the work is here, I think where you are
right now writing the GMAT while balancing work and
all your other commitments, seems even now to be the most difficult of the entire process, like
through business school. So I guess what I’m trying to say is it gets easier from this point onwards. So get into Fuqua, get
into business school, and it gets easier, is what I’m saying. And the reason why I think it gets easier, particularly for us here at Fuqua is there’s a strong,
strong support system. I can’t over estimate, I can’t over state how that is true, because I also spoke with a number of people who were like, you know, I wish I had this help. And I know there are a
number of initiatives, BIA in particular is
looking to start to help, you know, get people to
begin to feel that before, you know, coming to Fuqua. So don’t be shy. A lot of us come from
place where it’s culturally inappropriate to like reach out to people and say, hey, I need your help. Hit everyone here up on LinkedIn. If they don’t respond, email me, tell me they’re not responding. (everyone laughing) I will bug the living
daylights out of everyone. But be very proactive,
like being proactive helps a ton, and I think it gets easier. – Okay, so we’re running out of time. I just want, you were going to
say something, one sentence. – I was going to say, have faith. You’ll end up where you need to end up. Take everything in strides,
and have the courage to reach out, ask for help, and listen. – Awesome. – Be authentic in your applications, that’s all we look for. – Let’s know that
everything’s going to be fine, and we are here to support you. – Awesome, I couldn’t
have said it any better. I know there are questions that I haven’t been able to answer, but there are other opportunities. Please reach out to us on LinkedIn, reach out to the admissions team to answer all your questions. Thank you so much, I’ve
really enjoyed this. – Bye.
– All right. – Bye.

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