Meeting future classmates & friends
Last night, Mike and I had our first official meet-up with other newly admitted Duke MBA students and their partners in the New York City area. It was organized by Duke as an evening to network, ask questions, both big and small, to Fuqua alums, and to generally indulge in the excitement of being admitted to the school.
The first few minutes of each conversation were a bit awkward, as you might expect in a room full of people whose worlds would be colliding in just a few short months. “Where are you from?” and “What do you do?” were questions that began most conversations, but that stiffness soon gave way as people picked up on pieces of each other’s stories to make connections to their own interests and experiences. Soon enough, the conversations were flowing just as freely as the beer and wine – no coincidence, I’m sure!
I will admit that I was a bit nervous going into the evening. And as students began talking about their current jobs and titles, I could begin to feel my palms sweat. Could I possibly stand here, nodding my head, and smiling politely with a conversation centered around strategy versus management consulting for the scheduled two hours? Did this make me a terrible future MBA wife for needing to fight that feeling of my eyes glazing over?
Turns out, even MBA students don’t have that much interest in spending hours discussing such things, at least not after a full day of work and in the atmosphere of a bar. Soon we were all discussing our moving plans, where we planned to live, restaurants we wanted to try, trips the students were looking forward to taking, golfing, and how partners were planning to start their job searches. Before I knew it and just as we were getting to know people, the crowd was thinning and the bar had been shut down for over an hour; we had just passed three hours with Mike’s future classmates and our future friends.
On the way out, I smiled at the mile marker sign pointing south to Durham, North Carolina – 423 miles away. How fitting – we were just 4 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days away from our projected moving date. We left feeling reassured, not that we needed to be, that Duke was a perfect fit for Mike, for both of us, for the next two years of our life, which I already feel will pass just as quickly as those three hours.