Beyond the MBA Classroom: Partners at Duke Fuqua

When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment, but are also making a commitment to a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.

Fuqua Partners is an organization made up of students’ wives, husbands, and/or other significant others who come to Durham while the students complete the MBA program at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Twenty-four percent of the students in Fuqua’s Class of 2012 are married, and according to a first-year student with whom we spoke, an additional estimated 25% are in serious relationships. According to the club’s Web site, partner members can enjoy “social activities, community activities, and events to develop strong relationships between the Partners themselves and the Fuqua community.” A club officer told mbaMission that attendance at events can vary greatly, explaining that “a manicure/pedicure party may only attract 10 people, whereas a barbecue may attract 100.”

One second-year student with a partner told mbaMission, “Fuqua does a really, really good job of integrating everybody,” and another noted, “Everyone’s invited to everything.” One first year we interviewed commented that the programs and the community support provided to partners were “very important” elements in his evaluation of MBA programs, and that “Fuqua had the appeal that [my wife] and many others’ partners were all coming to the area for the first time, and could build a network together, as opposed to trying to contend with trying to join existing cliques.”

Another married first-year student told us, “The key thing here is the strength of the partners’ network. For example, [at] Blue Devils weekend, which is a ‘sell’ weekend for admitted applicants, I signed in, and my wife signed in separately and had her own bag of goodies waiting for her. [Partners] are really interwoven here; as much as possible, they’re invited to many of the events.” He added that at Fuqua, partners “have their own activities—running clubs and book clubs.” Yet another first-year student told mbaMission he felt that Fuqua is “hands-down the best for partners” of all the schools he considered and that this was one of the two primary reasons he applied.

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at Duke Fuqua and 14 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

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