Two years ago, I was studying for my GMAT, and trying to decide which executive MBA programs to apply to.  Ultimately, I ended up choosing Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.  I finished with my coursework in December, and am now working towards finishing my concentration.

The impact of the Duke MBA on my life has been, in a word, profound.

The Impact of the Duke MBA on my Thinking and Outlook Towards Life

  • Leadership
  • Business Principles
  • Time Management
  • Getting Things Done
  • Eye Opening


I’ve always been inclined towards leadership in all aspects of my life.  Fuqua has a very strong focus on leadership, and on accepting people into the program who are and want to be leaders of consequence.  In fact, this is one of their guiding principles.

Business Principles

I have always been curious about why executives at corporations make particular decisions that seem to have absolutely no basis in rational behavior to the casual observer.  Now I understand why certain decisions are made.  It has also occasionally been entertaining to get first-hand real-life exposure and demonstrations of these same concepts in my current career.  I can honestly say that after running a simulation in Management OPS, I have seen a real-life bullwhip happening, and the unintended over-ordering of systems, and piles of hardware that it generated.  I also know how to prevent that from happening again in the future.

Time Management

Time is always at a premium in my life.  Studying for 15-25 hours per week while working full time with four kids certainly had a very real impact on my time management skills.  I could probably write a book on all of the tips and tricks that I’ve learned.

Getting Things Done

The most important things in life get done.  The rest don’t.  This is a corollary to the time-management discussion, but it is about priorities.  I found that the most important things in life got done while I was in school.  The things that were not as important simply did not happen.

Eye Opener

The Duke MBA opened my eyes to other cultures, and to other businesses, and other way of doing business.  It helped me to understand that not everyone is like me, and that is okay.  It is also okay – great even- to be me, with my views on the world, the workplace, and the environment.

I could probably go on for days about the impact of the Duke MBA on every aspect of my life, but I think you get the idea.

What about you?  What have you done, that has an impact on your life?  Have you pursued an MBA, and what did you learn?

Next – My Amazing MBA Experience at Duke University


  1. Vignesh on January 17, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    What is the meaning of impact

  2. Vignesh on January 17, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    What is the meaning of impact?

  3. rajarshi ray on January 17, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    i believe all the above five elements can be learnt without duke / any other mba. and i must state that i mean no disrespect to your achievement. but the question is can we really learn such a practical ( learning-on-the-job ) subject like management in two years? that too studying lots of theory?? i think one can be a good manager and more if he follows the best practices of mr tata.

    • Nithin on January 17, 2013 at 1:03 PM


      The author hasn’t said that she has learnt about everything in management in two years. She has just said that she learnt quite a lot about it ! B-schools don’t just cover theory, I am sure that a good B-school would give you chances to practice it as well, thru the simulations talked about, and maybe internships. About learning from Ratan Tata, thats another reason why people go to B-schools ! To learn the best practices of great managers like Ratan Tata.

  4. Harsh on January 17, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    How do you plan to manage the “unintended over-ordering of systems”?

    • Haley Gray on January 18, 2013 at 9:17 PM

      The previous poster is correct- I did not learn everything I know about management from B-School. Nor did I intend to give that impression. Rather what I did do while I was there was to learn a lot more about management, and business in general. Think of it in terms of filling holes. I was able to use my time in school to target areas where I knew less and learn more about those things. I also added significantly to my Repertoire of tools for business, leadership, and management.
      Please note that management and leadership should not be considered as interchangeable, as they are two distinct concepts. You can have leadership without being a manager, and you can be a manager without being a leader. It is not unusual to see both characteristics at the same time, but they are distinct from one another.
      As to the problem of the over-ordered systems, we were able to share them with other teams, and return the extras to reduce our inventory. We were also able to use a number of components in interesting ways to deal with other hardware shortages we were experiencing.

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