Grad School Progress Report - My time as a Duke CCMBA student

Hey there! I realized that it's been a ridiculously long time since I've written a post. But there's a good reason for that, of course.

For those who don't know, I'm currently in an executive MBA program at Duke University Fuqua School of Business.  I'm doing this program while I work full time. To say that I've been "busy" is a bit of an understatement.  The Duke Cross Continent Program that I'm enrolled in is a bit different from your traditional Executive MBA program: its an 18-month accelerated program designed for working professionals. It allows students to study remotely in a distance learning format, while kicking off each term by traveling to 4 international countries (China, Chile, India, Germany).  During our week-long international residences, we study with Fuqua faculty (who fly from Durham, NC).  Our schedules are jammed packed, consisting of mainly in-classroom learning, along with immersion activities and local corporate visits.  We start as early as 8am, and while class may run as late as 6pm, there are team case studies, homework, club events and social events to be completed after class.  In that short week, we are reunited with our cohort and experience the local customs and business traditions of that region.  When we return home for the remote portion of the course, we continue to study that region's economy and business culture. 

Most people ask me how my "vacation" was after I return back from an international residency, but little do they know really how much work, sleep deprivation, and effort goes into it.  After returning home, CCMBA's try to resume life as normal, squeezing time to watch 2-3 hours of lectures on the weekends, meetings with our team during the week, and finding time to complete numerous team projects, tests, and quizzes.  Personally, during the first couple terms, I've spent about 20-35 hours a week studying for the program, so between working a 40 hour job and juggling school, it's a lot of work. They say that the later half of the program gets better, but we shall see. 

I'm happy to say that I'm halfway through this program already! The last 9 months have gone by so quickly, and has already been such a enriching and transformational experience so far. It's inspiring to go through this program with my cohort, because I have some truly some amazing classmates who make juggling everything look so easy. Yet, never did I think  I would be this challenged academically, professionally, emotionally, socially, financially and mentally.  Doing this program has really pushed me to my limits - it's definitely the most challenging thing I've done in my life. I'm so grateful for the support of those around me: my significant other, family, friends, and of course my employer.  

I have only 9 more months, or 3 more terms, left until I'm done (finishing up in December 2016).  It baffles me how quickly the last 9 months have passed by, and how much stuff my brain has soaked in in such a short amount of time.  I'll write a bit more about lessons learned in a separate post, but I just wanted to leave it at this: even though it may seem like I'm overwhelmed and have taken on too much to handle, I secretly love every aspect about it.  So this is a reminder to me, because sometimes in the midst of stressing out over keeping my work, friends, family and partners happy or trying to pass my classes and stay financially afloat, I forget: