Duke - The Fuqua School of Business

Asif Giga

Class of 2010

Even though I was a business major in undergrad, the MMS courses went to the next level. I learned more in one year than in four years of undergrad because the MMS program is so intensive - it's definitely not a walk in the park.

Family Motivation

My siblings and I are the first generation in my family to go to college. My older sister went to Stanford and my twin brother is at Stanford getting his master's. Our parents are from Nairobi, Kenya, and immigrated to Canada in the '70s. My parents couldn't afford college for themselves, but when I was a kid, I remember my mom and dad taking classes. Now my dad owns a car repair shop, and my mom works as a field manager for a construction company.

I've been to Nairobi twice and it was an enlightening experience to see where my parents grew up. I appreciate their struggles more—they grew up without running water and electricity—and it made me want to work hard so that I can give back to the community and to my extended family still in Nairobi.

Voice of Experience

While working at Ernst & Young I discovered that I didn't like auditing. So I started looking into master's programs at top 10 business schools. I didn't feel ready for an MBA, but I thought the MMS program would be a great fit.

Coming to Fuqua after having a job was a little challenging, because I had to transition back into school mode. But, my work experience also gave me a different lens than most of my classmates, and I could share my experiences with them. I also saw how the course work could be applied in a job. Looking back, a lot of what I learned in the MMS program would have been helpful in my first job at Ernst & Young.

Even though I was a business major in undergrad, the MMS courses went to the next level. I learned more in one year than in four years of undergrad because the MMS program is so intensive—it's definitely not a walk in the park. The course load is very heavy and you have to put in the work to succeed.

Team Spirit

I met with my MMS team a lot, up to four times a week when we had a lot of cases to work on. When we were studying for managerial accounting exams we'd gather in a team room, analyze all the cases together, and throw out all our ideas. We really worked out the problems as a team.

That learning experience was very different from undergrad. I worked in some teams in undergrad, but it was nothing compared to the team structure at Fuqua. I did more networking in one year of the MMS program than I've ever done before, which was enabled by the team dynamic.

It's also different in that everyone works together—we learn together and succeed together. Everyone is really supportive. It's competitive, but it's a family environment—it's a tight network. I talk to my brother who's at Stanford and his experience is completely different—they have a lot less bonding and networking. And that's a big advantage for Fuqua and its programs—that "Team Fuqua" spirit.