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These were for 2004 through 2007, but enough applies such that I'm leaving it here for now.

Classes Needed - Distance Learning

Here are tidbits if information that I've gathered about classes. Send more and I'll include it here.

First, check out the Fuqua Admissions recommended distance courses because they have been recommended by Fuqua faculty. DON'T MISS THE FOOTNOTE (a) THAT INDICATES CALCULUS EQUIVALENCE! (Thanks Stephanie and Raz) This includes the schools: UCLA, NC State Universities, University of Phoenix, Open Learning Agency British Columbia Open University, and the University of Tennessee Distance Education and Independent Study.

Other links include:

Miscellaneous Tips

International Students

Please help me collect information that will help international students. If I collect enough, I will create a separate page. For now, here's a link that may help:

Temporary Medical Insurance

Our medical insurance will not be available after Mid July, so, we will have temporary medical insurance coverage until Duke's medical insurance is available (August 17). Here is the web site given to us by Fuqua administration: NOTE: You must wait until your beginning date is within 30 days.

Mobile Phones

Many mobile phone carriers have trouble with reception at Fuqua. Verizon does very well and seems to be the most common choice at Fuqua. So I recommend Verizon. You will have good reception, and calls to most classmates will be free (i.e. it will not count against your allotted minutes).

School Preparation - Notes from Current Students

[There are many textbooks that cover the] math material. One good one is Haeussler et al, Introductory Mathematical Analysis for Business, Economics, & the Life and Social Sciences. Prentice-Hall (10th ed.)

Term 1: The MicroEcon one is, in fact, the one that is used for the MicroEcon course. It is worth skimming through... I actually used the text quite a bit in the class.

For Stats, I have the textbook, but it was pretty much useless... actually most of us ended up purchasing another textbook or "The Cartoon Guide to Statistics" which was more entertaining and more educational. If you want to take the placement exam, prep probability, conditional probability and multiple regression... If you're just prepping for the class, review the first two (or take math camp where they hit the basics!)

Managerial Effectiveness doesn't have a text and it's not a heavy class.

Term 2: Finance: We used the Brealy and Meyers text, which is also used for Corporate Finance (and more heavily used there. This class is intense, but prepping with a textbook won't help much--it's a matter of keeping up with problem sets in class and getting a tutor if you need help (2nd year tutors are readily available and free...)

Accounting: Don't remember the text we used for Financial Accounting. If I were prepping for this, I'd focus on the basics and use an undergrad textbook.

Marketing: Had the textbook... good for the class, but no need to prep...

Don't spend too much time prepping... math camp will take care of most things... I'd focus on Stats for Term 1 prep and Accounting for term 2.

(Thanks Elyse) See Original Post

Links for School Preparation / Tutorials Long URL Tutorial for Accounting / Bookkeeping
MIT's Open Courseware Courses from MIT - some are powerpoint - some are over my head

Book Bag (Backpack)

Thanks to Luke H. for sharing his book bag research with me last year.
Thanks also to Cory G. for his thoughts.

For me, a good book bag (or backpack) was essential (there's enough walking with books such that a comfortable one makes a big difference over the briefcases that I already own). Choosing your book bag is especially an issue if you have the 15 inch machine because not all fit those very well.

Attributes to Consider

  • Padded straps backed up with strong synthetic material
  • Padded back so oddly shaped contents won't jab into your back
  • Accessible side pockets for quick access while walking (less necessary, but nice)
  • Consider loops on the straps if you want to hang a water bottle, PDA, phone, etc.
  • Internal pocket for notebook computer (tall enough to cover your computer)
  • Internal pocket for computer AC adaptor
  • Consider a pocket with a reinforced headphone cord hole to hold an MP3 player
  • Some may want a waist strap. I found it to be a nuisance and the walking isn't THAT far.
  • Consider a water bottle pocket (if you do not use a strap loop for that)

What I Carry

I carry one day's worth of books and a few other things. While I use my locker periodically, if I have everything I need in my book bag, I can take advantage of those good hallway conversations without the worry of being late.  So I generally carry at least two classes worth of material, and have carried material for three classes. That includes:

  • Two 1.5 inch binders (one for each class - sometimes a third)
  • A notepad (I buy a notebook that has 8.5 x 11 paper, pre-punched for binders with fine perforations so I can pull it out easily - bought at Office Depot)
  • Sometimes one textbook, rarely I might include a second textbook
  • Some folders for extra curricular activities (such as Duke for LIFE, clubs, CMC Web Design sheets, the TAC, FuquaVision ideas, etc.)
  • I also like to carry some snacks and a water bottle in my bag because the tight scheduling at Fuqua can catch you off guard and I don't do well on a totally empty stomach. 

SIZE: I found that a larger bookbag was essential for me.  I use a Targus.  BUT BE WARNED, it's difficult to fit in the locker.  I sometimes had to unload some of the books, then fight with it to stuff it in.  It was worth it to me, but it may not be worth it to some others.  (Example: you may want to do this when you are going to a symposium, or a company meeting - called a SIP - and you don't want to have a book bag with you.) My bag was rarely packed tightly, but sometimes it was (sometimes I wanted running clothes, a change for a FuquaVision skit, etc.). 

BINDERS: The binders that I buy for carrying are the flexible cheap type.  I want to replace them for permanent archiving, but the flexible ones are much nicer for fitting in the book bag.  I buy 1" and 1.5" flexible plastic binders and use the smallest possible.  Course Pack size will determine how big of a binder you'll need (remember, you'll ad notes and assignments)

COMPUTER: I carry my computer every day (many do not - you can survive quite well without it).  I never know when it would be useful so I try to keep it fully charged.  I also carry my power cord, but rarely had to use it except for some longer team meetings.  Fuqua is considering offering power cord checkouts at the library so you may be able to leave it behind and only borrow when needed.

SOURCE and SPECIFIC BAG: I looked for the specific model name on the website from which I bought mine, but I couldn't find it exactly.  The closest that I saw is called the Pulse (Here's a Link). This one is black (mine is gray) and looks like it might be an improvement over my model (I've been very happy with mine). There is another here that also seemed acceptable from the photo, but had one fewer pocket than mine. For me, that would be less convenient (but might fit more easily in a locker). 

TERM 1 MATERIAL THICKNESSES: I'll list the thicknesses in inches since that's how notebooks and back packs here are measured. CP = Course Pack; Notes = my class notes and assignments
Managerial Effectiveness (I used a 1.5 inch notebook that was overfull): CP: 1.5; Notes: 0.7
Statistics (I used a 1.5 inch notebook that was only a little overfull): CP: 1.3; Notes: 0.6
Managerial Economics (Micro) (I used a 1 inch - a little overfull): CP: 0.75 ; Notes: 0.5
Computer Skills (I used a 1 inch that was fine): CP: 0.6; Notes: 0.4

Books For Class (Requirements and Options)

Note: Many go without text books. Unfortunately, there is so much reading assigned that many cannot get it all done. So many just make up their mind in advance that they will not do the textbook reading. (This is very much against my nature, but unfortunately, I had little time to read the textbook myself.) I've bought the text books (so far) but now I see how optional they are. You can check out text books in the library (but cannot take them home). So the rare assignments that come from the books can be done without needing to own the book.

For tax free weekend, the books that the bookstore have are all exempt except the $125 Micro book because it's over $100.

Places To Buy Textbooks

Let me know of other sources that you find.

Books To Read (recreation)

Books that have been recommended to me

  • The Corporate Mystic by Gay Hendricks. "This book crystallized my vision of true leadership." (Thanks Cam)
  • Ten Day MBA by Steven Silbiger (Thanks Rohith)
  • The Life of Pi (Thanks Elyse)

Books that I recommend

These are mostly recreational

  • Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand - These are novels but are firmly entrenched in the philosopher Ayn Rand's concepts about business and social life. I found it absolutely fascinating and thought provoking. She uses language a bit differently that many would and often doesn't bother to explain, so be ready for some strange sounding thoughts (e.g. selfishness is good - Mark's interpretation: there is a good kind of selfishness and THAT is what's good).
  • How Would You Move Mount Fuji by William Poundstone - about interviews, interview mindsets and interview puzzles
  • The Road Less Travelled - about honesty, personal integrity, interpersonal relationships, etc.
  • The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People - about organization, integrity, life goals, etc.


Simple calculators will work. Financial functions will not be needed (in either year unless some elective that I did not take required it). However, I will focus on financial calculators here for those who want to buy (I'm using a scientific calculator that I already had, and it's been more than sufficient). Information was taken from postings, recommendations from students, and where indicated, my own opinions.

Please send any thoughts or makes/models that you recommend. I'd like to include more here. There certainly are many good choices that are not listed below.

About Reverse Polish Notation vs. Algebraic

This section is only for those who are interested in HP's line of RPN calculators so skip it if you have no interest in those.

RPN - or Reverse Polish Notation is simply a different way of doing math, and it's handy once you are accustomed to it. HP is known for this type of calculator and they make good calculators, so I included this description. It utilizes what is called a stack. It will take about 20 minutes of use to become adequately accustomed to it. I personally recommend it, but you will curse me for the first 20 minutes. :-) (There are calculators listed below that will operate in either mode, possibly easing the transition.)

Example: To do (3 + 2) * 5, then save the 25 to add to the result of another calculation:

  • With an algebraic calculator you will enter the following: 3 + 2 = * 5 = and see the answer. You then must push the appropriate keys to store this number (25 in our example) into memory, then when you are finished with the second calculation, you must push +, then the appropriate buttons to recall the number, then = for your final figure.
  • With an RPN calculator, you will enter the following: 3 <enter> 2 + 5 * and see the answer. You do not have to store the number (25). You just do your next calculation; the 25 is automatically "pushed" onto the stack. When you're finished with the second calculation, you simply push + for the final figure.

As the above shows, the advantage of RPN is that you can go on with other calculations and the number you calculated before (25 in our example) is in the stack and ready for use without fooling with recall buttons. Once you are accustomed to it, it's very fast and feels natural. Is it worth "getting used to it?" Maybe not. But I'm already used to it and like it.

Initials / Acronyms / Terms

Initial / Acronym / Term Definition
Algebraic A "normal" way of using operators (+, -, *, /, etc.). Also called infix notation. SEE RPN
HP Hewlett-Packard

Reverse Polish Notation (also called postfix notation) - this is a different way of entering a mathematical expression - some calculators have both RPN and infix notation.

TI Texas Instruments

Models that have been recommended

  • HP 10BII
  • HP 12C (RPN only)
  • HP 12C Platinum (both RPN and algebraic)
  • HP 17B (not sure if this is RPN only)
  • HP 17BII+ (both RPN and algebraic)
  • TI-BA II Plus

See Calculator Links in the Links table.

See My Fuqua Computing Links

Miscellaneous Links

Link (URL)
Hewlett Packard (HP) Calculators Business Calculators
Durham Convention & Visitors' Bureau Web Site Has much Durham Info
Temporary Medical Insurance by Hill Chesson & Woody Temporary Medical Insurance
Duke's Dining page Duke Dining and More
Durham Convention & Visitors' Bureau Durham Places To Eat  


Contact Info© copyright - Mark W. Rice