Meet Duke Fuqua’s MBA Class of 2018


Lloyd Grant Patterson

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Love people. Serving others. A bigger mission than making money.

Hometown: Pensacola, Florida

Fun Fact About Yourself: During school, I was a competitive eater, which culminated in me winning the famed Canonball Run. I ate more pies than thirty of my classmates and then ran up and down several flights of stairs. Since getting married, I’m now limited to a one-pie-a-day diet.

Undergraduate School and Major: US Naval Academy, Systems Engineering

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

F/A-18 Pilot / TOPGUN graduate

-Squadron training and standardization officer

-Aircraft division officer

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In the months leading up to my recent deployment, our squadron was focused on the ongoing war in Afghanistan. A few weeks prior to departing, we had to rapidly shift our mission to stopping ISIS. My job was designing that training plan and preparing our pilots for new tactics and weapons.

I’m sure any veteran would struggle with listing deployment as an accomplishment. It’s our job.  And returning home isn’t something that deserves a trophy. But I’m proud of my squadron’s accomplishments during our cruise, and I’m honored to have served a small part.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Start getting ready for business school at least a year prior to your application. Based on my deployment cycle, I took the GMAT a full two years prior to my application— but I’d say for most people a year will work. There are a lot of resources available to get ready for the test, so take advantage of free resources, such as Khan Academy.

As a veteran, my hurdle was finding a story to tell. I’ve always defined my career as a Navy pilot, and I spoke the language of the military. Sometimes I catch myself overusing jargon and assuming everyone has a basic understanding of military culture. My story required some massaging to fit into a typical b-school application to answer “what do you want to be when you grow up” and how an MBA will get you there. You’ll need to answer that prior to hunting for your school.

Once you have your GMAT score and a story, find that school that’s right for you. The rankings are important— but spend some time (and money) visiting programs to get a better sense of the culture. Don’t be afraid to reach out to graduates. Everyone I’ve spoken to has been deeply honest about the value of his or her MBA.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? Fuqua’s team-based program appealed to me as someone who spent most of his career in a squadron. The professors are passionate about adding value to the MBA candidates, and there isn’t the typical wall that divides students and teachers — everything seems to be collaborative. Fuqua is strongly supportive of veterans and offers unlimited spots in the Yellow Ribbon program.

The kicker for me was Durham. This area is the epitome of southern hospitality, North Carolinian BBQ and college basketball. After only being here for a few weeks, I can truly say that I love it.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life?  I’d love to work as an operations consultant. I’m fascinated by global problems, and the consulting firms’ processes of solving them.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program?  Low ego, high energy. I hope my classmates think I made both Fuqua and our team a better place.

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