Meet Duke Fuqua’s MBA Class of 2018


Kevin Kumlien

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less:  Dad to 3 beautiful girls, best friends with my wife, member of the Fuqua Family.

Hometown: Bozeman, MT

Fun Fact about Yourself: Upon receiving my letter of acceptance into West Point, my Dad told a family friend who mentioned it to Coach Mike Krzyzewski, and Coach K sent me a personal congratulatory e-mail. Not knowing what my dad had done, I never read the email and deleted it thinking that it was a virus.

Undergraduate School and Major: West Point – United States Military Academy, Bachelor of Science – Management, 2009.

American Military University, Masters of Science – Sports Management, 2012.

Employers and Job Titles since Graduation:

2009 – Present: United States Army – Active Duty Officer

Athletic Intern – West Point, NY

Executive Officer – Fort Hood, TX

Budget Advisor, Iraqi Army Aviation Command – Baghdad, Iraq

Budget Officer – Fort Hood, TX

Company Commander – Billings, MT

Finance & Accounting Officer – Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far? The reason I love the Army so much is that our profession is all about leading people and taking care of soldiers. What I consider the biggest accomplishment in my career thus far actually has nothing to with finance or budgets, rather it has everything to do with human interaction and developing meaningful relationships. God put me in the right place at the right time to be able to intervene with a fellow soldier and to help talk him down from potentially taking his life. By far, the most rewarding letter I have ever received was the one that came from him a year later thanking me for helping him to still be there for his wife and kids.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business applicants? If you don’t already have one, find a mentor, a professional business coach, or a trusted friend that is willing to provide you consistent advice and feedback throughout the entire MBA application process. It is so helpful to have one person who is willing to put in the time to provide consistent feedback. The best piece of application advice that I received from my mentor, Doug Crandall, was to “be authentic and tell my story.”  Don’t focus on what you think the business school program wants to hear, focus on what you want to tell them. If they don’t like who you are, then you will most likely not enjoy your time there anyways. The key to a solid application packet is doing the self-reflection necessary to determine your own personal core values. Then, you have to ensure that these values are woven together throughout the entire application process to include the resume, essays, and interview. In summary, be consistent, be authentic, and tell your story.

What led you to choose this program for your full time MBA? The people that I am truly closest to in life would never really even consider asking me the question of why did I choose the Duke Fuqua School of Business. They understand my passion for academics and athletics and my appreciation that Duke puts an equally strong emphasis on both. In addition to Fuqua being a prestigious academic institution and a top tier business school, Duke also passed my business school “beyond the numbers” checklist.  Great location surrounded by a community that I would want to raise my family in, check. Elite college athletic program with one of the best college basketball coaches in the history of the game who also happens to be a West Point alumni, check.  A school that shares my same values of integrity and authenticity and that places great importance on families and teamwork, check (the Fuqua Family is more than just a catch phrase, it is very real). When you add together an unreal local food and craft brewery scene, pristine golf courses, outdoor trails for biking and hiking, national championship caliber sports teams, and a business school with a world class education focused on creating leaders with a global impact, I only had three words to say when deciding on my MBA program…Let’s Go Duke.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I am a little different from the average MBA candidate in the sense that I already know what my follow on job to Fuqua will be. I am an Active Duty Captain in the U.S. Army and I am attending Duke as a part of the Army’s Advanced Civil Schooling (ACS) program where I will serve for three years as an instructor in the Behavioral Sciences and Leadership department at West Point teaching business management classes and helping to shape and mentor future officers in the United States Army. Getting selected to pursue my MBA at Duke and to teach at West Point was my 5-10 year dream job when I first laid out my goals and potential career path as a brand new 2nd Lieutenant in the Army back in 2009.

However, when my time in service to my country is complete, my dream job is to be involved in college athletics and to work my way up to being an athletic director. I absolutely love sports and competition, and the opportunity to have a career that involves utilizing business school principles to manage an athletic department as well as developing young men and women and helping them to pursue their academic and athletic goals is something that would be very fulfilling for me. That is one of the main reasons I came to Duke. I have a great respect for Coach K and the entire Duke Athletics program and I look forward to taking some of the principles that have made the Blue Devils so successful and implementing them in my future career.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program?  I want my business school peers to say that I was not afraid to push myself past my comfort zone, that I tried new things that I failed at but learned from, and that I grew into a better all-around leader, communicator and teammate.  I also want my family to see that throughout the entire process I improved my time management skills and was able to maintain a healthy balance of work and family life and that I always made the time to keep them involved and at the forefront of my life. I am confident that the Duke Fuqua School of Business will give me the tools to accomplish both of these goals and more.

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