The Best Business School Campuses

The Fox Center at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business


What are the secrets behind Fuqua and HBS? At Duke, Team Fuqua is defined by a sense of selfness and togetherness. The setup mirrors this mission. While the complex is comprised of several buildings, they are all connected. As a result, students are continuously seeing each other and interacting within a natural flow.  “All of the buildings that we built are contiguous around the main floor and then the different buildings will have some of our offices, whether it is career management or admissions or faculty on the upper floors,” Morgan notes.

The Keller East and Keller West wings are where students will find classrooms and meeting rooms. However, the heart of Fuqua is considered to be the Fox Student Center, which acts as the “living room” for students. A large, naturally lit open space, it is the gathering spot for morning coffee and boasts the dining quarters. It offers areas for holding team meetings and mock interviews as well.

Notably, Fuqua’s expansive dining space has earned a flurry of compliments on campus tours, Morgan shares. “It’s a large enough dining space that everyone can be there together. I think it’s important that both classes of our daytime MBAs can be there, along with faculty and staff, 1 year MMS students, and any of our executive MBA students. When I speak with admitted or prospective students, they almost always comment on how great it is to have a place like that. There’s a palpable sense of energy from everyone being together in one space.”


A Fuqua Friday crowd

Another key to Fuqua’s trademark togetherness is that students don’t have to ever leave that one space, either. “We are very self-contained in a way that students are happy to spend a full day here,” Morgan observes. “MBA programs are very intense. Does a student need to leave our campus is one question that is important to think about. They don’t here. We have space dedicated for all types of needs that go from the classrooms to team rooms to other study rooms. We’ve got changing rooms if you want to go on a run on the trails that surround the golf course that’s right outside here. You can shower afterwards. There is food and coffee — all the things that you might have people leaving campus for. I don’t think you see our students doing that and that binds our culture together stronger in how much time students spend together.”

The Fox Student Center is also ground zero for one of the school’s most hallowed traditions: Fuqua Friday. Every Friday, the Fuqua community gathers for beer and soft drinks — or even a full meal with dessert if they choose. The best part, however, is how liberal Team Fuqua defines community. “Families come in for that,” Morgan beams. “So one of the things I love is seeing the partners and children join and it adds just another dynamic to just the feel of the school that fits with our culture. It’s a very supportive group and that fit goes beyond students, faculty and staff here.”

Fuqua Friday doesn’t just stop with chitchat and hors d’oeuvres, either. “Fuqua Friday is generally our entry way to something else,” Morgan adds. “You might have Fuqua Idol, a talent show competition that follows Fuqua Friday. Or, there’s Fuqua Vision, where our students put together video skits each term. Most Fridays are themed in a way where we’ll get together for Fuqua Friday and then from there students might do something off campus or on campus or even go to a basketball game. We’re very proximate to the athletic complex here.”


Koi pond at HBS’ Class of 1959 Chapel

For O’Brien, the HBS difference is best revealed through a tour. That normally begins with the Spangler Center, which he describes as the only student life center exclusively for MBA students. It includes a dining facility, meeting rooms, study spaces, post office, and the COOP campus store. The Center also includes a chunk of HBS’ acclaimed Schwartz Art Collection (which is spread across the HBS campus). Started in 1995, the art often personifies the social and personal themes that students are wrestling with in their cases. “The benefactor is Gerald Schwartz,” O’Brien points out. “He goes and buys unique pieces that aren’t the Renoir, Picasso or van Goh. It is young, up-and-coming artists and what-not. That’s what makes it so neat. There is a lot of stuff that you just don’t expect. Some leave you scratching your head.  Some are large in size and use different media. It’s art that makes you think.”

Across from the green quad space in front of Spangler is Aldrich Hall. These are the main classrooms. “When I do my tours,” O’Brien explains, “I say it is the heart of the place. This is the place where people come and have the truly transformational experience at HBS, in the room with the faculty with their other students in their section. It is a case teaching room, so it is set up exactly for that where the participants in the room teach each other.”

O’Brien also touts other landmarks that define Harvard Business School. One is the Baker Library (also known as the Bloomberg Center), which he describes as the “big iconic building in the center of campus hat people feel like is Harvard in what they see in their minds and in the movies.” Like Baker, the nearby residence halls were built in the 1920s and have been preserved with the same Neo-Georgian style that they had when they were first constructed. However, O’Brien notes that these halls include all the amenities of modern living, making them “a nice juxtaposition of old and new.”  In addition, he cites Shad Hall, an athletic complex devoted exclusively to the HBS community. For faith-minded students, the campus features the Class of 1959 Chapel, a sculptural marvel replete with an indoor garden, Koi pond, and a non-denominational contemplative space.