2017 Best MBAs: Erika Hines, Duke University (Fuqua)

Erika Hines

The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University

“Talkative, driven, hard-­‐working, empathic, extroverted introvert, lover of mashed potatoes.”

Age: 26

Hometown: Durham, NC


Fun fact about yourself: I was notoriously noncommittal as a child, taking exactly one lesson each of tap, modern, piano, clarinet, violin and guitar.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.S. Business Administration

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Whirlpool Corporation, Sales Training Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? Bain & Company, Atlanta, GA

Where will you be working after graduation? Bain & Company, Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Authentic Engagement Award (Fall 2016); Black & Latino MBA Organization Co-­‐President (2016-­‐17); Economics Academic Fellow (Fall 2016); Diversity Working Group Co-­‐Lead (2016-­‐17); Duke Interdisciplinary Social Innovators Fellow (Fall 2015)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? It was encouraging my peers to stand in solidarity with communities who do not feel safe in America by co-­‐organizing a “blackout” day to acknowledge that fear. This event sparked the creation of Fuqua Listens -­‐ a forum for the Fuqua community to engage in tough conversations in a productive manner. Starting with police brutality, the forum is evolving to include the 2016 Presidential Campaign and other sometimes-­‐divisive topics of conversation.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? This summer I provided the information my client needed to decide not to pursue a $60B customer segment. The organization had struggled with this decision for several years and within a few short weeks onsite I was able to provide them the competitive intelligence and the internal data analytics needed to make an informed decision.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Ryan McDevitt. As one of ~240 of his core Econ students, Ryan took the time to get to know me and recognize how much I enjoyed his course. He’s consistently checked in on my progress at Fuqua and recognizes me even when I change my hairstyle unexpectedly. He brings current events into the classroom and encourages the use of our personal experiences to cement the information into our minds for the long-­‐run. Both personally and academically he’s the professor that has made the biggest impact on my Fuqua experience.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? Strategy Implementation with Peter Johnson was my favorite course because it was the most challenging course from a leadership standpoint. Peter not only taught frameworks for executing business strategy, but drove home the importance of presenting yourself in a way that evokes confidence in your ability to lead, always being prepared and knowing your audience.

Why did you choose this business school? Essentially, all top tier business schools offer the same in-­‐class education experience, with little variance. For me, ensuring that I learned the lessons that are hard to teach solely in a classroom -­‐ teamwork, humility, and business ethics

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I most enjoyed the freedom to jump into the areas that interested me with few requirements for things that did not. Whether that was in the classroom or through extracurricular activities, I had complete control over my level of involvement. Business school can be customized to almost any aspiration – from serial entrepreneur to general manager to government reformer, business school can be customized to prepare you for any future career.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? Business school is a much better experience for people who are comfortable being uncomfortable and willing to throw themselves into the unknown. The sheer amount of exposure to diversity of all types lends the experience to help those who are comfortable with being one-­‐of-­‐a-­‐kind get more out of the two years.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be yourself. Applicants who try to be the “model applicant” come off as disingenuous and make it harder for the team to advocate on his or her behalf.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I wish I had taken the plunge to study abroad for a longer period of time. I wasn’t willing to be away from my classmates for any duration of the last term, but the experience of living abroad is one that I still have a desire to fulfill.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Many of my classmates have children or spouses they have to be present for every day in addition to their responsibilities at school. Others have suffered great personal loss through the death of a friend or family member during business school. Some met with “failure” during the recruiting process and had to pivot in ways that were unexpected when they made this initial investment. There are countless other barriers that my classmates have dealt with gracefully (injury, divorce, depression to name a few) and each day they show up, ready to learn, eager to help and generally with smiles on their faces. I admire all of my classmates – because regardless of what is going on in their personal lives they find a way to contribute to an environment that makes me want to be in school each day.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I looked at the opportunities it would afford me to make a serious difference both in and out of my organization.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… passionately selling luxury appliances to help people build their dream kitchens.”

What is your ultimate long-­‐term professional goal? I want my professional success to allow me to transition into a change agent for people of color in education. While it is imperative to have people working to change our current system, there’s an opportunity to dismantle the current system in a way that allows equity and excellence for all children in this country.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My parents and Granny Jackie are the three main people responsible for where I am today. My parents worked countless hours to provide for my siblings and I -­‐ often to their own personal detriment. My Granny Jackie made it her job to make sure I was well educated, well informed and fiercely protected. Without all three of them in my life, I would not have many of the opportunities that brought me this far.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I want my peers to remember me as a hard worker who cares deeply about the success of others.

Favorite book: A Taste of Power by Elaine Brown

Favorite movie or television show: Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit

Favorite musical performer: Adele

Favorite vacation spot: Anyplace with a beach, a good book and some chips & queso.

Hobbies? As the product of teachers, reading will always be my favorite pastime, along with athletic training, dancing and spending time with my family.

What made Erika such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?

“It is with great pleasure that I recommend Erika Hines for the “Best & Brightest” MBA students of 2017. I have gotten to know Erika well over the past two years, first as a student in my Managerial Economics class and then as my Academic Fellow for the same course this past fall. That Erika was selected as an Academic Fellow is a testament to her unique talents in and of itself, as it is a prestigious and competitive position awarded to those who have not only excelled in their coursework, but also earned the trust of their professors and peers. Reflecting this, my last two Academic Fellows before Erika, Bering Tsang and Paul Jacobs, were recognized by  Poets  &  Quants for the “Best & Brightest” honor in 2015 and 2016,  respectively.

As an Academic Fellow, Erika’s singular accomplishment was her successful initiative to revamp tutoring for Managerial Economics. The course is notorious among first years for the level of quantitative analysis it requires, and the “poets” in the class invariably panic once they receive their first quiz scores. In previous years, our system for helping these struggling students had been largely ineffective. Recognizing this, Erika took it upon herself to ensure that every student could succeed in the course, regardless of their quant background. To do so, she managed a team of over thirty second-year tutors and held weekly sessions herself to review the material with students in need of extra help. Her level of commitment far surpassed the narrow   scope of her role as Academic Fellow, meeting with students late into the night and leading extra sessions for groups such as BLMBAO. In fact, Erika had such  a  large  impact on the first-year class that she received a standing ovation during the final  review session, a show of gratitude I had never before witnessed in my nearly ten    years teaching MBA courses. More to the point, every single first year passed Managerial Economics this year, a feat that has not been accomplished in recent memory and that certainly would not have been possible without Erika’s tireless efforts.

Although her work as an Academic Fellow is how I know Erika best, it is far from her only – or even most noteworthy – accomplishment at Fuqua. She is so modest and unassuming, I am sure I am aware of just a small portion of what she has done for the school. Her fellow students certainly have a better sense of her contributions, and this past fall they honored her with a “Paired Principles” award for exemplifying Fuqua’s values. They wrote in part:

Erika Hines embodies all six principles, but it’s her authenticity that shines most brightly through her everyday interactions. She genuinely cares about her classmates and goes out of her way to make sure her fellow Fuquans succeed…Erika put in a tremendous effort tutoring FYs and mentoring those interested in consulting careers – and would even give unsolicited pep talks to anyone feeling a bit down about the crush   of Fall I. Erika’s authenticity also extends beyond academics. She worked closely with the MBAA, COLE fellows, and the Diversity Working Group   to organize a demonstration of solidarity during Fuqua Friday and to host Perspectives, a follow-up event for the entire student body to engage in a meaningful dialogue about racial bias. In addition to all of this, Erika somehow made time to be in a Fuqua Vision skit, babysit for fellow Fuquans, chat with prospective students, and meet with Fuqua administrators to affect change. Erika has made a positive impact on the Fuqua community and its culture by bringing her authentic self to the table every day and by pouring herself into the people and projects she is most passionate about.

Having taught thousands of MBA students at top schools such as Fuqua and Kellogg, Erika stands out among all of them for her selfless dedication to her school and the broader community. It is bittersweet that she will be leaving us this spring to pursue    her dream job at Bain. But, in true Team Fuqua fashion, Erika has already agreed to come back next fall to help lead a case discussion for Managerial Economics. Her impact on the school will undoubtedly be felt for years to come.”

Ryan McDevitt

Assistant Professor of Economics:


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