Meet Duke Fuqua’s MBA Class Of 2019

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business

FUQUA IS FOR FOODIES…AND BASKETBALL CRAZIES

Naturally, MBA applicants associate Team Fuqua with Duke’s business school. That is really one facet of the program. It also ranks among the top programs in marketing and management. Several first years also cited the program’s world class Health Sector Management (HSM) concentration, which prepares students to lead in the healthcare sector, which accounts for nearly 20% of American GDP. Coincidently, about one in five Fuqua MBAs earn the health sector certificate. Students get Wednesdays off class and enjoy six-week academic terms instead of quarters or semesters, so there is always something new and interesting to pursue. Such variety also frees up students to pursue their passions before internships as well.

Of course, there is Durham, a tobacco warehouser turned college town with a divine food scene that boasts renowned Argentine steaks, Cuban sandwiches, German bakeries, and American burgers. The weather runs 50 in the winter and 88 in the summer, making it a perfect destination for golf, hiking, and swimming. Oh, and the Research Triangle Park, a haven for Fortune 500 firms and tech startups alike, is just 20 minutes south on I-85, too.

Such perks-—along with the omnipresent force of Duke basketball-—have made Fuqua a go-to destination for MBAs. Beyond that, Dean Boulding attributes the school’s success to who it chooses as students and how it develops them once they arrive.

Dean William Boulding

“What I would say sets us apart,” he says, “is that we are very good at identifying and selecting the kinds of students who really care about bringing out the best from the people around them. We attract people who understand that people are really looking for leadership today. There is this deficit of leadership and we are attracting people who want to make up for that deficit. You have to understand how to connect with people effectively and value the differences that everyone brings to any kind of engagement.”

TEAM FUQUA BUILT ON A MIX OF COLLECTIVE DIVERSITY AND SUPPORTIVE AMBITION

For Boulding, the core of leadership is bringing people together, knowing “a great team will always beat a great individual.” Such sentiments have made for moving stories for time eternal, producing narratives where a ragtag bunch will find a way to come together and beat the odds. In reality, such stories served as the program’s foundation long before it began to articulate the values that characterize Team Fuqua, says Boulding.

“People explain Team Fuqua by telling stories. As we compiled these stories, we began to learn that there are common elements to them and we can summarize what drives the behavior of Team Fuqua. It is a way of working. It is the instinct to bring out the best of the people around you and to bring them together to a common goal. It is an action-oriented activity.”

Boulding uses “collective diversity” as an example of a paired principle where two seemingly divergent instincts come together to forge something more powerful and lasting. “We understand that we are more interesting and can accomplish more collectively than we can as individuals and we can do things that are more interesting if people are different. So we celebrate differences and don’t fear them. We drive home that message constantly. Difference is something to savor and value not something to be afraid of and made angry about.”

The same is true of another Fuqua paired principle: supportive ambition. “So much of the black eye we see with business is the perception that people in business are greedy and selfish and willing to engage in illegal acts,” Boulding explains. “Supportive ambition is about making the people around you better and more successful. That is at the core of being a great leader. It’s not that we lack ambition. The ambition is all about making other people better and putting them in the spotlight and that is critically important. When people feel like you have their interests at heart, they are much more willing to engage and follow their passion and unlock the energy they bring.”

Cameron Crazies during basketball season.

I WANT TO PROVE THEM RIGHT

Such energy is contagious. It builds the confidence needed for team players to take risks and embrace new approaches, the goal of any MBA program. That’s particularly true at a student-run program like Fuqua, Looking ahead to spring—-as the Class of 2019 fans out to start their internships or grow their startups—each member defines success in the first year a different way. For Dr. Pepper, the goal is to gain mastery over everything that terrifies him now. “Success to me is no longer feeling like financial statements, accounting, and strategy are foreign languages,” he states. “I want to feel like I have the skill set to succeed no matter which area I ultimately end up in.”

Like a true Fuquan, McGee, hopes to land an internship at a tech firm like Google, which “sticks to its core mission and values despite profit temptations, and constantly strives to make products and invest in causes that improve people’s lives.” In contrast, Joanna Guy, a former Miss Maryland who once performed on live television for 10 million people, dreams of “solidifying my place” in the Team Fuqua community…along with heading up the Association of Women in Business (AWIB), the program’s largest student-run organization. Gage, however, has already called dibs on the Wine Club. “I really should add some technical knowledge to my innate love of wine, cheers!”

For Freakley, who fought for freedom in the heart of Taliban country, the next year is all about proving that the people who gave him a shot were right. “I was not an ideal MBA candidate,” he admits. “If we just went by hard numbers, I probably would not be at Fuqua.  Granted, I have some hard-learned leadership and decision-making skills, but no technical know-how to back it up. At year’s end, I’d like to say that I stepped out of my comfort zone academically and socially, balanced life at home, and validated the admissions committee’s decision.”

To learn about these students and find their advice for getting into your target school, click on the names below.

DON’T MISS: THE PIONEERING MBAs OF THE CLASS OF 2019 or MEET DUKE FUQUA’S MEEK CLASS OF 2018

NameHometownUndergradEmployer
 Winny Arindrani  Jakarta, Indonesia University of Indonesia DBS Bank Singapore
 Sylvia Choi Hong Kong, China University of Hong Kong Kurt Salmon
 Anuj Chourey Indore, India NIT Nagpur, India Indian Oil Corporation
 James Couch Chicago IL Howard University Eli Lilly and Company
 James Freakley Woodstock, VA U.S. Military Academy U.S. Army
 Lauren Gage Dallas, TX University of Michigan Goldman Sachs
 Joanna Guy Swanton, Maryland Cornell University Premier Rides
 Megan McGee Olympia, WA USC U.S. Army
 Griffin Mueller Durham, NC Stanford University Cisco Systems
 Matthew Pepper Bloomfield Hills, MI Duke University Jeffers, Mann & Artman Pediatrics
 Chase Ulicny La Habra, CA BYU Avery Dennison Corporation
 Julio Zambrano San Clemente, CA U.C.-Irvine Hammond Group, Inc