Meet Duke Fuqua’s MBA Class Of 2019

Lauren Gage 

Duke University, The Fuqua School of Business 

Describe yourself in 15 words or less:  Passionate, confident, competitive, reliable, party-hosting, globe-trotting, yoga-practicing, guacamole-eating, animal-loving, Texan.

Hometown: Dallas, Texas

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have a two-year-old miniature Goldendoodle, Addie, who has traveled with me to over seven states and two countries. We are a therapy dog team and we are looking forward to all of the volunteer “paws-ibilities” here in Durham!

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Michigan – The Ross School of Business (Bachelor of Business Administration)

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

  • Goldman Sachs, Analyst, Bank Loan Operations
  • Goldman Sachs, Associate, Derivative Clearing Operations
  • Goldman Sachs, Associate, Investment Management Division, Alternative Investments and Manager Selection (AIMS)
  • Goldman Sachs, Vice President & Business Unit Manager, Investment Management Division, Alternative Investments and Manager Selection

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment so far was being selected as the Business Unit Manager for the Operational Diligence group within the Alternative Investments and Manager Selection group. This position gave me the opportunity to manage a team in addition to doing my “day job,” partnering with global asset managers to evaluate and improve their businesses.  I have never been busier but also never loved my job as much. I was passionate about the people aspect of the role and learned so much about how to create vision and goals for a team, motivate people, and manage resourcing within the broader organization. During my role as Business Unit Manager, I also had the opportunity to co-lead the diligence process surrounding the acquisition of a boutique fund-of-funds. The process involved overseeing a team of ten performing diligence across 20+ global asset managers. I worked with an amazing mentor and learned so much about the synergies and complexities involved in a merger.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants?  Start early (but not too early) to get your GMAT or GRE done so you can focus on finding a school that is the right cultural fit. Accept your test scores; no single aspect of your application defines you! Finding the right cultural fit takes time and reflection, and in order to identify cultural fit I suggest visiting the schools you are interested in during the application process. While you’re there, ask to meet with alums, speak to current students, and sit in on a class to observe what people say (or don’t say). Try to envision yourself as a student and determine if the culture will challenge you to bring your best to class each day. If visiting isn’t an option, try to connect with alums locally and ask questions about their experiences, likes and dislikes. It seems obvious, but meeting face-to-face with members of the school community is one of the most important aspects to identifying a cultural fit.

What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Apart from the stellar academic and career opportunities that many MBA programs can provide, it was the Fuqua culture and people that really clicked for me. The Team Fuqua culture is more than a phrase… it’s the way people greet you, listen to you, motivate you, support you and connect with you. Each conversation I had during my admissions process with students, alumni, admissions, faculty, financial aid, and tech support helped me to realize what an amazing community Fuqua is. I knew that Fuqua’s culture would support me in a way that will enable me to take risks and really help me to grow personally during my time here and beyond. While the MBA program will only be two years long, my connection to the school will last a lifetime. It was important to me to pick a school that will be a good fit…forever.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school?  As I reflect back on the many reasons I applied to Fuqua almost a year ago, I realize that the common denominator rests on the fact that there is so much more that I want to learn and contribute. Success during my first year will come from the many opportunities at Fuqua to push myself outside of my comfort zone. I envision myself:

  • Developing tools to address the often difficult to discuss but important issues that women face in the workplace. I am excited to be surrounded by so many successful and driven women here at Fuqua!
  • Taking risks to explore new interests. I can’t wait to get involved in the Fuqua OnBoardprogram and give back to the local community, hopefully for a charity supporting women’s health initiatives.
  • Connecting with my classmates from other areas of the world and backgrounds. I have been at school for a week and already met so many amazing new people who I know will be life-long mentors and friends.
  • Participating in a carefully curated selection of Fuqua’s 50+ clubs…specifically the wine club. I really should add some technical knowledge to my innate love of wine, cheers!
  • And last but not least….Developing new professional relationships and meeting new companies in search of my ideal role in management consulting, hopefully for a firm that works with impact investing businesses and asset managers.

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