You can’t say Fuqua hasn’t been busy this year. In August, the school announced that it would be revamping its full-time curriculum. Starting in 2020, the programming will revolve around three central themes: creating common purpose, driving technological transformation, and becoming life-long entrepreneurs. The impetus, says Dean Bill Boulding, is to keep pace with an increasingly demanding, complex, and polarized world.
“There is this real sense of urgency that the world is changing so rapidly that if we want to remain relevant we, too, have to evolve rapidly to make sure we are serving the business community,” Boulding told P&Q in a 2019 interview. “In the last three years, we have seen as much innovation in the business school space as we have seen in the last 21 years. It’s our obligation to look around the corners to see what is going to happen and then be ready for it. We have a great brand and that insulates us to some extent relative to what is happening out there. But we can’t afford one moment of complacency because if we do we will be subject to the same kinds of challenges prevalent in the business school industry.”
These themes have also inspired the faculty to develop three new courses for the core, which cover digital transformation, entrepreneurship, and the purpose of capitalism. In addition, Fuqua is redesigning core courses on global institutions and leadership ethics to better integrate and reinforce the new themes. At the same time, the school will clear space so students can choose more electives in their first year.
This shift is hardly an easy task for the school, though many of the themes dovetail well with the program’s DNA that embraces a supportive and engaged community. “A survey of corporate recruiters says the number one thing employers are looking for is your ability to work with others,” Boulding explains. “So this connects with our historical positioning around Team Fuqua.”
The ‘We is greater than me’ culture has always been a major draw for Fuqua. Here, students work to bring people together, easing their loads and celebrating the triumphs. The greater good takes center stage as students work to create something far bigger and lasting than themselves. It is a culture predicated on intention over indulgence and deed over word.
“My peers at Fuqua are a living example of the notion that if you put a whole team of enthusiastic people together, the possibilities for that team are endless,” says Jyoti Singh, a Fuqua first-year.
Those possibilities increased exponentially in 2019. Next fall, Fuqua will also be rolling out a new one-year MBA program for graduates of its Masters in Management program. As part of the program, MiM grads can even skip the MBA core and jump straight to the electives. This program reflects a change in Fuqua’s approach, one increasingly geared around life-long learning. “An affiliation with us that is not transactional but gives you the opportunity to engage in personal development over your career,” Boulding points out.
At the same time, Fuqua will launch a new degree: Master of Science in Quantitative Management: Business Analytics, with both 19-month and 10-month accelerated versions. What’s more, the program is now beginning to reap the rewards of its Management Science and Technology Management (MSTeM) track. “The 2018 MBA class was the first class that could pursue this track,” explains Russ Morgan, the school’s senior associate dean. “We’ve been delighted to see the way employers responded in hiring these graduates. The combination of understanding technology and data, but also possessing strong leadership skills to lead and manage innovation, is much in demand. In addition, our international students who completed the track and wanted to work in the U.S. after graduation have been delighted to have three years of work eligibility on their student visa because of the STEM designation. This has also been attractive to employers, who have been eager to hire them.”
Still, Fuqua’s fortunes will always rest on its students – and their buy-in of the Team Fuqua mindset. Some call it a mystique, but Morgan boils it down to something far more traditional: DQ – or “Decency Quotient.”
“DQ is what keeps EQ from being used to manipulate others – because DQ means you have someone’s best interest at heart. As Dean Boulding has said, “DQ shows that you’re interested in other people; you’re interested in their success; you’re interested in bringing out their best. Without decency, people won’t trust you. You won’t be credible. You won’t be respected.”