Meet The MBA Class of 2022: Seve Gaskin, Duke University (Fuqua)

Seve Gaskin

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business  / Sanford School of Public Policy (MPP)

Tar-Heel who loves hosting wine soirées, misses traveling and is always too dressed up.” 

Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Fun Fact About Yourself: I studied architecture for my first two years of undergrad. I aspired to design hospitals and long-term care facilities but realized there were more impactful ways to help improve the health care industry.

Undergraduate School and Major: UNC Chapel Hill, Economics & Public Policy

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Optum. Engagement Manager, Advisory Services

The MBA program is renowned for its “Team Fuqua” culture, which is predicated on six paired principles: Authentic Engagement, Supportive Ambition, Collective Diversity, Impactful Stewardship, Loyal Community, and Uncompromising Integrity. Which of these resonates most with you – and what does that principle demand of you as a Fuqua MBA? Supportive Ambition. To me, it means that we must share each other’s failures and successes as a team, whether that be our learning team, section or cohort writ-large.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Fuqua’s Health Sector Management (HSM) program was a significant factor in my decision to enroll at Duke. HSM is a certificate program available to students interested in pursuing a health-related internship or full-time career. It attracts students both with prior experience in health care, as well as students without.

I loved the idea of having a smaller network and group of friends within Fuqua who were interested in health care, to say nothing of the invaluable alumni network and interesting coursework.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Genuinely kind. Everyone is very friendly and willing to create deep and personal connections with each other.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? The Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. As a Margolis Scholar, I am able to engage with Duke’s interdisciplinary network of health care experts in both Durham and Washington, D.C.—experts like Dr. Mark McClellan, a former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and current Senior Advisor to Blackstone. Margolis will help me learn how I can improve the value of health care by merging my public and private-sector experiences and interests as a future health care leader.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I applied to The Advisory Board Company, now part of Optum, twice (during undergrad and a few years later) before they offered me a job after my third application. After joining, my practice leadership nominated me to become an “Emerging Leader” due to my demonstrated leadership potential and high performance on my annual reviews. Ultimately, I was promoted from Sr. Consultant to Manger within the consulting practice before coming to Duke.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Even during my architectural studies in undergrad, I knew I wanted to pursue an MBA (alongside a Master of Architecture) to develop my leadership and quantitative skills. More recently, I have wanted to learn more about various subsectors of the health care industry, such as medical devices, digital health, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. I knew pursuing an MBA at Fuqua would allow me to build on my years of consulting experience, working with health care providers to explore other subsectors.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied Early Action to Fuqua, but Yale SOM and Berkeley Haas were the other two schools I was strongly considering.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? Honestly, I don’t remember! Probably something like, “So, you’re going to cheer for the Blue Devils if you come to Duke, right?”

What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? I’ve been having a lot of 1:1 conversations with second-year and dual-degree students to understand what to expect across summer term, Fall 1, and Fall 2.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I was working with a large health care system in the Midwest during my first project at Advisory Board. I vividly remember the first board meeting I had to co-lead. The conference room was massive and filled with more than 15 C-level executives from across the organization. I felt like an imposter and was nervous about not having extensive experience with operations and finance. The meeting went okay. However, it catalyzed my proclivity to get comfortable being uncomfortable and to dive into challenging and uncomfortable situations, headfirst.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? I love Tesla—and its stock, notwithstanding the 21 percent drop on 9/8.

Anyways, I think b-school students can learn many things from Tesla. For example, it is advantageous to be a first mover. The Tesla Model S was the company’s first mainstream (albeit, at a high price) car that debuted in 2012. Many of the legacy automakers like GM, FCA, Ford, VW Group, etc. are still struggling to match the Model S’s efficiency, range, and technology.

Speaking of technology, Fuqua has launched a new summer term course for the daytime MBA program focused on the Technological Transformation of Business. Tesla is one of our case studies in a few weeks, so I will have more to report after that!

DON’T MISS: Meet Duke Fuqua’s MBA Class of 2022