2021 Best & Brightest MBAs: Mike Treiser, Duke University (Fuqua)

Mike Treiser

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

“ENFJ. Animal person. Incurable chatterbox. Mountain life enthusiast. Democracy advocate. Humbled by my surroundings, always.”

Hometown: Naples, Florida

Fun fact about yourself: While at Deloitte Consulting, I took a sabbatical from client work (thank you, Deloitte!) to participate in a Florida-to-California bike ride to raise awareness for affordable housing. My road name was “Dad,” earned for my habit of checking in on teammates, for always being prepared with snacks and first-aid gear, and for the types of jokes I tell.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Florida, B.S. in Economics

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Qualtrics – Customer Success Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Search Fund Accelerator – Growth Strategy MBA Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? The Alexander Group – Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Co-President, MBA Association – Served as one of two co-presidents of Fuqua’s student government, overseeing an eleven-member executive cabinet, 64 student organizations, and the student fee budget to represent the roughly 800 Daytime students both internally and externally, delivering on strategic initiatives, and driving engagement through programming.
  • Career Committee, Fuqua’s Gender Equity Working Group – Helped design and launch annual, community-wide research effort to track and drive more inclusivity in Fuqua’s career recruitment across industry verticals.
  • Admissions Representative and Interview Coordinator – Led a team of 25 to deliver over 300 master’s program interviews; selected to serve as school ambassador and host to hundreds of prospective applicants for phone chats, campus tours, class visits, and interview days.
  • Section Social Co-Chair – Initiated 12 social and networking-oriented programming initiatives to cement relationships across our 70-member section by appealing to all preferences (reached 100% participation); I still derive some of my greatest MBA joy when section mates tell me how our programming made a lasting impact on their Fuqua experience.
  • Professional Trip Co-Lead and First-Year Cabinet, Duke Management Consulting Club – Coordinated a 35-member group of first-year consulting peers for a recruiting trip to Washington, DC; representing Fuqua to firm recruiters, hosting admissions and alumni association events, and organizing experiences (including a White House tour!) to showcase life in DC for attendees.
  • Winter Ski Trip Lead and First-Year Cabinet, Ski & Snowboard Club – Planned and led 53-students for a 10-day winter break trip to Park City, UT; fostered relationships between first and second years and showcased one of my former hometowns for my peers.
  • Career Mentor, Fuqua2Duke – Advised two Duke undergraduates applying to consulting opportunities on industry networking, resumes, cover letters, case interviewing, and offer negotiation (with both individuals landing their dream opportunities!).

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? The most transformative experience of my time in business school has been serving as co-president of our student government, the MBA Association. Our first day “in office” was the day after many of the initial COVID travel bans took effect. We quickly stood up new communications approaches, virtual programming, and a buddy system to keep Fuqua’s hallmark traditions alive.

When the US faced a racial equity awakening over the summer, we worked together to host a townhall and initiate personal commitments from every corner of the community to express solidarity with our Black peers and to make sure we would maintain the institutional momentum of growth and improvement. From the 800 students to the countless administrators, faculty and staff, we’ve seen the very best come out in force across the Fuqua community.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? While at Deloitte, I served in our Office of the CEO, which included coordinating an effort to replace our aging, semi-annual, office-wide “all hands” meetings with day-long, experiential learning opportunities. These would allow employees to choose their own adventure, meeting other members of their office teams and bonding over shared interests.

We measured a 20 percent boost in the practitioners’ reported connection to their offices, based on this effort that we branded Consulting Connect. It still exists today. Consulting Connect allowed for a real shift in my colleagues’ connection to their professional experience, which is something I’m still proud to have helped facilitate, years later.

Why did you choose this business school? My Fuqua story begins and ends with people. The day I visited for my interview, I felt like I was home. I saw genuine enthusiasm, joy, humility, and selflessness in so many students, faculty, and staff. My operating theory has always been that if you make life decisions based on the people you’ll be spending time with, you’ll never have regrets. Being surrounded by people who have met global challenges with grace and ardor has made all the difference.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? At Fuqua, we have a long-standing tradition hosted by our Wine Club known as Wine Around the World. Before the pandemic, students would host rotating, small groups of participants for wine tastings. WATW has been a hallmark of life at Fuqua for generations, renowned for the event’s ability to create space for classmates to come in as acquaintances and leave as friends.

Each WATW is co-hosted by an affinity, cultural, or social impact-related student organization, that both guides the wine sourcing and provides context to make sure everyone leaves with a broader perspective. Amidst COVID, we’ve seen a dedicated group of students work with the administration to carry out a completely safe and socially-distanced, Zoom-fueled WATW that accomplished the same goals of forging new friendships and facilitating global education.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I heard from prospective applicants that Fuqua is the “nice” business school. That seems to come with the connotation that we, as Fuquans, may be less competitive or less ambitious than MBA candidates at other schools. There’s no question that we prioritize kindness (often referred to in Fuqua parlance as “decency”). In every facet of my MBA – academic, career, social – I’ve only found proof that Fuquans dream big, are committed to making a difference for those around them and work hard to generate results.

I think about the consulting and banking recruits who have worked tirelessly to prepare each other for interviews they are vying for. I saw classmates celebrate each other’s successes, as if they were their own. I think about the bold founders coming out of our Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I think about the brave student leaders who coordinate Daring Dialogues to educate their peers on topics that many find difficult, speaking on some of the most vulnerable experiences of their lives and backgrounds in front of hundreds so others might learn. I’ve witnessed a community committed to driving toward real change, but also a group of people who are happy to see others get the credit, as long as the change gets made.

What surprised you the most about business school? It’s hard to skip over the outside forces, stressors and disruption that 2020 brought upon more than half of our experience. But I prefer to focus on the grace, resilience and heart everyone has shown. Looking at the intense gauntlet that is consulting recruiting, for example, the people who put far more energy into prepping their peers than into preparing themselves is incredible. Then, we had those who had been turned down, turning around to celebrate the wins of their peers, as if they were their own, was truly extraordinary.

Then there’s the classmate who would show up early to each exam with 70 extra pencils to anonymously distribute one to each seat to ensure their fellow students were prepared for the task at hand. And there was the classmate who made a habit of delivering home-made cookies when he noticed someone needed a pick-me-up. And let’s not forget the classmate who continued to actively help others with internship recruitment, even after she landed her own dream offer. What’s surprised me most about my business school experience has been the kindness and decency exemplified by every member of the Fuqua community.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Our “25 fun facts” essay – I decided to allow that to be a reflection of me, the human. Not me, the professional. And not me, the aspiring change-maker. I tried to highlight who I am in unguarded moments; my sense of humor, my day-to-day preferences, and some real stumbles. I tried to paint a complete and genuine picture of the kind of classmate, teammate, coworker and eventual alum I aspired to become. The best advice I could offer anyone is to apply as your whole self.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Jenny Large was a total stranger on our first day of orientation when we got put on the same learning team. With both of us being long distance runners, we bonded while over trying to figure out how we’d both keep up with our wellness goals while in school.

Jenny is genuinely interested in everyone around her. She asks questions more than she makes statements, is constantly on the lookout for peers being left out, and doesn’t have an unkind word to say about anyone, ever. She validates the opinions of others and serves as a trusted sense-maker. She carries her own weight and then some. When her classmates had to quarantine, Jenny checked in daily and made grocery store runs without being asked. She is the kind of leader everyone hopes to follow and the kind of human I aspire to emulate.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? There is no question that COVID has been disruptive to the Daytime MBA experience for all of us. We went from the camaraderie of in-person, participatory classes to figuring out how to contribute in a Zoom room of 70. The extracurricular and social engagements that serve as the hallmarks of MBA life had to change as well.

For the faculty, staff and administrators, it hA meant putting in even more hours than usual in a mostly empty building, without being able to truly share in the growth they’re working so hard to help us discover. The students created a task force to partner with administrators in developing a hybrid model to learn safely. The optimism from the entire Fuqua community has been inspiring through all the change.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? 100 percent, my mom has inspired my path. A true trailblazer, she was the first in her family to pursue an MBA, graduating in 1982, as one of only a handful of women in her cohort. Throughout my childhood, I benefitted from watching a boundlessly energetic, capable, loving, and supportive mom balance her business career. She equally dedicated herself to being a constant presence in my brother’s life and mine. Mom has built high-performing teams, found innovative ways to improve the lives of those who count on her, and applied her leadership savvy to organize philanthropic endeavors for children, animals, and essential workers. I witnessed my mom prove how business has the power to be, in the words of Fuqua’s Dean Bill Boulding, “one of the greatest forces for good in the world.” I’m fortunate to be following in and hope to live up to her example.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Start a business that, at its heart, serves to bring people together.
  2. Find a meaningful way to apply the skills I’ve learned to go beyond my business career to help directly solve a vexing social challenge.

What made Mike such an invaluable member of the Class of 2021?

“I first met Mike Treiser on October 30, 2019 in Fuqua’s Fox Center over coffee with his section mates. I will always remember 2020 as the year that I had the privilege of meeting the Mike Treiser I have come to admire.

Mike’s super power is his ability to authentically unlock, elevate and magnify the best in those around him. This was true both in his forming an amazing leadership cabinet and in every interaction he had with his administrative partners.

Mike has an unbelievable ability to zoom out and see the big picture, the core issues, and the ultimate goals. But he also understands the moment. Mike is an active listener, who thoughtfully tried to keep the school connected during a time when it was hard to connect. To ensure the supportive onboarding of the incoming class, and to preserve the traditions that make Fuqua special, Mike launched Team Fuqua Tuesday’s, a weekly, virtual get together among current students, staff, and incoming Fuqua students.

Mike also has an incredibly strong sense of self, situational awareness and a genuine desire to serve. His empathy and thoughtfulness are off the charts. This has meant the world, particularly during a time where empathy is needed now more than ever. In a year when every day seemed to bring on a new challenge, and with an endless number of fires that needed to be put out, seeing Mike’s name on an email, a text, or on an incoming call always brought a welcome smile and a sense of comfort. Often, after a difficult meeting, a hard conversation, or some bad news, he would text “Are you ok?” These check-ins, these selfless moments, and Mike’s consistent care, generosity and thoughtfulness meant everything.

Mike truly, and inspirationally, lives the values of the Fuqua community.”

Steve Misuraca
Assistant Dean for the Daytime MBA program
Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business


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