Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Aswasan “AJ” Joshi, Duke University (Fuqua)        

Aswasan “AJ” Joshi        

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

“Bestowed with the superpower to find humor in anything.”

Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal

Fun Fact About Yourself: I arrived in Durham the morning of the International Welcome Day after traveling for almost 40 hours from Nepal (which included 10 hours of layover in Doha). I made it to the orientation and was peppy throughout the week. I am still not sure how I managed it. The U.S. Embassy in Nepal only partially started taking visa appointments in July, due to the pandemic. Luckily, I was able to grab a last-minute slot, literally two weeks before the program start date. Phew!

Undergraduate School and Major: Washington and Lee University – Dual Degree: B.S. Physics-Engineering; B.A. Computer Science

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Founding Coordinator, Nepal Private Equity Association; Associate, Sherpa Technology Group, San Francisco

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? I firmly believe that it is the concoction of all six paired principles that gives meaning to the “Team Fuqua” culture. It does little justice to discern one paired principle without appreciating its interdependence with the others. I intend to stay staunch on the “Team Fuqua” spirit for the two years here and moving forward.

What word best describes the Fuqua MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Intentional (in whatever they do). Fuquans do everything with great commitment and clear purpose while looking to get better every day.

Aside from your classmates and school culture, what was the key part of Duke Fuqua’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? It has to be the unique curriculum. Fuqua has fewer core classes, allowing me to tailor my two-year experience here the way I want to with more than 100 electives to cherry-pick from. Also, since Fuqua has short and intensive four 6-week terms, it allows me to dabble in a range of courses and amplify the breadth of my education.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Duke Fuqua? FuquaVision – It is sort of Fuqua’s version of Saturday Night Live. Also, I would be remiss if I did not mention Duke Basketball. It is Coach K’s last year!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I worked on the intellectual property strategy for a stealth lidar (sensors for self-driving cars) start-up that eventually went public after a few years. I was with them throughout their journey.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? For me, COVID-19 underscored the importance of adapting to new roadmaps in the face of changing variables and “black swan” events while staying grateful. This has allowed me to embrace challenges and seek out possibilities and opportunities in unanticipated changes, be it in my career or my personal life.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point, and what do you hope to do after graduation? I wanted to pursue an MBA at this point to fully capitalize on my background in STEM while building out a robust set of business and leadership skills. Also, I quickly recognized during my time in San Francisco, while working in the intersection of technology, business, and strategy, that the social aspect of business is just as important as having a sound technical understanding. Fuqua MBA brings together a diverse set of global peers with experiences from various competitive industries, allowing me to immerse myself in an open-minded and inclusive culture. After graduation, I hope to take up strategy roles for technology companies using my broader business education.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Stanford GSB, Berkeley Haas, UCLA Anderson

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Duke Fuqua’s MBA program? I would suggest that potential applicants truly showcase their authentic selves through their applications and not shy away from being vulnerable. Also, they should really think about and demonstrate what they will bring to the Fuqua community.


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