Meet the MBA Class of 2023: DeMontrez Johnson, Duke University (Fuqua)

DeMontrez Johnson

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

“I would describe myself as my ancestors’ wildest dreams. DEE-BO.”

Hometown: Augusta, GA

Fun Fact About Yourself:  I got married on Super Bowl Sunday (02/02/2020). I like to think that my wedding is the event that shut down the world instead of COVID. Immediately after the wedding, we went on our honeymoon in Fiji. We left the U.S. without a pandemic and came back to find everyone wearing masks. It was an eye-opening experience to watch the pandemic news unfold abroad and experience the direct effect on Fiji’s economy.

Undergraduate School and Major: Savannah State University – BBA in Accounting

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Northrop Grumman – Principal Financial Analyst

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?  The principle that resonates most with me is Supportive Ambition. I am someone who truly thrives in a team environment. Fuqua’s culture encourages teamwork. This means working together and helping each other, even in situations where you and another classmate may be recruiting for the same position. At Fuqua, there is truly no “I” in team. We can reach our goals together.

What word best describes the Fuqua MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? The word that best describes the Fuqua MBA students and alumni is “responsive.” The Team Fuqua spirit is a driving force in Fuqua’s culture. During recruitment, I heard back from every Fuqua student to whom I reached out. This is something that stood out to me when making my decision to attend Fuqua.

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? As a career switcher, the key part of Fuqua’s MBA programming I am most interested in is the Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum (FCCP). FCCP matches local and international businesses with Fuqua student teams to allow them to apply their experience and education to deliver useful solutions to business problems. This aspect of the program is important to me because it will give me the opportunity to gain firsthand international consulting experience.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Duke Fuqua? I am most excited about Fuqua’s Net Impact Club. During my career, I have led several initiatives focused on social responsibility in business. Through leadership in affinity groups, I was able to host events that focus on implicit bias in the workplace. I have also worked with the National Association of Black Accountants and the National Society of Black Engineers to increase minority access to the recruitment process in corporate America. I plan on being a leader in the Net Impact Club and participating in Fuqua on Board by targeting a non-voting member position in the Greater Durham Black Chamber of Commerce. I intend on using these experiences to achieve my future goal of becoming a member of the board of visitors at my undergraduate institution.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: One of my biggest accomplishments in my career happened while working at Stryker Corporation. I received a task from management to investigate our increasing scrap allocation. After working cross-functionally with accounting, shop floor workers, and quality engineering, I was able to identify the root cause of the problem. As a result, I was able to help the company identify an area of inconsistency in vetting scrap and work with quality engineering to put in place a consistent process for identifying faulty products, which led to a decrease in the division’s scrap allocation.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? COVID-19 did not change my perspective on my career. I committed myself to pursuing my MBA and pivoting into consulting before the pandemic hit. COVID did change my personal life. I am extremely social and extroverted. COVID forced me to find alternative ways to interact with people. One way that I did this was setting up a virtual spades game with some of my closest friends. I also replaced my normal social time with reading. One book that I read over the pandemic was Conversations in Black by Ed Gordon.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I am pursuing an MBA because I want to learn how executives think and help them make important business decisions. As an Accountant/Financial Analyst, I often found myself reacting to the decisions being made by executives rather than being an active part of the decision-making. I decided to pursue my MBA to change this and transition into a career in consulting. I also want to have the opportunity to learn about different industries during my studies at Fuqua. I have an interest in exploring the intersection of Energy and Technology. Pursuing a career in consulting is a full circle journey for me. I pursued a career in consulting during undergrad, but was unsuccessful in my recruitment efforts. The MBA experience gives me the opportunity to fulfill my original desired career. After graduation, I plan to become a strategy consultant at a top consulting firm. I plan to be an asset to a firm and pursue projects with clients that explore the intersection of Energy and Tech. My long-term goal is to become a partner at a consulting firm. While working in consulting, I plan on creating and strengthening consulting recruiting pipelines for underrepresented minorities at HBCUs.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Booth, Haas, Kellogg, Ross, Darden, Jones, SOM and Johnson.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Duke Fuqua’s MBA program? “Figure out who you are. Then do it on purpose.” Be yourself! Fuqua’s Admission’s team emphasizes personal fit in the admissions process. One of Fuqua’s six principles is Authentic Engagement. This principle creates a culture at Fuqua for students to show up as their authentic self. This is also a general rule in life.


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