2022 MBA To Watch: Jordan Daniel Lantz, Duke University (Fuqua)

Jordan Daniel Lantz

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

“Joyful, queer storyteller and lifelong learner with a bias for inclusion, empathy, and impact.”

Hometown: Wakarusa, Indiana

Fun fact about yourself: I love writing screenplays and have written a TV pilot that I plan to pitch someday. My goal starting Fuqua as a first-year was to have a final draft ready to pitch by the end of graduation. I’m proud to say I have accomplished that goal! I’ll be sure to thank Fuqua in my acceptance speech if ever I win an Emmy.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bowdoin College, History, 2015

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? American University, Assistant Director of Development

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? Pfizer, Pharmaceutical Marketing Summer Associate

Where will you be working after graduation? Pfizer, Marketing Manager in the Marketing Rotational Program

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I served as the MBA Association co-president (student body president), Section Representative for Section 6, Allies Cabinet for the Association of Women in Business, Social Chair for FuquaPride, First-Year Lead for FuquaVotes, Corporate Education Cabinet for the Marketing Club, Associate for Fuqua on Board, and occasional writer for the MBA Blog.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I have been thinking about this question a lot recently as my MBA Association co-president, Audrey Dotson, and I pass off our responsibilities to the next leaders. Our MBA Association has a cabinet of 11 vice presidents who serve in various capacities – from student life initiatives to diversity, equity, and inclusion to service and sustainability. My biggest accomplishment was thoughtfully and meticulously choosing these individuals to lead at Fuqua alongside me and Audrey. Over the last year, I’ve watched their personal and professional growth as leaders and am so thankful that they are the ones we chose for these roles. I’m in awe of them and know they’ve made Fuqua a better place for years to come.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? While working in fundraising at my first job, a sports-based youth development nonprofit in Chicago, I experienced a situation of homophobia from a potential donor. I was 23 and deeply impressionable, and the moment left me wondering if I would be taken seriously as an openly gay professional. After the incident, my organization supported me and encouraged me to execute on my idea for a fundraising event that connected the LGBTQ+ sports community with our mission and the communities we served. My efforts brought in the most revenue that quarter and allowed me to capitalize on an identity that I feared would be a hindrance and instead made it into an asset.

Why did you choose this business school? I attended Fuqua’s Pride Weekend in 2018 and was struck by how much the LGBTQ+ students and alumni cared about getting to know me and helping me during the application process. I developed a giant Fuqua support system and was welcomed into the community before I even pressed submit on my application. It was an early indicator that the “Team Fuqua” mantra was embedded in the school culture. I applied during binding early action because I knew for sure this was the community for me.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite professor is David Ridley, one of Duke’s renowned healthcare economists. David is brilliant, yet he is humble and honest about what he does and does not know. Most importantly, he conducts class in a way that highlights and values everyone’s perspectives from our varying careers. After accepting my summer internship offer at Pfizer, I took David’s Biotech and Pharma Strategy course to prepare for the work. Having come from nonprofit fundraising and pivoting into pharmaceuticals, I felt I lacked a lot of knowledge. However, David validated my experiences and perspectives and affirmed that I added value to class and the industry.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? My favorite tradition is FuquaVision, a quarterly sketch comedy show in the style of SNL. I wrote several segments, starred in a few skits, and even produced my own skit several times. It’s an amazing opportunity for our school to come together and laugh at ourselves. Particularly during the pandemic, it offered us joy in a time of uncertainty. I think it proves that while Fuqua students care about our work, we do not take ourselves too seriously. I think that’s what makes Fuqua so special.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? In the fall of my second year, I joined an LGBTQ+ kickball team in Raleigh to experience the Triangle outside of Duke. If I were to do anything differently, I would have explored those opportunities even earlier. North Carolina is filled with beautiful places and fantastic people, and I wish I had taken advantage of those experiences earlier in my time at Fuqua. While for some students like me, we will only live in North Carolina for two years, but investing in your time here will make North Carolina feel like home years after you graduate.

What is the biggest myth about your school? When I told people I was going to Fuqua, some people assumed it would just be a “southern school” and that most people would come from and move to southern cities. Fuqua is proud of its southern home, as it should be, but it pulls students from all over the country and all over the world. It’s more than just a school in the south; it attracts a rich and diverse group of people and offers a springboard to anywhere you want to go (including the Triangle!).

What surprised you the most about business school? I am surprised by how much MBA students can accomplish in such a short amount of time. I think it is universally true of all business schools that the first few terms are rigorous and challenging with balancing academics, recruiting, making friends, and taking care of yourself. I remember taking a step back around spring of my first year and thinking, “Did all that really just happen?” It seemed surreal that I made the strides I had in less than a year. It’s a true testament to the people at Fuqua—from classmates, to faculty, to staff—who go out of their way to support each other’s ambition and success.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I’m not sure I know precisely what gave me an edge, but I do remember being very honest and vulnerable in my application and interview. When I speak with prospective applicants, this is the point I stress the most. Fuqua wants to know you as a person, not just as an applicant. Show them your personality, your quirks, your passions, and moments you’ve learned from failure. These are what makes them say, “We want this person in the Fuqua community.”

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire my MBA Association co-president Audrey Dotson beyond words. We didn’t really know each other before deciding to run together, but as soon as we did, it was as if I had an immediate new best friend. I’ve learned so much about leadership from her. She approaches every problem, every person, every opportunity with grace, empathy, and curiosity. She puts others before herself, does great work without ego, and truly exemplifies what it means to be a decent leader. I aspire to be like her every single day.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Prior to exploring a graduate school path, I did not know anyone who had an MBA; however, the managing director at my first organization had several family members who had gone to business school. When I told her early on that I would want to pursue that path, she took the time to hear about my goals and taught me that a business degree doesn’t just have to be about profit. She helped me understand that business acumen, creative problem solving, and strategic thinking are essential for all enterprises, whether for profit or nonprofit. Having her support and guidance, I knew that an MBA was the right degree for me.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? My long-term professional interests lie within women’s health and reproductive health. I would love to use what I’ve learned through my healthcare classes and my work as an ally for the Association of Women in Business in my career at Pfizer. Outside of my healthcare interests, I want to professionally explore my love of writing on the side. I have so many ideas for essays, stories, and screenplays that I hope to develop someday. I plan to be a pharmaceutical marketer by day and published writer by night.

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? I have long believed that one’s career can be an extension of their passions and values. Our professions take up a significant amount of our time, so we might as well make it something we care about. The pandemic made this even more defined for me as I pivoted from the nonprofit world into a corporate setting in the middle of the public health emergency. The values I held from my work in the nonprofit sector are unchanged and attending Fuqua in the pandemic allowed me to home in on those values within the healthcare sector. I hope my fellow classmates and all future Fuqua students have the opportunity to take this time to define their values and find a career that allows them to put those values to work.

What made Jordy such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Jordy was committed to service from the first day of his Fuqua experience. As a section representative, his vast gift for inclusive leadership was readily evident immediately (even on Zoom!) long before he became student body co-president. Jordy has worn a number of hats, not only in leadership, but in service at Fuqua—for example serving as a male ally for the Association of Women in Business. Through a schedule that would be daunting for most of us, Jordy gladly sacrificed his own needs in efforts to uplift others.  Not only does Jordy have an incredible and sincere desire to serve, he leans into difficult situations with both extreme intelligence and a rare ability to focus in on the positive. He is not afraid to have difficult conversations and often sacrifices comfort for courage. Jordy cares deeply about making the Fuqua community a place where all feel embraced and included, and gives generously of himself to do so.

I’ve served at Fuqua long enough to witness the tenure of many student body presidents. All of them have been extraordinary in their own ways –but rarely have a I seen a combination as powerful as Audrey and Jordy. I’ve nominated each of them for this honor, and as such I want to also talk about both of them as a team in this recommendation, as the true partnership and collaboration I’ve witnessed from them during the last year has been an inspiration to me.

Audrey and Jordy stepped up to lead at a time when many of their classmates were understandably focusing what was missing in their experience. The immediate challenge was that there was no playbook or mental model on how to restore and reenergize the MBA student experience in the middle of a global pandemic. Their hope and focus, was to look forward with optimism, to focus on connections and building new traditions, and to make the most of circumstances. They knew they couldn’t do it alone. The first, and perhaps most important challenge, was to assemble a support system, through their cabinet, to collectively ensure their vision was inclusive, realistic, and actionable. They assembled the group with thought, care, humility, and an enthusiasm to lift up others.

What makes Audrey and Jordan Daniel so special, is their consistency performing at a high level and also trusting their incredible classmates to share in the work. Day after day, as role models to both their fellow students, and our staff, they showed up, and while uncertain about what would be around the corner, they were determined to make the best of any curveballs that came their way. I recall a meeting where they humorously expressed a desire to get parody t-shirts made with the “Friends logo” with the word “Pivot” in place of the famous “F-r-i-e-n-d-s.” They both have a knack for intelligently finding the humor and positivity where possible, recognizing we all need to smile during these difficult times.

Audrey and Jordan Daniel tirelessly advocated for their classmates. Every interaction, every meeting, was focused on reframing the many challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, but most importantly to support their fellow classmates. Fuqua is better because of their leadership.”

Steve Misuraca
Assistant Dean


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