Did you know that about 40% of Fuqua’s Class of 2015 (440 students) are international? I think this probably makes Fuqua one of the most diverse business schools in the U.S. That my friends, is an accomplishment I’m proud to be a part of. Walking down the Keller Center hallway, beneath the long series of flags that represent the diversity of Fuqua students, one could easily mistake the building for a U.N. office!
Fuqua does a fantastic job of turning this cultural diversity into an effective tool for personal growth and leadership development through C-LEAD (Consequential Leadership) teams. Every Fuqua student is part of a 6 or 7 member C-LEAD team whose composition is designed to be as diverse as possible — ethnically, academically, and professionally.
My own teammates either directly hail from or have strong ties to Taiwan, Mexico, Ireland, Spain, China, and Iran. They bring rich work experiences from healthcare, telecom, consulting, and automobile industries as well as service in the U.S. Army. Add to this my connection to India, an industrial engineering education, and a career in operations consulting and what you get is a melting pot of cultures and expertise!
“How is any of this helpful?” you may ask. Throughout the first terms of the Daytime MBA program, we were put through a grueling phase of academic learning, and I think it would be extremely hard to pull through it on your own. We required the combined effort of a team — a team that is cognitively diverse. This team-based learning enabled me to assimilate into business school more quickly then if I had to work alone. Also, in teams we’re able to better solve the many, real-life business problems infused into our curriculum by our excellent faculty.
The level of diversity on my team (and most teams) invariably created some conflict of opinions, and we pushed each other to get out of our comfort zones. However, we positively resolved those conflicts through connecting outside of class — team lunches/dinners, potlucks, group workouts, and partying! Over the past 7 months, we learned to be more accommodating of each other and more appreciative of our strengths. We’ve helped each other achieve academic and personal goals along the way. These experiences have come to affect how I perceive and demonstrate leadership.
As I pen these words, I can’t fathom how I would have pulled through school thus far, without the unflinching support from my team. Many thanks and kudos to my C-LEAD teammates: Adrian, Alice, Charlie, Enrique, Tao, and Sanaz. You guys are the best!