The holiday season starts with the rush and chaos of shopping, holiday parties, and finishing work projects, followed by … quiet. With presents wrapped, shipped, and unwrapped, LOTS of food cooked and devoured, and much of the world on vacation, I am enjoying one of my favorite times of the year. It is a time to relax, clean up the chaos, and reflect on successes, learnings, and opportunities to seize in the new year.

A Year of Travel

2011 was filled with travel to most every major U.S. city and several smaller ones, as well as England and Russia in February (there are no words to describe 27 degrees below zero), and Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Peru, and Mexico in August and/or December. And though I have not been to Asia, India, the Middle East, or Africa this past year, both our Admissions team and our Regional teams have been there. I am fortunate that they can teach me about the nuances of what matters today in each culture and economy. Our job in Admissions is to fill our classes with bright, passionate, collaborative people who share the school’s commitment to making our companies, organizations, and communities better—they are Leaders of Consequence. Fuquans come from every corner of the globe, from every function, industry, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual preference, and political perspective. So, those of us in Admissions have the distinct fortune to be able to travel to meet prospective students and reconnect with alumni, to share with applicants what Fuqua is all about, and to learn about vastly different cultures and communities.

The DNA of a “Fuquan”

One of the things I have learned in all of my travels (almost 40 countries, and yes, I am counting), is that there is a DNA to a Fuquan, that amidst the incredibly diverse histories, talents, and perspectives of our students and alumni, we share core values. Fuquans are proud of where they come from, and are honored to share with you what makes their country, their family, and their community special. They are humble. They know their strengths, and will take the time to teach and help others in these areas, while simultaneously and graciously accepting guidance from others in their areas of development. They are doers. They are passionate and motivated and know they cannot do things alone, so they are wonderful at inspiring others to join them in their initiatives. And we don’t just appreciate diversity, it is at the very core of the Fuqua DNA—it is woven into everything we do.

Building Fuqua’s Future

Spending time reflecting on the past year often comes with a bit of sentimentality. I’m no exception—I am honored to be a Fuquan (from the Daytime MBA Class of 2003!), to be a part of a school and a community that is proud, humble, passionate, fascinatingly diverse, and focused on cultivating the leaders who will make the world a better place. And with our Early Action round already tapping the first group of students for the Daytime MBA Class of 2013 to carry on this incredible legacy, Round 1 interviews taking place this month, and the Round 2 application deadline tomorrow, I am particularly honored to be a part of building Fuqua’s future. (More application information is on the Daytime website.)

And so I begin the transition into 2012, into more days spent in my pajamas reading applications at home than in business suits and hotel rooms, into the excitement of reading people’s stories and filling our classrooms with the next generation of Fuquans. Happy New Year, indeed!