Rachael Lambert, alumna and MBAA Vice President from the Class of 2014 interviews Simon Moore-Crouch, alumnus and MBAA President from the Class of 2014. Read part one of her blog post here.
Rachael: Simon, now that 4 months have passed since we graduated I am curious to know, if Team Fuqua were an animal what would it be and why?
Simon: I think it would still have to be a meerkat for me. The sense of community within Team Fuqua is so strong and that has continued to be evident post-graduation. We really look after each other, and work together to ensure the success of every member and the whole. When you combine that with the amount of fun we have when we get together it makes the meerkat the perfect fit!
Rachael: Working with the MBA Association (MBAA) Executive Cabinet was truly the highlight of my MBA experience, why do you think they were so effective at helping shape the Team Fuqua Values?
Simon: First off I’d say the group was really purposeful about taking on the challenge of shaping the values as our main mission as the MBAA Executive Cabinet. We clearly made it our ‘raison d’etre’ and this meant everyone invested their time and energy into the project. That being said, I think the sole reason that we were so effective was that the group who made up the Cabinet was motivated to take on their roles purely by their intense passion for Team Fuqua. At the core of who they are was this belief in what Team Fuqua is and can be, and they took on the responsibility of pushing the concept forward in a new way.
Rachael: What do you think it means to ‘define’ Team Fuqua and why was it so important to do?
Simon: Part of the beauty of Fuqua is that the community is so diverse. It’s made up of people from different countries and cultures, with different career goals or different interests. It gives us a great strength and enables so many different experiences of what it means to be a part of Team Fuqua. That’s great, but it makes it really hard for people to have a reference point that brings all those experiences together and enables them to communicate them in a common language. By developing the values it’s possible to celebrate all these different experiences of what it means to be a part of Team Fuqua and to tie them together in a common understanding of the greater whole. It’s particularly powerful when you think about its application to admissions and telling the stories of what makes the Fuqua experience the best business school experience in the world.
Rachael: I know we’ve discussed that these values are so much bigger than just the students who are currently at Fuqua. How do you think these values follow Fuqua alumni into their futures?
Simon: Being a Fuquan is like adding another surname to your name. You carry it around with you for the rest of your life, and it becomes part of who you are. That plays out in how you pursue your career, how you build your family life and how you develop as a person. Hopefully the values can play a role in that development so that as Fuquans living our post-business school lives, we become known for being driven by principles such as these. I think that has incredible power for the school and alumni in the long term.
Rachael: How do you think these values apply to the greater Fuqua and Duke communities?
Simon: Fuqua really is a much bigger community than just the group of students. We talked a lot about the incredible staff and faculty that are such an important part of Team Fuqua, and we tried to take that into account as we formulated the values. The response to the values from those groups was just as enthusiastic as the response from our classmates. I can think of so many instances of staff and faculty exhibiting the values, and that is something we should celebrate and encourage.
Rachael: Which of the values do you feel most exemplifies your own and the leader you are or would like to be?
Simon: During our graduation speech I talked about supportive ambition and my experience training for a marathon, with the support of my classmates, while at Fuqua. I had so many people train with me, send me emails of support, hold me accountable to my training plan, and even run the last 3 miles of the actual race with me. They supported my ambition to tick a marathon off my bucket list, just as I tried to support their ambitions—be it securing a job in the hospitality industry or their desire to travel to my home country of Australia. The idea that you can be ambitious personally while also supporting the ambitions of those around you is super-powerful. It all comes back to the concept that a rising tide lifts all boats. Your individual success doesn’t have to come at the expense of others. If you approach it in the right way, your success can help others have their own success, which in turn makes the whole community more successful. This is definitely the value that resonates with me the most and guides a lot of my own leadership. I really aim to practice this in my day-to-day life.
Rachael: What is your advice for incoming students on how to use the values to enhance their experience at Fuqua?
Simon: When you decide to come to Fuqua you become a member of Team Fuqua, and with that comes the responsibility to truly be an active member of our community. I’d recommend incoming students take the time to read and listen to stories of their classmates, alumni, staff and faculty who have lived out our values so they have a greater understanding of what being a Fuquan really means. Then the question to think about is—how can I add my own story to this collection? What makes everyone treasure Fuqua is the people. So you have to think, what are you going to do so that those who come after you want to be a part of this incredible place too? Those before you have done something that made you want to be a part of this, so how are you going to do something similar for someone else? Thinking about this in the frame of the values enables you to add your own story and have it connect to the rich thread of stories we have had since the very concept of Team Fuqua was born.