When researching business schools, I knew that I wanted to be somewhere that had a supportive culture. Relationships have always been one of the most important things in my life, and being in an environment that encouraged collaboration and teamwork was a top priority. Learning about Team Fuqua solidified that Fuqua was the best fit for me.

During my time as a student, I frequently experienced Team Fuqua in action and formed meaningful relationships with numerous parts of the Fuqua community. The Team Fuqua spirit is what continues to drive my connections with my classmates, professors, colleagues, and current Fuqua students.

Finding Fuqua Connections at Work

When I graduated from Fuqua, I joined UnitedHealth Group’s (UHG) leadership experience program, a two-year rotation program designed to cultivate the next generation of UHG leaders through unique exposure, experiences, and development opportunities. One of the things that most attracted me to UHG is the number of Fuqua alumni in the program. From helping with first-round interview preparation to evaluating the different rotation opportunities, the Fuqua alumni were instrumental in offering their insights and extending their network and resources.

Since joining UHG, I started a quarterly Fuqua Friday as an informal mechanism for us to interact with and get to know each other. Although it’s virtual and we unfortunately don’t have any chicken tenders, it’s been a great way for us to foster community in an organization with more than 450,000 employees.

Meghan Spell, a Duke Fuqua alumna, and her UnitedHealth Group colleagues at a Fuqua recruiting event

Recruiting and Other Campus Visits

Another way I’ve remained involved with Fuqua is by returning to campus whenever a recruiting opportunity exists. I’ve participated in the Health Sector Management (HSM) Bootcamp, the Duke MBA Health Care Club’s annual conference, company presentations, coffee chats, and interviews.

I always look forward to being back on campus so I can interact with current students as well as catch up with mentors, advisors, and professors, such as fellow attorney and avid reader John Buley, health care guru Peter Ubel, and social entrepreneurship leader Erin Worsham, who played a pivotal role in my experience. One particularly fond memory is being at the Health Care Club Conference when three of my classmates, Mahek Chhatrapati, Gordon Silverman, and Andrei Assa, were discussing their company DocNexus as that year’s keynote speaker. Another is returning to campus for the HSM Bootcamp with my section mate, Tess Rodriguez, and Emma Breithaupt, who spent her summer internship on my second rotation’s team. 

Receiving and Sharing Updates

In addition to being active in health care activities, I am also involved with the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE), having joined the group as a CASE Scholar when I enrolled. CASE Executive Director Erin Worsham sends an email at the beginning of each year introducing the newest CASE Scholars and providing a forum for us to give professional and personal updates. I love receiving this each year, especially because people respond sporadically and keep the thread going for months.

Meghan Spell and a fellow Fuqua alum

This year, I was able to share in my update that I was excited about hosting another CASE Scholar in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. This activity speaks to the strength of the bonds that are formed while at Fuqua and the instant connection that’s shared with people who are part of this special group.

Creating New Memories with Classmates

On a personal note, I moved to Minneapolis sight unseen when I graduated. A handful of classmates were also moving to Minneapolis for their careers, so I coordinated different events for us to periodically meet in person. One of these socials was Taberna Tuesdays, where we go to a Mexican restaurant called Taberna on Tuesday evening as an ode to the beloved Tavern Tuesday tradition at Fuqua. Although I recently moved back to my home state of Louisiana, the group continues to get together, and I join when work brings me back to the Twin Cities.

A group of Fuqua alumni, including Meghan Spell, a Class of 2021 Daytime MBA alumna

Most of my closest friends were dispersed throughout the country once we graduated. Thankfully, group texts keep us connected and updated on what’s happening with each other. Since graduating, I’ve visited Seattle, Portland, Nashville, D.C., New York City, Rhode Island and multiple places in between to spend time with Fuqua friends in their new cities.

Most recently, my friendships formed at Fuqua brought me to the furthest place I’ve traveled—Thailand. A friend (and section mate) from Fuqua and I met another Fuqua friend in his hometown of Bangkok. We spent two weeks exploring Thailand and Vietnam together over the winter holidays, exploring various sites like temples, elephant sanctuaries, palaces, and markets, trying local favorites as we went.

Meghan Spell and two of her Duke Fuqua classmates standing in front of an Elephant in Thailand

This experience was one I could only vaguely envision when I was looking at the diverse cultures and backgrounds of previous class profiles at Fuqua. I’m thankful to Fuqua for bringing all of us together and for fostering an atmosphere that encourages authentic and continued connection. I’m looking forward to remaining involved in the Fuqua community and building upon the strength of these bonds.