What is a Leader of Consequence?

A reader recently asked this question, and I thought it would be helpful to provide a broader response.

The truth of the matter is that “Leader of Consequence” has a different meaning for each student, but I’d like to share what it means to me:

The term is heard a lot in Fuqua’s hallways. It is the cornerstone of Fuqua’s educational philosophy and it’s a phrase students try to live by within Fuqua’s walls. We also strive to fulfill its demands once we graduate – it is an ideal to continually aim for.

Initially defined by Professor Blair Sheppard, Fuqua’s former dean, a Leader of Consequence is someone who is able to effectively perform as a leader and as a team player; they are brilliant and also human; they are analytical and a globalist. The “and” is at the core of the idea – we are not this OR that, we are this AND that.

Professor Sheppard speaks further about leaders of consequence in this video.

I also think that the intent of the term is something that each student must define for themselves.

Business today is global: there is overlap in industry and function, culture and language. For me, being a Leader of Consequence means being a leader who cares not only about the impact I have in my workplace, but the impact I leave on the rest of the world – whether that be by transforming the way business is done, or enhancing the way a company interacts with its community.

A Leader of Consequence is a person who can walk out of Fuqua on graduation day and walk into the hallways of a corporation, not-for-profit organization, or government office and use their business skills to strengthen professional relationships, elevate work efficiency, and cultivate internal and external office communication, cohesion and connections.

When assessing applicants, Fuqua looks for students who have these aspirations and goals. The school wants people who strive for more than a graduate degree, we want people who will use the degree as a platform to change the way businesspeople think and interact. Personally, earning this Fuqua degree is one step I’m taking toward (hopefully) changing the world I live in and making an everlasting, positive difference, in any way possible.

Caroline Stone

Caroline Stone

MMS: FOB, Class of 2012

I'm from San Francisco and have a bachelor’s in sociology and a minor in international relations. I came to Duke to pursue the MMS program to open new career doors in the fields of social entrepreneurship, corporate responsibility, and the public sector.

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