We talk a lot about ‘Consequential Leadership’ at Fuqua, and within the MMS Student Association (MMSA), we exhibit it. After our first term, 8 cabinet positions, 3 judiciary positions, and 8 club leadership positions are voted on. Students who want to go beyond the regular academic curriculum and job search—by contributing as leaders to the MMS, Fuqua, and Duke community—apply for the positions.

During our program I have served as the international career chair of the MMSA and a Fuqua Technology Advisory Council cabinet member. It has been an honor to serve Fuqua and MMS in these 2 capacities by:

  1. Helping students with career development opportunities, organizing seminars and workshops (in tandem with the Career Management Center) for the benefit of the students, conducting mock interview and networking events to guide the job search of students, and assisting them on a personal level
  2. Suggesting and implement changes to Fuqua’s IT systems to create a balance between student needs and what Fuqua IT has to offer

Thoughts from Students on Leadership at Fuqua

Being a leader and being a part of the MMSA holds different notions for different people. Here is what it means for some of my fellow MMSA members:

Vedant Balasaria, Social Chair

“It’s been my absolute privilege and honor to serve the class as the social chair of the student body. Carrying out events and activities for the class has been a critical responsibility, very engaging, and at the same time it has been highly rewarding. This experience has given me the opportunity to grow as a person and explore the facets of leadership, but more than that it gave me friends for life. Some of my greatest memories from the program come from my involvement with the committee and people I worked with to enhance the experience of the class. It’s been fun and I’m taking back more than I bargained for.”

Scott Rushton, Co-President

“To me, leadership at Fuqua means embracing diversity on various levels. We have so many nationalities, professional backgrounds, and passions that excitement comes with every interaction. I have found that successful leadership at Fuqua requires a collaborative approach that incorporates as much of this diversity as possible.”

Simon Woodcock, Communications Chair

“My experience with the leadership at Fuqua has been fantastic. It has been challenging but a great learning experience. Trying to balance the interests of the class and what is financially viable and feasible has been a great development opportunity. Knowing that you can’t always please everyone, but being tasked with making the right decision has been interesting and a good introduction to a management style position. It has been great thinking about possible events, following through all the way to implementation, and then seeing the results—such as the happiness on people’s faces when you bring the cohort together for a great event. Although challenging and a time commitment, I would do it all again.”

What Leadership Means to Me

Leadership at Fuqua
The MMSA leadership at Fuqua at the Winter Formal

Not Being Selfish

I believe that if we succeed as a community, if we succeed as an MMS class, if we succeed as part of the greater Fuqua community, we all grow. We are 130 representatives of Fuqua and MMS, and each one of us matters. If one of us does or does not do well, it highlights the performance of the class as a whole. Hence, it becomes important to not be selfish and help each other.

Establishing Credibility

One challenge is to be credible as a leader. A lot of questions may pop up in people’s minds.

“What has he/she achieved to guide others?”

“Has he/she had any experience such as this before?”

“Why should I listen to him/her?”

Honestly, I agree with each of the above questions, and hence it is a challenge. Leadership by example is what I believe in. It is important to have as many experiences (successes or failures) as possible before you can actually guide and help others. What this does is, one, gives you confidence to tell people what went right or wrong and how they can improve by taking your example. And two, gives the person on the other end a reason to actually listen to you.

Creating a Balance 

There has to be a balance between what people want and what the other side has to offer. For example, students want X, the CMC/program team/MMSA has Y to offer. It is of utmost importance to create as large an intersection as possible between sets X and Y so that everyone benefits from it.

I hope this gives you an insight on what leadership at Fuqua and MMS is about. To end with, let me leave you with a quote I personally believe in:

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn