An essential value of the Fuqua School of Business for me is culture and community, which once embraced, leave you a part of this big family for the rest of your life. This is a great honor for me, and I am glad my classmates and I went through everything together. It’s hard to imagine where we would be today if it were not for Duke University and Team Fuqua because this detail of our lives has become so dear and essential. After all, without all this, we would be different.

If I had given myself advice a year ago, I would have said, “Spend even more time with people, because very often, the most brilliant decisions are born during cooperation.” This is what Fuqua taught me and what I will carry throughout my life.

A year ago, the idea of me, an international student, soon-to-be among the brightest and most promising students from all over the world seemed unrealistic and scary. Precisely speaking, the unknown was frightening. Since it was challenging for me to get a visa during the pandemic, I had to travel around several countries. Some parts of the journey took more than 12 hours by car. If I try to calculate the whole amount of time I spent on the trip, it would be more than 50 hours. It’s not easy to leave your home and drive half the world for your dream. But it’s worth it. When I obtained the visa and held a Moscow to New York ticket in my hands, I could not believe this was happening to me. 

From professors and faculty to students, being surrounded by such capable and extraordinary people, you want to grow and improve. At first, I had difficulty with the language, but thanks to Pratik, Lauren, Diviya, and Jacob from my first learning team and all the members of my second team, I became a much less shy person and communicated more confidently. These folks seriously showed me what teamwork means, where each person, having talents of various kinds, can add their impact to the fruit of joint efforts. The art is finding the superpower of each team member, listening to each other, and being ready to learn new things along the way to achieve a result.

During my studies, for the first time, I met so many talented, aspiring, genuinely kind, sympathetic, energetic people, who intend to achieve record heights in life: Katya, Noman, Marco, Layo, Max, Nick, Frank, Many, MM, Juan, Juni, Arda, Madhup, Tyson, Angel, Bhavya, Shweta, Proneet, Ayo, Riddhi and many more. Firstly, all these people are united by empathy. They all have hearts of gold. These are the people I can genuinely rely on, who taught me how to be more open and happy. 

Lev and three classmates dressed in formal attire at a social event

Together we had fun, studied, and went to various events. The keyword is together. If you guys are reading thisthank you. Bright moments spent with you will remain in my memory forever.

Especially in these difficult days, it is essential to be able to hear each other, to be global, and always remember: we, alumni, are responsible for the future of this world. Our task is to keep in touch and continue applying everything we learned from each other, what professors and faculty taught us to carry this culture of peace and global cooperation. 

Historically, Duke has many graduates worldwide who associate themselves with the global world and the global economy one way or another. I believe the future of this world is in safe hands as long as we know and remember the importance of keeping these boundaries open, continue to talk to people, and try to assume responsibility for our actions and how they can influence the world economy, bringing positive changes.

Thank you, family and friends. Thank you, Team Fuqua. Thank you, world. We did it!