The Chinese Traditional Art station was bustling with activity as students flocked to try their hand at calligraphy and hand-fan drawing. Sister Liu and her food truck added to the festivities by serving mouth-watering dumplings, while the old fairy tales about the Chinese New Year and the lantern riddles drew crowds eager to win Fuqua merchandise. The event would not be such a blast without the amazing volunteers like Iris and Brianna, but when I first started putting up the MMS Chinese New Year Carnival, I didn’t expect it would be one of the proudest accomplishments in my life.

Gary Cui, volunteers, MMS fellows, and MMS leaders pose for photo at Chinese New Year event

As a proud graduate of the inaugural class of Duke Kunshan University, a young liberal arts institution, I learned how to infuse diversity, critical thinking, and leadership into my career. I initially joined Fuqua’s MMS program for its business skills and prestigious education, but I found an incubator for student leaders, united by the Team Fuqua spirit.

Serving as a Student-Leader

At Fuqua, being a student-leader not only allows us to create memorable experiences and make a positive impact on our cohort, but it also provides an opportunity to showcase our leadership skills.

Being voted as an MMS fellow was a turning point in my life. Our group of nine diverse individuals was a dynamic mix of backgrounds, personalities, and strengths. During our first retreat in Chapel Hill, I was amazed at the diversity of our group. Our StrengthsFinder reports showed a wide range of expertise, making diversity our biggest asset. Working as a team, we pulled off events ranging from winter formal, a trampoline park night, a ski trip in West Virginia, philanthropy events like the MMS Food Bank, and events like the Diwali celebration or Chinese New Year Carnival where we can proudly advocate for our culture.

Gary Cui and other MMS fellows take photo in photo booth at MMS Winter Formal

Giving Back to My Community

I had the opportunity to connect with an industry leader and MMS alumna who now works at PwC. She told me that by sharing your experience with those who need it, you can constantly reflect on yourself and become a better leader. Inspired by her, I have been driven to give back to my community by serving as an admissions ambassador. As a student panelist, I had the privilege of sharing my Fuqua experience with prospective students and inspiring them to join the Fuqua community. This experience has added new meaning to my journey at Fuqua and has elevated my personal growth.

Dean Bill Boulding has highlighted the significance of the decency quotient (DQ), in addition to intellectual and emotional intelligence. He defines DQ as having a “focus on doing right by others.” And I believe this embodies the Fuqua leadership style, which nurtures empathetic students to become leaders who can uplift themselves and those around them in the community. The experiences and opportunities at Fuqua have been transformative for me as a small-town boy from China. I am deeply grateful for the chance to be a part of this vibrant and supportive community and for the ways it has helped me grow into the leader I am today.