Building a career in pharma and biotech has given me a chance to do what I love—work with great people that share a common vision and the drive to make a difference.  When I entered the Global Executive MBA program at Duke, I was looking for an opportunity to be challenged and better equipped for this rapidly-evolving industry, but the experience has provided so much more than that.  

Working alongside my classmates—a cohort of talented and dedicated business leaders from across the globe who work in a variety of industries—revealed that there is always more to learn about the world, business, and our role as agents of change. Now, with three demanding yet rewarding terms, and residencies in North American, South America and the Middle East behind us, what better time to reflect on a few highlights and gear up for what’s to come?  

Building Global Perspective

Our residencies are an opportunity to be immersed in the cultures of regions across the world. Guided by former U.S. Ambassadors Patrick Duddy and David Litt, our Global Immersion Experience (GIX) course, complemented by Global Markets and Institutions (GMI), shined a light on how political and economic differences affect society, business, and leadership. From stops at the Chilean Stock Exchange and the U.S. Embassy to the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, we connected with leaders in government and business to learn how regions work to be relevant and competitive on the global stage while also preserving elements of tradition and history.

Me (left) presenting Ambassador Bernadette Meehan with a gift from our class
Me (left) presenting Ambassador Bernadette Meehan with a gift from our class

While religion, politics, and similar topics are often considered taboo in the workplace, these experiences instead show that having an awareness and appreciation for differing values can inform business decisions on a global scale.

Learning as a Shared Experience

Lessons in the curriculum are just the beginning of the learning experience in the program. In Dubai, we spoke to members of Fuqua’s Middle East & Africa Regional Advisory Board, a team of alumni and other influential business leaders in the region, about the twists and turns of their careers. Their non-linear paths show that an anchored vision of our future may be limiting, and instead, being open to change and perseverance are essential to set an entirely new personal trajectory.

Me (left) and my classmates in Dubai
Me (right) and my classmates in Dubai

Success, when viewed through this new lens, is nuanced and ever-changing, as are the types of businesses we are involved in and the standards we adhere to. This is a lesson realized through shared experiences with classmates and the vast Team Fuqua network available to us, both during the program and for a lifetime after.

Illuminating a New World

The Global Executive MBA program helps build and perfect the technical skills that are essential to our business performance. More importantly, we apply these skills to a range of industries through collaboration, providing us with a broad perspective informed by our unique experiences.

From energy to technology to finance (and more), tackling complex business cases for industries outside our area of expertise reveals that many business challenges are universal. This insight has illuminated a new world of opportunities, inspired what is shaping into a new chapter in my career, and equipped my classmates and me with the outlook we need to be leaders of consequence.