As a student at Fuqua, I was immediately drawn to the school’s team-oriented culture, Team Fuqua, which is embedded in the community’s DNA. However, I wanted to do something more for my classmates, something that would help bring us closer together and create long-lasting memories for everyone. That’s when I decided to take on a leadership role within the finance track. The application process was simple yet competitive, requiring a slide PowerPoint presentation demonstrating my qualifications and reasons for running for the position. After putting my heart and soul into the slide development, I nervously waited for the final results. To my surprise and elation, I was elected as the MQM Association’s (MQMA) finance track chair on the last day of final exams during the summer term.

As the finance track chair, I’m passionate about using my position to create a sense of community among my classmates. I want to inspire and empower my peers to work together towards shared goals and create unforgettable experiences we’ll all cherish for years. My hope is that my enthusiasm and leadership skills will help bring our class closer and make our time at Fuqua truly memorable.

School-Work-Life Balance

Becoming a student leader in a fast-paced master’s program is not easy whatsoever. It requires an unwavering commitment to time management, balancing academic work, student activities, and, most importantly, self-care. I’ve developed a rigorous routine with an early morning workout to keep myself on track. I then spend 15 minutes mapping out my schedule for the day and week ahead, allowing me to manage up to 90% of my work efficiently and effectively. The remaining 10% is where the real challenge lies, with team assignments, event coordination, and creating engaging activities for my classmates. But I’ve learned to break these complex tasks into small, achievable goals and tackle them throughout the week to stay on track. I also ensure I have interval breaks built into my daily schedule; for instance, I usually take a 10-minute break in the early afternoon to ensure I am refreshed and charged for the rest of the day.

Having a growth mindset is integral for me; therefore, I keep a weekly diary where I reflect on my progress and challenges, finding solutions to keep myself on the path towards success. These habits mentioned and my natural morning person tendencies have become my secret weapons for achieving balance and maximizing my time as a student leader.

Track-Specific Activities

At Fuqua, being a student leader means creating opportunities for your classmates to have memorable experiences they will treasure for years. As the finance track chair, I took this responsibility to heart and organized some of the semester’s most fun and exciting activities. I started by asking my classmates for their input on what activities they wanted to participate in, and the response was overwhelming. One of the most popular requests was a karaoke night, and I was determined to make it happen. After weeks of coordination with the MQMA and a vendor, the big night finally arrived. I felt a rush of excitement as I saw more than 80 students from different tracks come together for an unforgettable night of singing and laughter. As we belted out nostalgic hits like “We Are Young” by fun., featuring Janelle Monáe, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for the opportunity to create such a fun and memorable experience for my classmates.

Students in the finance track in the MQM program at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business attend a karaoke night event
Me (front left) with all participants in K-Mix Karaoke, March of 2023

As a student leader, I love seeing my classmates come together for fun and friendly competition. Having noticed many of the MQM students, particularly from the finance track, enjoy playing ping pong during breaks and sometimes after school. I decided to organize a ping pong tournament for the finance track, which turned out to be a massive hit. With 20 students signed up, we had fierce matches and much cheering. But it wasn’t just about winning or losing—it was about having a great time together as a class. To top it off, we decided to give back to the Fuqua community by donating a brand-new pair of paddles and three ping pong balls. Contributing something meaningful to our school and leaving a legacy behind felt fantastic. Seeing the smiles on my classmates’ faces and knowing that we made a difference in the community was truly priceless.

Winston Zhong and ten other students participate in the finance track ping pong tournment and take group photo in the Fox Center at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business
Me (back middle) with all participants of the finance track ping pong tournament, February of 2023

Leaving a Legacy Behind

Reciprocity is the foundation of leaving a meaningful legacy. As we work towards creating unforgettable memories at Fuqua, we must remember that it’s not about what we receive but what we give. By selflessly contributing to the community and helping our peers grow, we could and will establish a culture of reciprocity that will create an upward momentum for everyone to thrive long after graduation. As we strive to leave a positive mark on the world, we must also remember that the most enduring legacy is fabricated on selflessness and mutual support. Let’s work together to create a legacy that inspires future MQM classes to do the same!

Me and my finance track classmates in the Fox Center under the Christmas Tree
Me and my finance track classmates in the Fox Center under the Christmas Tree, December of 2022