As program coordinator for the Master of Quantitative Management (MQM) program, I have the opportunity to work with students in many capacities. One of my favorites includes working with students with a desire to expand their leadership development skills. Within the MQM program, students have the chance to work on their leadership skills in a variety of ways, both through formal and informal leadership opportunities. In my role, I work extensively with the MQM Association or MQMA.

MQMA is viewed as MQM’s student government and is made up of 10 positions, including:

  • Four Track Chairs (one for each track)
  • Communication Chair
  • Student Engagement Chair
  • Treasurer
  • Wellness Chair
  • Service Chair
  • Judicial representatives

Each of these positions has its own unique responsibilities with the universal goal of better serving MQM students and enhancing the MQM experience through event planning, student engagement, and class representation with faculty.

When students apply to be a part of MQMA, they write about why they are ideal candidates for the role. However, they often do not realize the personal growth and challenges they will face in their MQMA role. The best part about what I do is helping and witnessing our student’s growth and development.

Lessons in Planning and Execution

When students start their role in MQMA, they are given free rein on what type of events they want to plan. This freedom comes as a blessing and a curse for our students as they are often challenged with moving their ideas into execution. Plans to visit local breweries, host campus tours and create game nights seem great until they face the challenges of event planning. Members of MQMA learn how to reserve rooms at Fuqua, book buses for events off campus, order large catering orders, create sign-ups for space-limited events, and consider all possible obstacles that may occur during their event. At first, it can be difficult to juggle all of these details on top of being full-time students. However, with some light guidance, they always find a way to make these events happen with great success.

This year’s MQMA planned dozens of events, including pizza and game nights, a Spring formal, bowling, a movie night at AMC, and even a goat yoga session. To say they go above and beyond what is expected of them is an understatement.

Becoming Better Speakers and Listeners

Students develop their communication skills and ability to work within a large team as the year goes on. Members who start off being shy learn how to voice their own concerns and opinions, while others acquire the skill of listening to their peers before speaking.

MQM student leaders and program staff of Duke University's Fuqua School of Business attend professional development experience at Epcot in Disney World

A way in which the MQM program encourages leadership growth within MQMA is by hosting a Professional Development Experience at Epcot in Disney. The goal for this trip is to deepen working relationships, enhance friendships, and further develop students’ leadership skills among themselves. During their time at Epcot, they learn about Disney’s five core values, engage in hypothetical small group client projects, participate in an activity where they assign employees to different roles based on their personality type and attend a Q&A with one of the leaders at Epcot. With the added benefit of being able to explore Epcot as a tourist, I have found that students come back from this trip with a closer bond with each other and a new perspective on what leadership is within the context of MQMA.

By the end of the year, I feel grateful for the opportunity to work with such passionate, caring and intelligent students. I am reminded of the lifelong impact MQMA has on the MQM class each year and that learning often takes place inside and outside the classroom for our student leaders.