What is Team Fuqua?

six students seated around a table, collaborating on work embodies the answer to "What is Team Fuqua?"

Team Fuqua. It’s a term you constantly hear in our community. Ask for a definition and a hundred people will tell you a hundred stories to illustrate what it means to them.

Synthesizing these stories, in my view, and more importantly, in the eyes of the corporate community, Team Fuqua is a way of working. It’s the instinct to draw out strengths in others to move a team forward toward a common goal. It’s core to our DNA, and the drive to develop that instinct in our community infuses everything we do. That instinct also helps our alumni excel in companies all over the world.

Why is the Team Fuqua style of working so impactful? There is a saying of disputed origin: “To go fast, go alone. To go far, go together.” We have nothing against individual success—it’s important. However, a great team will always beat a great individual, no matter how talented. 

We would go a step further and say that the more diverse that team, the better the results. Academic research has shown that diverse teams outperform ones in which members are all alike—if each member identifies with the team and has a sense of belonging.

Therefore, we believe that it’s essential that future business leaders be able to unlock the power that lies in difference. Bringing out the best in others isn’t just a nice approach to work, it’s a winning business strategy. In fact, it’s the secret sauce to meaningful collaboration that leads to true innovation. Innovation happens when people who have differing perspectives and experiences come together to approach problems and new thinking emerges. 

Harnessing the power of teams requires leadership that appreciates the strength in difference and encourages authenticity so everyone is bringing their full self to the team. That commitment to valuing difference is at the heart of Team Fuqua.

Let me give you an example of Team Fuqua in action.

A few years back a research firm interviewed several recruiters about the value of Fuqua graduates. One of the companies shared the following. At a certain stage in this firm’s recruiting process, the best candidates are brought together and given a problem to solve. Because it’s a job interview, each candidate naturally tries to position the exercise in a way that highlights his or her own strengths. However, the recruiter shared that Fuqua students are very different. Instead of pointing to their own capabilities, they focus on figuring out what each of the other people participating in the exercise brings to the table that can make the team successful. Fuqua students start with building relationships and finding the best way to solve the problem collectively.

The recruiter highly valued that approach. Ironically, by allowing other people to shine the Fuqua candidates were the brightest stars in the eyes of this company. We’ve heard similar stories from companies all over the globe.

We’re proud that our graduates are the leaders people want to work for—the ones that capture the hearts, minds, and hands of the organization. Team Fuqua isn’t a tagline or marketing scheme—it’s a way of working that is making a difference well beyond our own community.

Bill Boulding, dean of the Duke Fuqua School of Business

Bill Boulding

Dean

I feel lucky every day to be dean and have the opportunity to lead this... Read More

Learn more about Bill | View all of Bill's Posts