There are many ways in which I hope to contribute to the Duke community, as a student in the MBA program. First of all, I am eager to play a strong role in my first-year Consequential Leadership (C-LEAD) team. While enhancing my collaboration skills, I envision bringing both my experience as an Air Force team leader, leading a squad of soldiers who specialized in advanced tactical communication equipment; and as a product development engineer, a role in which I collaborated with engineers from different countries. I believe that these roles have combined to provide me unique insight that can benefit my teammates.
As my short-term career goal is to become a product manager in the Internet of Things (IoT Tech), I plan to take on a leadership role in the Tech Club, and to become involved in several activities within the auspices of the club.
First, I plan to leverage Duke’s location in the Triangle area to create events focused on the field of IoT, such as “Tech Talks.” Among our guests could be industry experts, such as Kevin Ashton, who not only cofounded the Auto-ID Center at MIT but actually coined the phrase “the Internet of Things.” This will allow my classmates and I to deepen our knowledge of this emergent and fast-growing field that will affect the way we work, connect and live in the future. I plan to leverage my connections at my current employer, which has two branches in Raleigh, to bring experts from the company to talk in the school as well; an opportunity for students to both gain knowledge and meet a potential employer.
Also under the auspices of the tech club, I believe I can help the students who are interested in a career in high tech to gain additional exposure to the field. Towards this end, I plan to organize a tech trek to Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area through “Week-in-Cities,” as well as to arrange company visits to conglomerates such as Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM and Microsoft.
Furthermore, I envision using my experience at my current employer, where I interviewed potential hires, to help fellow students applying for positions in the field of technology prepare for their interviews.
I will definitely seek to be an active organizer of the Annual Fuqua Startup Nation event. There my fellow classmates can hear stories of the various stakeholders who are responsible for making my country one of the largest global innovation hubs. We will bring notable speakers from startup companies based in the US, which will be a fantastic networking opportunity in which students will gain exposure to internship and fulltime employment opportunities.
One of, if not the, most meaningful volunteer activity I was involved with in my life was volunteering to design a volunteer program at my current employer, which was targeted to improve involvement of high school students from weak areas/cities such as the city where I grew up in, in the STEM fields. The idea was to gather a group of motivated engineers who would help these students to improve their English and mathematical skills, as well as to mentor the more dedicated students to enter and compete in regional and national competitions, in which contestants built drones to compete with other teams, and the national Cyber competition, sponsored by the Ministry of Education. The latter was a competition that increased students’ knowledge of coding and – more importantly – taught them the importance of meeting challenges as a group. One of my teams even reached the finals in this event.
At Duke, I plan to apply these skills by organizing programs through the Net Impact, to support local high schools by organizing a group of Fuqua students to teach courses about Technology and entrepreneurship.
From speaking to current students and alumni, I am looking forward to take part in the activities Duke has to offer besides the professional clubs.
One example of this is snowboarding, a hobby I’ve loved for the past 5 years, as much for the après ski at the end of the day as for the thrill of soaring down mountains at lightning speed. I’ve traveled each winter to Europe for snowboarding, and I’m excited to experience the annual winter ski trips from Duke, and the annual 80s party at the summit.
Furthermore, because I did not attend a sport-dominated school and am not familiar with basketball culture, I eagerly look forward to the traditional “Camp out” event I have heard so much about, seeing Coach K, forming a team with my classmates, renting equipment, and participating in the activities. I am sure we will survive for those 36 hours and get those seasonal passes.
For all of these reasons, I am confident that Duke is the best program to support my future goals while giving me the personal fulfillment to contribute to the society and my classmates by being a part of Team Fuqua.