Class of 2014
"Our adventure to Durham began when we left our families back home in Perth after selling our house, cars, and most of our belongings. Jessica and I moved here with just 2 suitcases each. Oh, and did I mention we'd never been to Durham or North Carolina, never visited Duke University, and had a lease on an apartment we'd never seen?"
I'm an Aussie and spent the first 29 years of my life living in Perth, in Western Australia. My biggest adventure so far was moving across the globe to Durham, North Carolina, in the USA. Joining me on this adventure is my partner of 7 years (and now fiancée), Jessica, a finance professional who loves shopping and good food.
I'm a sports industry professional, having worked in a number of different roles including communications, marketing, strategy, and project management during the past 8 years. I had the privilege of combining work with my passion for sports, and worked alongside some of Australia's highest profile athletes. The sports industry is where I see myself in the future, so I'm looking to continue along that path post-Fuqua.
Outside of sports, I'm obsessed with good coffee (espresso), I love talking politics and current affairs, and I don't mind a drop of single malt scotch, especially when it's with my Dad. Speaking of family, they are super important to me. I'm from a really tight knit family of 7, with 3 younger brothers and a younger sister, not to mention the extended family of grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins who were regularly around at our place for grilling and swimming in the pool.
Our adventure to Durham began when we left our families back home in Perth after selling our house, cars, and most of our belongings. Jessica and I moved here with just 2 suitcases each. Oh, and did I mention we'd never been to Durham or North Carolina, never visited Duke University, and had a lease on an apartment we'd never seen? Crazy, huh? Luckily, it all worked out better than we could have ever imagined.
Why I Chose Fuqua
The impression and feeling that I got of the place simply by researching online and talking with people matches the experiences I've had since arriving here in July 2012—that synergy is a big strength for Fuqua, Duke, and Durham.
Since we made the decision to come here from the other side of the globe, it was important to us to feel that the Durham, Duke, and Fuqua communities would be ones that we could really be a part of. We wanted to go somewhere that valued diversity, that had a great support network (particularly for partners), and that offered plenty to do. I've found that this area really has offered all this and more.
While lifestyle was important, it really didn't matter if the MBA program didn't offer a highly regarded academic program as well as the opportunity for significant personal development. The fact that Fuqua could offer a top 10 ranked program, and a team-focused environment that put high value on building lifelong relationships meant that it clearly made the cut for me.
In addition, given my background in sports and my desire to continue in that industry, it was important to me to go to a school with good athletics. Duke basketball clearly ticks this box. Coach K's connection with the business school via The Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics (COLE) was a huge plus in this area, as well as in terms of the personal development opportunities it offers. Our COLE Fellow, a second-year who has been highly trained in leadership and team dynamics, has guided me personally as well as my team to a really successful place in terms of the quality of our interactions, how we give and receive feedback and of course, the standard of our academic work.
I couldn't be happier that I am going to leave this place with a world-class business education, a group of incredible friends who will be a part of my life for years to come, and numerous opportunities to pursue my career and passion.
Leadership Attribute: Impact
A belief in the power of sports to stimulate positive change in individuals and communities is something that has developed deep inside me since I first picked up a field hockey stick after watching the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. From the simple wisdom imparted by my first hockey coach at age 10 ("You can't do it all by yourself, that's why you're a team") to the example set by Kieran Perkins winning gold in the 1,500m freestyle in Atlanta (never, ever give up) or Adam Gilchrist walking despite the umpire giving him not out in the 2003 Cricket World Cup (always be true to yourself), it is my own experiences with sports that have inspired my reason d'être. I am driven to help people be champions, to excel in their performance on the field and to inspire lasting positive change in their communities—changes in attitudes toward alcohol and drugs, and changes to help people live healthy, active lifestyles.
I did this by developing and implementing a partnership between the Western Australian Institute of Sport (an Olympic training center) and a local charity called Manna Industries. We provided breakfast at a school for children whose parents couldn't afford it, while also teaching the students life skills. From presenting this concept at the senior management level and drafting it as a strategic objective for the organization, to assessing potential charity partners and finalizing an MOU, to finally recruiting athletes and coaches to pilot the program, I passionately drove the project every step of the way. It came to fruition as I was applying to Fuqua and now continues in my absence. The athletes who participate in the program are role models to children who have never been told to reach for the stars or told that something better is out there if they work hard for it. These athletes give their own time to ensure an underprivileged school kid is getting a serving of Wheaties together with a side serving of positive self-esteem. The athletes now regularly go to schools in low socio-economic areas to setup the breakfast clubs for the start of the morning before then sitting down to the first meal of the day with the school children. The casual, safe environment enables the athletes to share important life skills like the importance of eating healthy, being physically active, and pursuing goals as they share a bowl of cereal or fruit. To cap it all off, they then head to the playground and lead the morning fitness routine for the school, putting some of their advice into practice.
This partnership will continue to have positive impacts for years to come, and this is something I am immensely proud of.
Five Random Things About Me
- My hyphenated surname isn't a combination of my parents' surnames. It comes from my Grandfather (Dad's Dad), who added "Moore" to the family name "Crouch" to honor a colleague who had a significant impact on his life.
- My nickname back in Australia is Sally. It was given to me by my field hockey teammates as I apparently reminded them of a blond haired, fair skinned female Olympic rower who was famous for collapsing during an Olympic final (I had a habit of spending a lot of time on the ground during our matches).
- I moved out of my parents' home for the first time when I was 26, and my girlfriend and I bought a house together. Prior to that I lived at home with parents, sister, and 3 brothers! Durham is only the second place I've ever lived.
- One of my dream jobs is to be a barista at a funky local coffee bar. I love coffee, and the idea of being able to make amazing espressos every morning for a group of loyal customers who share interesting stories always appeals to me.
- My guilty pleasure is the TV show The OC. I owned all the DVD box sets back home as well as the complete soundtrack. One of my Fuqua classmates told me she has the DVDs here in Durham, so I know what I'll be doing before I start my internship this summer …
What I Love About Durham
My absolute favorite thing about Durham is the food! There are so many great places to eat here. From Mexican, to pizza, tapas, and just good old pub food, plus there is always someone to go out to dinner with, whether it's your partner or a group of mates from Fuqua.
Some of my favorites are:
- Bull City Burger and Brewery: Amazing burgers made from all organic, locally farmed produce. They even brew their own beer on site. Oh, and don't forget the pickle chips = incredible!
- Nanataco: A nice, chill Mexican place which is a spin off from one of Durham's best fine dining restaurants. The nachos are incredible.
- The Q-Shack: You can't come to North Carolina without indulging in some BBQ. The chile rubbed pork is sensational, while the mac and cheese also can't be beat. Just don't eat for a day beforehand, the servings are huge.
- Parker and Otis: An eclectic coffee and sandwich place which doubles as a housewares store and wine shop. Some of the best coffee in Durham served in a great atmosphere. My partner says the shrimp BLT is to die for.
The Impact of Team Fuqua
Triangle Training Day was a special day in my Fuqua experience. I guess you could say that it was the day that I officially passed the entrance exam to become a Fuquan.
I didn't have to pick up a pen or piece of paper.
I didn't have to make a presentation.
I had to scale a 14 foot (2.5m) flat faced wall in the middle of the North Carolina woods with the help of 35 of my section 2 teammates, and assist them all to do the same. The wall climbing experience is a Fuqua MBA tradition that has spanned more than 20 years, and it's the highlight of our day with Triangle Training. It was an incredible experience to plan and then execute to get 35 diverse people over the wall in the fastest possible time, taking into account a series of rules and regulations.
Our group had people of all shapes and sizes, from all four corners of the globe, men and women, different religions, varied work and family backgrounds and most importantly, a wide array of confidence and fear of the task at hand. From an initial feeling of enormity at the task we attacked it and molded our differences into a powerful team that carried the hesitant (both literally and figuratively!) and enabled the confident to shine.
It truly was an inspiring 7 minutes and 28 seconds as everyone pitched in to ensure that the team succeeded at a task that minutes before, seemed too high to overcome. The inspiration didn't finish there though, as the Duke Fuqua Facebook page lit up following the sharing of a photo showing one of the Class of 2014's sections attempting to scale the wall, complete with arms over the edge reaching out for the hand of a fellow classmate as they inched their way up the sheer face. It lit up with posts from Fuquans from years past recalling their own wall scaling feats and the significance of the experience in their Fuqua journey. It lit up with the bond that we Class of 2014ers now share with our fellow Fuquans—a rite of passage that opens the door further into Team Fuqua. A door that opens further to reveal another challenge, another step on the journey of discovery and another connection into this collection of incredible people past and present who can call themselves Fuquans.