Class of 2014
"Prior to business school, I lived in San Francisco and worked within a niche role at a big bank, monitoring and providing risk mitigating strategies against money laundering and terrorist financing activities within the bank's overall client portfolio."
Prior to business school, I lived in San Francisco and worked within a niche role at a big bank, monitoring and providing risk mitigating strategies against money laundering and terrorist financing activities within the bank's overall client portfolio. While there, I was provided ample opportunities to invest in my own edification, leading to a role as a blogger for Wells Fargo's student loan site and a social media marketing role at a local startup. I loved living in the Bay Area, climbing those hills and watching the fog roll in and out while going to local jazz clubs or camping out in a sports bar to catch some NBA action. My family is from Algeria, so I go back as often as possible to get my fill of couscous and tagine!
Why I Chose Fuqua
At Fuqua, we are part of a community that encourages learning along a continuum. Of course, we learn the necessary business toolkits and frameworks within marketing, strategy, finance, and statistics. People look to MBAs to attack and struggle with the thorny issues, for those questions they can't answer in a Google search. The Fuqua toolkit I've learned in my classes—sales practices, negotiation techniques, and building forecasting models—has enabled me to consider business problems like generating valuations of creative content and analyzing audience metrics, which are key skills to possess in the entertainment industry.
But more importantly, at Fuqua we learn from one another, as we provide our teammates with actionable feedback in COLE meetings or help each other climb walls in the woods on hot summer days. I've found that the people Fuqua attracts are the most valuable asset to the program, as these are the peers you can count on to lead Week-in-Cities trips to Silicon Valley or single-handedly organize a sports symposium. Your peers will be selfless. I received candid insight and advice from second years about their internship experiences at companies of interest; I received emails during winter break from career buddies inquiring as to my progress with resume drops and how they can help me connect to recruiters.
Team Fuqua: collaboration is not just about coming together for the sake of an assignment. We truly recognize that teams can accomplish more than individuals, and we learn techniques in class that we actively put into practice to uncover the best ideas and implement them.
To sum it up, I came to Fuqua to be surrounded by a community of peers who never expect to stop learning from each other.
Leadership Attribute: Humility
As a leader, it's important to know what you don't know. I am reminded of something echoed by J.B. Fuqua: "I never learned anything when I was talking." Being a leader of consequence means knowing that I will not have the answer to every challenge thrown my way, and that I must set aside my ego to bridge the gap and benefit from the skills and knowledge of others. At Fuqua, you will adopt a dual role of teammate and leader from the moment you step foot on campus. Tackling the challenges you used to approach individually now become a team effort. As a result, it may take more time, more negotiating, more placating, and more sensitivity to arrive at an actionable solution, but we learn from the experience that the solution we settle on as a team is more complete and polished than the sum of our individual efforts. This is because of the humility of our teammates, a foundational quality of any leader of consequence that builds both credibility and objectivity in the face of hurdles.
Five Random Things about Me
- I'm obsessed with life hacks: mustard-grilled burgers with chopped chilies at In 'N Out and Thin Mint Fraps at Starbuck's are a few of my favorite ways to buck the tradition.
- I have just about come to saturation on movies watched from the Ford Library DVD reserves: despite the heavy demands of Fall terms 1 & 2, I managed to watch 1 film per night…ask me for recommendations!
- I may have been a CIA operative in my previous life. I am completely self-taught in picking locks, reading lips, and throwing knives. Or maybe I watched too much Sunday night Alias growing up.
- My favorite book is Le Petit Prince, and I try to read it every couple of months to remind myself of the messages and dive back into the unadulterated imagination that characterizes Saint-Exupéry's writing.
- My most played song on iTunes is "We All Try" by Frank Ocean.
What I Love About Durham
It's a small town: you are bound to run into a classmate at most of the places you may venture to, so it really feels like home. It's a friendly place—your local café barista will serve you a cup of Joe along with recommendations for cowboy boots. And along one of the main streets of Durham, within 1 block, I can get Peruvian, Italian, or French food, a mean burrito, and a Moscow Mule.
Other undercover pieces of Durham are all the local businesses that have set up shop in the converted spaces of old cotton and tobacco mills. It lends the town a unique charm when you walk into a local brewery—of which there are a substantial number in Durham—and enjoy a beer amid the exposed beams, bricks, and huge windows.
Finally, I'm a big fan of hiking and soaking up fresh air, which I can get in abundance out by the quarries and wooded trails around Durham. Due to the mostly mild weather, hiking is a year-round activity for Dukies.
Advice for Prospective Students
Fuqua offers unprecedented flexibility in its curriculum, allowing students to start pursuing more specialized study as early as January of the first year. This is a huge benefit to Fuqua students as they embark on the summer internship interview process, because during interviews we are able to show that we applied knowledge and gained expertise from projects in our fundamental courses as well as some electives. Furthermore, the Management Communications sequence is a one-of-a-kind experience in oration, providing students a 2-term sequence in which we really master the art of delivering persuasive presentations via video recordings and constant feedback from our peers.