Duke - The Fuqua School of Business

James Williams

Class of 2010

Because I was in the role of chief liaison between students and administration, I had the opportunity to work with so many people at Fuqua. They're very accessible and visible, from the faculty all the way up to the dean. It's extraordinary.

Well Rounded Education

I'm the youngest of three, and I grew up with my mom in a single-parent household. In my immediate family, I'm a first generation college student and only the third in my extended family to earn a master's.

I went into college thinking that I would pursue business and political science. But I didn't, and I'm happy that I didn't. The classes I took instead, in African American and Women Studies, allowed me to explore other ways of thinking and helped me improve my writing and qualitative skills. The MMS program, on the other hand, helped me develop my quantitative skills. I now have a complementary skill set, which makes me more well rounded.

Why the MMS Program

I started looking into business programs because I wanted a career change. I wasn't quite ready for an MBA, but I was interested in pursuing business education. While interviewing at a competitor of the MMS program, I actually heard really positive news about Fuqua's program and I applied immediately.

I ultimately decided to come to Fuqua because of Duke's international brand recognition and its rank among other top business schools. I knew the program would be hard, but that it would be worth it. The fact that it was the first class was also appealing because I liked the idea of being able to help shape the program.

Family Experience

All my family is in North Carolina, and I met my wife when we were both in high school. My wife was welcomed by the entire Fuqua community. She attended many Fuqua events, like Fuqua Fridays; and she was able to get to know many of my classmates. She even met a number of the school's deans and professors. I can say that she felt at home in the company of Fuquans. She, too, is now a fan of Fuqua!

First Class Structure

Some of my most memorable moments during the program happened with the MMS Association (MMSA). I took the chance to run for president, and my classmates chose me for the position. I was literally learning the position as I was leading the class. It was a challenge like no other because of the mere fact that we were the first. I can honestly say it was the most challenging leadership position I've ever had, and it taught me a lot about myself and my leadership style.

Because I was in the role of chief liaison between students and administration, I had the opportunity to work with many people at Fuqua. They're very accessible and visible, from the faculty all the way up to the dean. It's extraordinary. It's so unlike undergrad where you're in a class with 300 people and you can maybe meet your professor once face-to-face during the semester. It also became clear that the people who work at Fuqua do so because they want to—they sincerely care about it—it's not just a job. And, many are Fuqua grads, like me.

I decided to intern at Fuqua in order to put my experience and knowledge of the MMS program to work in support of the growth of the program. My time as a student gives me a unique perspective and also valuable customer insight, which allows me to contribute in a very meaningful way.