Joe Euteneuer, '11
"…If [you] want the core building blocks of business, along with global knowledge, then Duke would be a great home for 15 months."
I spent 6 years as a Certified Public Accountant working for Deloitte & Touche and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. In 1984, I became President and COO of a snack food startup, LaCanasta, and helped to get it financially ready to be sold.
Upon leaving LaCanasta, I worked in the telecommunications industry for Storer Communications as VP of Finance. Storer was bought out by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and then 3 years later was bought by Comcast. I spent 14 years at Comcast in 2 different roles, each one taking on increased financial responsibilities. Looking for a new challenge, I took a position as EVP and CFO of XM Radio, when the satellite radio industry was new. At XM, I soon learned they only had enough money to survive for 100 days. To give us breathing room to grow our business, I was able to strike a deal with GM and private equity firms to invest in our company. Five years later, we found ourselves with 20 million customers. I worked with XM until their merger with Sirius Radio in 2008. I then went on to work at Qwest Communications and was instrumental in their merger with Century Link. After 2 ½ years at Century Link, I was hired as the CFO at Sprint, where I've been since 2011.
For me, getting an MBA was about accomplishing a personal goal. I had always talked to my kids about the value and importance of education and by pursuing an MBA I was showing them my commitment.
Although I had already achieved great professional success, the MBA allowed me to gain a new perspective on managing, team building, and global business perspectives I can bring to my staff and peers. Right now, there are global changes happening in the accounting profession. We are just a few years away from full consolidation to an international standard in which all public companies will have to report with one standard. This is just one more way business is becoming so interconnected.
Within my teams at Fuqua, I realized that it's important to know where everyone in the group is coming from, and that we needed to be very clear about how we were going to complete assignments. I learned that clear communication is critical in a team environment and it must be a two way street to ensure a mature understanding.
I wanted to get more than tactical things, like accounting and marketing, out of my MBA --I wanted to get a global perspective on business. I found that all the readings, cases, and text books were great, but what truly solidified my learnings were the interactions with my teams and the larger class.
I think for people looking into an MBA program, if they want to just be better in finance, then a more traditional school would be the way to go. But if they want the core building blocks of business, along with global knowledge, then Duke would be a great home for 15 months because of its diverse and accomplished student body, the exceptional professors, and the five 2-week international residencies.