Robin ten Kate

MBA '03

Operations Manager
Capital One Small Business

What do you do professionally?

I work at Capital One in Operations managing the GM co-brand credit card.  In this role, I ensure all operational processes to acquire and manage credit cards are running smoothly.

What is the most enjoyable part of your job?

My background is in process engineering, and I really enjoy creating business processes that are efficient and well managed.  I find that having poorly managed processes will generate errors and additional work, and by creating good processes and process management overall, operational cost is reduced.

What is the biggest challenge you face?

My company recently purchased a large credit card portfolio which included the employees of the company.  Currently my biggest challenge is integrating the employees and process into Capital One.  This is complicated by each company having unique cultures and employees being across multiple locations.

What sorts of interesting places has your position taken you? Do you have a favorite?

In my career, I have been able to travel to multiple countries in Europe and Asia.  The most interesting place I have been to is India.  I found the culture, history and the architecture to be fascinating, and I look forward to returning.

What is the best professional advice you've received?

Find a job that you love.  You will be much happier in life and much more successful in your career if you are working in a role that you are passionate about.

Aside from your current role, what is your dream job?

My dream would be owning my own company.  I love the idea of building a company from scratch and creating value for customers and jobs for employees. 

What do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, but I have a hard time finding time to get on the water as much as I would like.  I also play indoor soccer on an adult league where I get to have much younger players embarrass me on a weekly basis.  Finally, I love continuing to volunteer at Duke.  I have served on Fuqua's Alumni Council where I acted as vice chair and chair and also served two years on Fuqua's Board of Visitors.  Currently, I serve on the Duke Alumni Association Board of Directors.

What is the most important thing you learned during your time at Fuqua?

I learned the value of team work.  So many classes used teams to enhance the learning, and this really mirrors the professional environment.  For any project in a professional setting, you quickly find out that you cannot do it on your own.  Attending a business school which heavily leverages the team structure was a huge benefit to beginning work at a company that realizes the importance of teamwork in the business environment.

Who was your favorite professor?

My favorite professor was Jennifer Francis.  I really like her teaching style, the passion that she brought into the classroom and how she shared relevant research with her class.

What is your favorite Fuqua memory?

My favorite memories were working with my team late into the night to complete and perfect a project.  This was always followed by a beer (or two).  On second thought, maybe it was the beer and not the project work that was my favorite memory.

What does Team Fuqua mean to you?

To me, Team Fuqua means that we can achieve amazing things as a group rather than individuals.  It means leveraging our teammates' strengths and using our own strengths to help the team.  It also means that we can learn from our teammates not only in a learning environment, but also professionally.