An update from the Minority Alumni Advisory Board

Chair Mark Williams MBA '96 and Vice Chair Tyrone Thomas MBA '04 sent an update to the underrepresented minority community in late December about the Minority Alumni Advisory Board's activities in 2013 and plans for 2014. Below is a copy of that communication.

Dear Fuqua alumni,

In late November, members of Fuqua's Minority Alumni Advisory Board gathered in Durham for our fall meeting and the 31st annual Duke MBA Workshop for Minority Applicants. The meeting was an exciting time for us to gather with fellow alumni, interact with Fuqua's faculty and staff, engage with current students, discuss the accomplishments of the board, and plan for our future. While on campus we also had the opportunity to celebrate the tenure of Professor Ashleigh Rosette and hear her present some of her research.

Fuqua's Minority Alumni Advisory Board is structured to engage with the school in three areas—admissions, careers, and development and alumni relations. We write today to share our 2013 accomplishments and ask for your participation and support in the year ahead.   

Task force chair: Brian Bell, Daytime MBA '05

2013 Accomplishments:

  • Yield Enhancement Strategy (Y.E.S.) Program – Engaged approximately 40 alumni ambassadors for diversity recruitment in our Y.E.S. program, which connects alumni volunteers with newly-admitted minority MBA candidates. Alumni contact the prospective students to share their experiences and to encourage them to accept their admissions offers from Fuqua.
  • Diversity Information Sessions – Supported Fuqua's admissions office by serving as hosts and panelists for Diversity Information Sessions in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC.
  • Blue Devil Weekend Programming – Developed a new session for inclusion in the 2014 diversity component of Blue Devil Weekend, which aims to showcase how Fuqua will help underrepresented minority admitted students learn to best navigate their career to break through middle management challenges. 

CAREER Task Force
Task force co-chairs: Ken Burton, Daytime MBA '98, and Michael Sherman, Global Executive MBA '06

2013 Accomplishments:

  • Alumni/Student Mentorship Program – Gained positive momentum in alumni/student mentorship program. Eighteen first-year students were paired with Fuqua minority alumni from across the country. Some of the most frequently cited outcomes from these pairings, included: (1) reviewing final internship presentations, (2) providing feedback/advice during the internship, and (3) helping mentees expand their networks within summer internship employers or within their industries of interest.   Additionally, as part of the Duke MBA Workshop, a gathering was hosted to connect mentors and mentees face-to-face, and there are plans for a gathering during the spring Minority Board meeting.
  • Conference Preparation – Held preparatory call to position first-year students for success at the 2013 National Black MBA and National Society of Hispanic MBA conferences. The Career task force partnered with its Black and Latino MBA Organization (BLMBAO) student liaison to establish a teleconference to help first-years prepare to get the most out of the conference experiences.  The first-years listened carefully, as a number of them came back to Fuqua with offers and an extensive list of contacts following the conferences.

Task force co-chairs: Yvette Bonaparte, Daytime MBA '87, and Anne Sempowski Ward, Global Executive MBA '04

2013 Accomplishments: 

  • Strive for 25 – Progress was made against the "Strive for 25" challenge, which is a goal set by the board to have 25% participation in support of the Fuqua Annual Fund by the underrepresented minority alumni community.  Although there is still work to do, the figures for 2013 showed a participation rate of 22.4% for URMs versus 19.7% in 2012.  To support progress in alumni giving further, the task force developed and launched the "Meet Me There" initiative in September.
  • Meet Me There Initiative – Launched "Meet Me There" effort which is an engagement initiative that leverages Fuqua-sponsored events and encourages alumni attendance and participation in their local areas.  As part of the initiative, URM Fuqua alumni will receive a personal email from a member of the Minority Alumni Advisory Board encouraging them to meet them at a particular Fuqua event in their local area.  Early feedback from alumni that have been contacted with a "Meet Me There" email has been positive.  We look forward to seeing an even greater impact from the program over the coming months.


  • Become an alumni ambassador for diversity recruitment. 
  • Host an admissions event in your local area. 
  • Make plans to attend the 2014 Duke MBA Workshop for Minority Applicants and encourage your classmates to join you!
  • Invest in the success of a future leader—be a mentor.  Every year we pair promising first-year BLMBAO members with a minority alumni mentor.  Historically, the size of this program has been limited by the number of mentors we could engage.  The main thrust of this program is to ensure these students have the support to take full advantage of their experience at Fuqua and successfully obtain internships in the fields of their choice.  While the frequency and nature of contact should be determined by the mentor and mentee, the main connect points occur during the summer internship, during the NBMBAA and NSHMBA conference season and during the Duke MBA workshop.
  • If you receive a "Meet Me There" email, make an effort to attend the event, or perhaps choose another Fuqua event to attend.  Information on upcoming events can be found on Fuqua's website
  • Support the "Strive for 25" goal with by making a gift to Fuqua, so that we can meet or exceed our participation goal.
  • Volunteer to help the board as an admissions ambassador or a career mentor or explore one of the many other ways you can get involved with Fuqua.

Have a wonderful holiday! We look forward to hearing from you and to each of you becoming more involved in the work of our board.


Mark Williams, Chair MBA '96 

Tyrone Thomas, Vice Chair MBA '04