Duke - The Fuqua School of Business

Leslie J. Kim

Class of 2013

Leslie Kim

"My confidence in approaching quantitative subjects (I took Corporate Finance!) has increased significantly during my time at Fuqua, and I know that this is a direct result of the experience that I've had with my peers and faculty. Business school is a time to stretch oneself beyond your comfort zone, and the community at Fuqua provides an atmosphere that helps encourage and motivate this growth."

My Background

I grew up in Great Neck, NY, a suburb of New York City, which is known as the West Egg in The Great Gatsby. Following my older sister, who also attended Wellesley College, I graduated from Wellesley in 2006 with a BA in English and minor in Psychology. I've always enjoyed media/entertainment, but it wasn't until a summer internship in 2004 at Sesame Workshop that I realized I could turn my love of television into a career. After college, I joined Turner Broadcasting Sales in New York, rising from Administrative Assistant to Assistant Manager over the course of my 4.5 years with the company.

My immediate family still lives in the New York/New Jersey area, and I have named myself as my 2-year-old nephew's official photographer, as he is definitely my favorite subject. In a true reflection of my identity as a Korean-American, I have extended family both in the U.S. and Seoul. I love visiting Korea when I have the chance and took the opportunity to vacation in Seoul for 6 weeks before coming to business school.

Along with my interest in media/entertainment, I'm a big fan of pop culture/current events, food photography, dancing, and as a result of my summer in Seattle, hiking.

Why I Chose Fuqua

While exploring business schools, I had a very targeted search as I knew I wanted to attend a school that placed an emphasis on and made a commitment to industries like entertainment and high tech. Through my research and conversations with students, I learned what Fuqua's Media, Entertainment & Sports (MES) Club was doing both on and off-campus in strengthening relationships and providing opportunities, and I was excited about the future contribution I could make.

Though I wasn't sure what industry I would ultimately pursue post-graduation, I knew that I wanted to stay connected to the entertainment industry and was eager to get involved with MES as soon as I got on campus. This year, the opportunity to serve as co-president of the club, as student interest and support continues to grow, has been a tremendous growth opportunity. As my post-Fuqua job is related to the entertainment industry, I am positive that the learning that I gained through MES will be extremely helpful. As part of the club, I coordinated the Los Angeles Week-in-Cities (WIC), which was a great learning experience.

In addition, when I was considering business schools, something that truly stood out to me was my experience during my on-campus interview. Of course, it was striking that there were so many students volunteering to ensure that my first exposure to "Team Fuqua" was positive. But after the interviews and mock class sessions were over, I saw groups of students no longer in business casual attire, but wearing Duke shirts, as they all headed to a game at Cameron. I really wanted to attend a school where I felt part of a community, and seeing students in both the professional and personal setting in the span of a few hours truly gave me a sense of what it would be like to attend Fuqua.

Leadership Attribute: Global Mindset

I've been able to develop and hone my global mindset while at Fuqua, from working with culturally and geographically diverse teammates to being exposed to different cultures through various club events and activities. However, one of the best opportunities I've had to expand my global mindset was through a pre-term winter course for credit I attended at the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University in Beijing, China. This program is facilitated by Fuqua's International Programs Office and offered an alternative abroad experience instead of a full-term abroad program. "Doing Business in China," was a 9-day intensive course that included lectures, a company visit to Hyundai Beijing, and cultural excursions. The lectures were extremely informative about both history and culture and also provided advice about doing business in China. In addition to the 2 Fuqua students enrolled in the program, there were 29 students from the University of Amsterdam's business school, and my global learning was further enhanced by not only the class content, but also the diversity of opinions and thoughts of my fellow participants.

"Doing Business in China" was a great complement to my participation in the Middle East GATE where I learned about business and culture in Turkey and the UAE. I've appreciated the opportunity to expand my international business knowledge and exposure at Fuqua and look forward to continuing to increase my global mindset.

Five Random Things about Me

  1. I've taken a picture every day since I moved to Durham and my "365" photo album is one of the staples of my Fuqua experience. Inspired by a friend, "365" has helped me capture my 2 year experience—from the out-of-the-norm, like the view from the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa, to a picture of my favorite sandwich from a Durham favorite, Parker & Otis. I'm so grateful to have a visual snapshot/collection of my Fuqua life!
  2. I love the smell of coffee and coffee ice cream, but I've never actually had a cup of coffee.
  3. Entertainment and pop culture are two of my biggest passions—both personally and professionally. When I was in undergrad, I created a weekly digest called "the roundup" and shared the biggest stories/updates with my friends. My biggest professional goal is to increase the visibility and presence of Asian-Americans in the entertainment industry, and I am excited to be part of a new, diverse generation helping to shape and drive this change.
  4. As an English major, I studied a variety of genres but my favorite was 18th Century British literature, which meant I read a lot of Jane Austen. Not quite Austen-esque, but I can also quote a good portion of the movie, Clueless (though I can't say the same for the movie version of Emma). 
  5. I like to eat pizza crust-first, upside-down. You may be surprised at how vocal people can get about the "correct" way to eat a slice.

What I Love About Durham

I wouldn't consider myself a foodie per se, but I do love food and one of the first things I do whenever I'm researching a new city is to make an "Eats List." I arrived in Durham in July 2011 armed with a list of 25 places and happily checked off 20 of them by the end of my first year. I've really enjoyed the farm-to-table movement that a lot of local Durham eateries have embraced, and from cupcakes to chicken-and-waffles, I've found nearly everything I've wanted to eat. Some of my favorite places include: Watt's Grocery (the cinnamon churros with dark chocolate dipping sauce are a must), Vin Rouge (the prix fixe dinner menu is a steal, ideal for student budgets), Old Havana Sandwich Shop, Toast (the perfect panini, unique specials, and a super friendly staff), and DaisyCakes (Kickstarter-funded brick & mortar shop that used to operate out of an Airstream). New restaurants continue to open, and I'm constantly adding new restaurants to my list. And while I don't know if I'll ever become a fan of sweet tea, I am fully on board with grits, so here's to embracing Southern food!

Advice for Prospective Students

Coming from a non-traditional education and business background, I had hesitations about my ability to keep up with the quantitative demands of business school, particularly in the core classes. While "Team Fuqua" is a phrase echoed by many in a variety of instances, I truly benefited from "Team Fuqua" during those initial quant classes.

I signed up for tutors in all of my core classes and was consistently impressed with the commitment and care each peer tutor demonstrated to help me learn and fully understand my course material. The tutors were all fellow Daytime MBAs who willingly took time out of their own schedules to hold group study sessions and who checked in on me as I studied. And finally, I met with many of my professors who were all extremely encouraging as I asked questions and sought advice. My confidence in approaching quantitative subjects (I took Corporate Finance!) has increased significantly during my time at Fuqua, and I know that this is a direct result of the experience that I've had with my peers and faculty. Business school is a time to stretch oneself beyond his/her comfort zone, and the community at Fuqua provides an atmosphere that helps encourage and motivate this growth.