Duke - The Fuqua School of Business

Luis Edwards

Class of 2013

Luis Edwards

"Fuqua is located in one of the best places to live in the U.S., both in terms of weather and cost of living. In my case, since I was coming with my wife and my daughter, it was very important for me to know that they would have a good quality of life during the 2 years of my MBA. In this sense, Fuqua Partners has been of great support for my wife. I am very happy to say that my family has also been enriched by the MBA experience."

My Background

I was born in Trujillo, a city at the north of Lima, Peru. My parents are doctors and my brother is a lawyer. Despite being dedicated doctors with tight schedules, my parents spent quality time raising my brother and me, emphasizing the importance of family as a pillar of support. Although I have lived outside my home country for almost 5 years, I still maintain close contact with them.

I love playing tennis, a sport that I started playing at a competitive level when I was 8 years old and continued to play until I was 14. I was presented with the Most Distinguished Sportsman award in my hometown by the National Sports Institute, won a national doubles tennis tournament, and was ranked among the top 8 national players in the singles category, which allowed me to represent Peru in a South American tournament in Lima.

I am married to a wonderful woman and we have a lovely 5-year-old girl. My aim is to make them feel proud of my achievements and provide them with a life of quality in the fullest sense. In my free time, I like playing tennis with my friends from school or going to the gym. I also love watching tennis or NBA basketball. However, what I enjoy most is spending time with my family, either watching TV, going to the beach or to the park, or traveling with them.

I am a proud ambassador of my country. Besides the well-know Cuzco, Peru has beautiful beaches at the north of the country. Although they don't have white sand like in the Caribbean, they have great weather, atmosphere, and food. I'm a very big fan of Peruvian food, and my favorite dishes are ceviche and aji de gallina.

Why I Chose Fuqua

Before applying to business school, I knew that I wanted not only a good education, but I also wanted to develop my leadership skills while being surrounded by a friendly community—Fuqua provided exactly that. I came to campus to interview during the second admissions round, and the 3 days that I spent here totally convinced me that Fuqua was the right place for me and my family. Students were really friendly and open with me, and during Fuqua Friday, I had the chance to see how families are integrated with the school community.

The fact that Fuqua is a student-run school provides plenty of opportunities to lead existing projects or develop new ones and work in teams. This is enhanced by Fuqua's truly international focus, compared to other top U.S. MBA programs. Fuqua has one of the highest percentages of foreign students, which enriches class discussions and brings a global perspective to the program.

Additionally, Fuqua has a great faculty, a strong presence in the U.S. job market, and a very flexible curriculum (6-week terms) with several concentrations available. I knew that this would help me to be better prepared for the internship interviews during the first year, and for my full-time job after finishing the MBA.

Finally, Fuqua is located in one of the best places to live in the U.S., both in terms of weather and cost of living. In my case, since I was coming with my wife and my daughter, it was very important for me to know that they would have a good quality of life during the 2 years of my MBA. In this sense, Fuqua Partners has been of great support for my wife. I am very happy to say that my family has also been enriched by the MBA experience.

Leadership Attribute: Committment

After working for Credifondo SAF, the biggest asset manager in Peru, I decided to move to Chile to become Portfolio Manager of Peruvian Equities at LarrainVial. After a year and a half, my role expanded and I also took on the position of Head of Balanced Funds. It was not easy to leave Peru to explore new horizons in Chile. Going there with my wife and our newborn daughter made it even harder as we had no family support in Santiago. But it was also an opportunity I could not refuse as I was eager to work in a more developed market and gain the experience and knowledge that was not yet available in my home country.

My mission was to establish LarrainVial's first Peruvian equity fund, a strategic project given the company's plan to expand to the rest of the region. I led a team that organized various presentations and conference calls with prospective clients to promote Peruvian equities as an asset class with great potential, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. We raised almost 15 million USD in only 3 months, quite a success considering the size of the Peruvian equity market. However, the celebrations did not last long as right at that moment, the worldwide financial crisis exploded leading to significant redemptions from the fund.

I stepped into action to control the situation. I held various meetings with customers to calm their fears and explain our investment thesis. But when the crisis started, its extension and implications were unknown. At that time, some people thought the best idea would be to close the fund. However, I convinced them not to give up. I had committed to getting this project off the ground and making it successful, and I put all my energy into it. I can proudly say that I achieved my goal, and the results were very positive. The fund has outperformed its benchmark since inception.

Five Random Things About Me

  1. A lot of people used to ask where my last name comes from. I remember that my dad told me that my great, great, great … great-grandfather came from Scotland.
  2. I love spicy food. Every time I go to Peru there are 2 things that I cannot forget to bring back, one of them is spicy sauce (the other one is Pisco, our national liquor).
  3. I left my hometown Trujillo at the age of 16 because I went to Lima for university. I lived in that city for 9 years, 7 of which I lived with my younger brother, who is also my best friend.
  4. I have traveled to almost every island in the Central America Caribbean. My favorite one is definitely Cuba (Varadero). My next trip to the Caribbean will be to Puerto Rico.
  5. I love Latin-American music, especially salsa, merengue, and reggaeton. Though I must confess that I'm not such a great dancer.

What I Love About Durham

There are several things that make Durham a great place to spend 2 years of your life. First, the cost of living is relatively low compared to other big cities, both in terms of housing and the cost of doing activities outside of school. There are housing complexes that are very close to school, and the fact that many students live very close to each other helps with commuting.

Secondly, since Durham doesn´t have the distractions that a big city would have, there are plenty of opportunities to interact with classmates. Either participating in the school activities or hanging out with classmates, Durham offers many opportunities to get to know your classmates in environments outside of classrooms. I have been actively engaged in the tennis club, and I must say that the weekly hitting sessions are a great chance not only to exercise, but also to meet great people.

Finally, Durham´s location is very convenient both in terms of weather and recruiting. Regarding the former, as a South American student who is not used to very cold weather, Durham brings opportunities to do outside activities during the whole year. Regarding the latter, for people recruiting on the East Coast, Durham is about a 2-hour flight from financial centers such as New York, Boston, or Miami. Durham's location makes the recruiting process much easier.

Advice for Prospective Students

I believe that it is very important to think of the MBA application process as one that involves several steps. Looking at the rankings is a natural first step; however there are several other considerations to make in the school selection process to ensure that the school is a good fit for you.

Fuqua´s website is a very useful resource to start learning about what makes Fuqua a unique place to spend 2 years. The culture at our school is very open, and current students and alumni are a resource for prospective students. Reach out to club leaders to obtain additional information about clubs and the opportunities they provide to students. If possible, try to visit the school because it will give you a better understanding of the culture and people.

Team Fuqua is alive in every activity that happens in the school, and team participation is promoted inside and outside the classroom throughout the duration of the program. The MBA is a great opportunity to learn new skills and is a great chance to enhance your leadership skills. What's a better place to do so than at a school that permanently promotes team work and leadership among its students in a collaborative environment?