Duke - The Fuqua School of Business

News Release

Duke MBA Students Heading to Latin America as part of Class Taught by former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela

MBA students are discovering a key economic region of the world

February 19, 2013

A group of 25 MBA students at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business is discovering a key economic region of the world as part of a class taught by a former top government official. Former U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy, a guest lecturer with Duke University's Center for International Studies and the Fuqua School of Business, is leading the Fuqua Global Academic Travel Experience (GATE) course in which students will travel to Brazil and Argentina from March 3-16.

In the lead up to the trip, Duddy has been teaching a weekly three-hour course which explores various aspects of Latin America's contemporary history and economics. The course has featured guest speakers from business, government, and academia.

"South America now figures more prominently in the global economy than ever before," said Duddy. "The region, led by Brazil and Argentina, emerged from the recent global financial crisis sooner and stronger than many anticipated. The Fuqua School of Business strives to develop global leaders of consequence, so it is only natural that we would give students the opportunity to learn about this dynamic part of the world, both in the classroom and up close and in person."

Over nearly three decades, Duddy served in in eight Latin American countries and as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.  He was the U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. As U.S. Consul General in Sao Paulo, Brazil from 2002 to 2005, Duddy was the ranking American official in the world's fourth largest city and directed the largest U.S. consulate general in the western hemisphere. Upon his retirement, he was one of the U.S. Department of State's most senior Latin American specialists with exceptionally broad experience in trade, energy, public affairs and crisis management.

"It is rather unique that MBA students can learn from a respected diplomat about how public policy impacts business," explained Shyam Patel, one of the students taking part in the class. "Fuqua aims to develop leaders able to respond to context and disruption in our world. Going to South America's two largest economies in Brazil and Argentina will enable us to connect to a key part of the world shaping the global economy."

The trip will consist of visits to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil and Buenos Aires in Argentina. Students will meet with different companies and government officials and explore the culture of the three cities.

Fuqua's GATE courses have been visiting Latin America since 2004. In addition, the school is stepping up its effort to integrate Brazil into the curriculum through a separate program called the Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum. Through this learning experience, students have the opportunity to consult on projects with start-ups and multi-national companies in a several different countries, including Brazil.

Fuqua's Daytime MBA class profile is 40% international. This year, the school is seeing a nine percent increase from last year in submitted applications from Latin America. "We have seen steady growth in our applications from Latin America over the past three to five years," said Megan Lynam, Fuqua's director of admissions. "With the economic activity happening in Latin America, and with each country's path to growth being markedly different, it is a fascinating region to have represented in our classrooms."

Applications from Argentina have almost tripled since the class entering in 2009. The number of Argentine students for the classes of 2013 and 2014 are the highest since the early 2000s following Argentina's financial crisis.

Brazilian applications are also steadily growing. Brazil represents the largest population within Fuqua's Latin American applicant pool and student body.  "We are seeing an increasing number of applications coming from outside of the traditional business centers of Sao Paulo and Rio, which is a testament to the economic growth that the country is experiencing," said Lynam. "We are seeing increasingly more applications from Belo Horizonte, Forteleza, Belem, and Porto Alegre."

To arrange in-person media interviews in Brazil and Argentina during the Fuqua GATE trip in March, please contact Kevin Anselmo (Tel: 1-919-660 7722; Mobile: 1-919-450-7035; Email: kevin.anselmo@duke.edu).