Caitlin Cerra
"Our backgrounds range from no formal managerial experience to having led entire divisions, and in that group, I’ve learned that understanding other people is at the core of leadership. It’s one thing to know the classroom definition of leadership, and another thing entirely to know how it’s exercised in practice."

Daytime MBA

Class of 2018

Prior Education:

Northern Arizona University Business Economics / German, 2015
Buckeye, Arizona

Why I Chose Fuqua

What differentiates ‘good’ from ‘great’ in business, or almost any endeavor, is emotional intelligence (EQ). I felt Fuqua was the best environment to build it. In addition to the heavy focus on group dynamics in the curriculum, there are so many ways to get involved in building EQ and developing leadership skills outside of the classroom.

There are also opportunities to put those lessons into practice. Accountability is part of Fuqua’s culture, and all first-years create a personal development plan with the help of a second-year student. Each development goal comes with an accountability buddy to support students as life becomes hectic.

5 Random Things About Me

  1. My first job was selling our chicken’s eggs to the neighbors when I was in middle school. That was my introduction to business, and I’ve never looked back!
  2. I’ve hiked 250 miles of trails in 9 states since being accepted to Fuqua, most of it by myself. Solo travel can be hard at times, but it’s also how I’ve learned the most about myself.
  3. My high school chemistry teacher was a first-year at Fuqua when I started considering MBA programs, and he helped me decide this is where I want to be. 
  4. In college, I spent two weeks volunteering on an organic farm on an island in Greece. My favorite part was seeing first-hand how families start small businesses, sometimes by accident.
  5. I learned how to swim at Fuqua. I had been afraid since avoiding a serious accident in the Mediterranean, but it felt great to be able to go to the beach with classmates and enjoy the water with them.

My Life Before Fuqua

I worked for a private equity firm specializing in low-cost airlines. I vetted incoming opportunities based on our investment strategy through financial modeling, due diligence, and market research. I also analyzed contracts and wrote quarterly reports to investors. I learned about business dynamics on every continent (excluding Antarctica!).

My Life After Fuqua

I want to be a professional problem solver. My favorite part of working in private equity was thinking critically about the external and internal factors influencing a business’s path forward, and how that business could be improved. Right now, that means I’m applying for consulting and internal strategy roles.

My Fuqua Activities

FuquaPride, First-Year Social Cabinet

Duke BOLD (Building Outdoor Leaders at Duke)

Group Navigator and Documentarian

Leadership Cohort Experience

Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum

Best Advice

Take risks. Exempt classes. Take classes that sound like fun! You can tailor Fuqua to you.

What I love about Duke BOLD

I love hiking and leadership so as soon as I heard about this, I was hooked. Duke BOLD is an experiential leadership club that spends fall semester training together in preparation for a winter break trek, like hiking over glaciers to summit Cayambe in Ecuador. Though I wasn’t in Summit shape pre-Fuqua, just six weeks after training started, I noticed a change – visiting Olympic National Park and confidently hiking trails I wouldn’t have even attempted before. Through this group, I’ve also connected with second-year students who have helped me navigate Fuqua through long conversations on life and leadership. 

Student Network

Lucas Chaya del Pino Daytime MBA

Lucas Chaya del Pino

Class of 2018
Thomas Payne Daytime MBA

Thomas Payne

Class of 2018
Lucy Bangiyeva Daytime MBA

Lucy Bangiyeva

Class of 2018
Caroline Vincent Daytime MBA

Caroline Vincent

Class of 2018