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May 02, 2008

Duke Fuqua MBA 1st-Year Student Interview

Minoru Iida, a first-year MBA student at Duke Fuqua and my former client, was kind enough to answer my questions regarding his B-school experience. Minoru Iida has been working for Kansai University as an administrator for 13 years. He is currently focusing on higher education management. Prior to attending Fuqua, he was leading an executive assistant team as a senior administrator, providing strategic assistance for the Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Adam: What has your first year been like?

Minoru: My first year experience at Fuqua has been truly eye-opening. I learned a lot about managerial science and culture, and I have been enjoying it. Stress is high, especially at the beginning of the first year, but it pays off.

: What is the Global Institute?

Minoru: The Global Institute is an intensive, four-week summer term in which you learn managerial effectiveness and global institutions such as laws, conventions, and organizations. It is introduced in 2007 and still in an experimental stage. The content is revised every year based on the feedback from students.

Adam: As you know, Fuqua emphasizes collaborative leadership. What exactly does that mean? How is it reflected in your curriculum?

Minoru: In my understanding, collaborative leadership means that everyone is a leader and a member simultaneously. A leader is a person who takes initiative and makes a difference. If every one of the team members takes an initiative and makes a difference, that’s collaborative leadership. In all courses at Fuqua, the professor gives team assignments. Students work as a team, which is usually a group of six, analyze a case, conduct a research, and make a write-up or a presentation whichever is required. In this process, each student is required to demonstrate collaborative leadership.

Adam: Would you mind explaining the role of the Duke Honor Code?

Minoru: At Fuqua, all students pledge to abide by honor code and it actually defines how we can and cannot behave. Honor code applies to all exams and assignments.

Adam: Do you actually have any time for clubs? If so, which ones are you active in?

Minoru: It depends on how you prioritize your commitment. Clubs are one of the most useful resources for job search and, thus, most students actively participate in club activities. Fuqua also provides many leadership positions such as Admission Fellow, Alumni Fellow, and Leadership Fellow. These are also great opportunities to build your leadership experience.
In my case, however, I strongly focus on academic side and am not an active participant in club activities. This is also possible at Fuqua because we have a substantial leeway about how we spend our time.

Adam: Are there any common characteristics you find amongst your classmates?

Minoru: Fuqua has a friendly and tight-knit community. This becomes apparent during the first term of the first year.

Adam: Do you have any specific advice for those considering application to Fuqua?

Minoru: Dean Blair Sheppard emphasizes that Fuqua must nurture a leader of consequence with global perspective. Please think about this and try to apply this to your cause. It might help you write a really strong essay.

Adam: As you know, Fuqua really emphasizes making contributions and diversity in its application essays, so do you have specific advice for applicants? In other words, how do think applicants should answer questions like “How will your background, values, and non-work activities enhance the experience of other Duke MBA students and add value to Fuqua's diverse culture?”

Minoru: The first step is to think about who you are and how you differ from other people who will surround you once you come to Fuqua. How can you make a difference at school, at community, or in your workplace after graduation? The school really loves those who are unique and outstanding.

Adam: What is your favorite MBA related blog?

Minoru: http://blog.goo.ne.jp/fuqua2007

Adam: Anything else you would like to tell us?

Minoru: B-school application is sometimes a stressful experience. But it pays off. There is no comfort in the growth zone, but there is no growth in the comfort zone.

For Japanese applicants, If you have any questions about Fuqua, please feel free to get in touch with us through the following website: http://mbaa.fuqua.duke.edu/aabc/Japanese/index.html

Good Luck!
I want to thank Minoru for taking the time to answer my questions.

Question? Comments? Email me at adammarkus@gmail.com
-Adam Markus
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