A random list of awesome Duke MBA events so far - Part 1

Was just going through my Outlook calendar from the start of school, and realized that there were a lot of one-off events that I enjoyed immensely. These all began with a club email or flier and I was curious enough to attend but was pleasantly surprised at how much I got out of it. There's many more than what's listed, but here's some examples, in a 2-part series.

1. Day in Durham

It's been awhile, as Day in Durham happened back in August. It is an event that the Net Impact Club at Fuqua had organized. Students are able to visit organizations in Durham that focus on social impact, and choose among 5 tracks - Education, Social Enterprise, Sustainability, Healthcare and Community Development & Corporate Social Responsibility. I ended up with Healthcare and visited CAARE, a grassroots non-profit that offers wellness and care. It was a very memorable experience.

Before the break-out trips, we had a keynote presentation by Dan Heath, a best-selling author and senior fellow at Fuqua's CASE (Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship). His presentation style was impressive, as well as the advice he gave us on the MBA. He said that we should imagine what role we want to play many years from now, and design our experience so that we're able to achieve that role. For example, if you wanted to be CEO of a company, then take the right MBA classes, do the activities that will help you become that person. This was timely advice for rookie MBA students!

2. Nanoviricides CEO seminar

The CEO of Nanoviricides, a biotech company, came and gave a talk some time for the Duke MBA Health Sector Management (HSM) program in October. This was a memorable experience for me because I had just started my National Cancer Institute/Avon Breast Cancer Startup Challenge Project (expect a blog post later) and it was great to hear from an experienced startup CEO. It was also exciting from a scientific perspective, as the company worked on a novel anti-viral therapy, a topic that was closely related to my work back at the National Institutes of Health.

Moments like this make me happy about choosing Duke Fuqua for my MBA. Hearing about a biotech from its CEO is an amazing experience, because the company comes alive. I heard about ambition, vision, world-changing science, and challenges directly from the company's leader. This is just one of many events that the Duke MBA HSM office sends out on a regular basis.

3. David Rubenstein seminar

Not coming from the finance sector, I hadn't really heard about David Rubenstein before, but I did know the Carlyle name. Turns out that Mr. Rubenstein, the founder of the Carlyle Group, is also the Vice Chair on the Duke Board of Trustees. Like many of these random events, an email was sent out saying that he would be speaking at Fuqua, and I thought it would be a good idea to attend. He spoke about the new Duke Kunshan University in China, and about the world in general.

Roughly 70-80 students attended what I thought was a very informative event. The students asked a variety of different questions - about the private equity industry, China's ongoing reforms, and the challenges of his firm's activities in China. It was great to hear about these topics from Mr. Rubenstein's perspective and hear how he thought about these challenges. Not a bad way to spend an hour on an early Saturday afternoon.

Read part 2 of the series here.

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