Stephanie Brown- Fuqua School of Business (Duke)
Hometown: Ottawa, Canada
Education: (undergrad): Wellesley College
Current MBA program: Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Bio: Originally from Ottawa, Canada, I attended Wellesley College for undergrad and have most recently called Durham, NC home while completing my dual MPP/MBA degree at Duke. My passion lies in agricultural supply chains and sustainability, leading me to gain a wide range of experience working on cotton, shea butter and seafood supply chain projects in the U.S. and abroad.
Describe a typical day as a MBA student:
My days as an MBA student kicked off with a steaming cup of fresh-brewed coffee and a news podcast before heading to Duke’s beautiful, tree lined campus. From there, I had anywhere between 1-3 classes scheduled along with at least one team meeting. My lunches were generally spent catching up with friends, having an informational chat with a classmate or attending a lunch-time speaker series. Any spare handful of minutes were typically spent putting the final touches on a case assignment or replying to the heap of emails that inevitably amassed in my inbox. Evenings were spent attending a student club or recruiting event, working out, completing homework or exploring Durham’s burgeoning restaurant scene.
Where did you work before enrolling in business school?
Before coming to business school, I worked as a policy analyst for the Canadian government’s immigration and labour ministries. My interest in business, and agricultural supply chains specifically, took root during a 6-month internship in northern Ghana where I supported the business development of a women’s shea butter co-operative. Once I returned home, I launched an all-natural soap business to continue tapping into my passion for sustainable and ethical sourcing and products.
Why did you choose this business school?
Fuqua’s supportive community greatly appealed to me, as did its strong focus on social and environmental impact. I felt confident that Fuqua had the resources — from CASE, EDGE, coursework and student clubs like Net Impact — for me to pursue my focus on sustainable operations and agricultural supply chains. Finally, as a dual MPP/MBA degree student, I appreciated that Fuqua was part of a broader Duke ecosystem with a multitude of courses and resources I could tap into across the campus.
What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school?
My best advice to prospective Fuqua applicants is to let your quirks, passions, hobbies and personality shine through in your application. Fuqua is unique in that it attracts students from an incredibly diverse and talented background, so don’t shy away from highlighting your multidimensionality!
What is/was the most enjoyable part about business school?
Building friendships with my amazing classmates who represent a wide range of nationalities and professional backgrounds was the most enjoyable part of my business school experience! An MBA program as tight-knit as Fuqua can sometimes have a summer camp feel to it; when classes and recruiting events aren’t in session, our time was jam packed with social events, ridiculously fun themed gatherings (occasionally involving onesies!), game nights and travel excursions. The sense of camaraderie carries over into summer and post-graduation as Fuquans are regularly meeting up in their new cities or traveling together.
What is/was the hardest part of business school?
The most challenging part of business school is that there’s simply never enough time in the day to do everything you want, like attend all of the guest speaker events, student club gatherings and amazing extracurricular activities that are hosted. Needless to say, the MBA experience will definitely help you hone your prioritization skills!
Where will you be working after graduation?
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career or at your school?
One of my proudest achievements during my time at Fuqua was serving as co-president of Duke University’s Net Impact Club. The most rewarding part of being in this position was the opportunity to set a creative, change-oriented environment that welcomed new ideas and initiatives — an energy that was harnessed through team-building retreats, outings and meetings. Thanks to this openness, our team made incredible headway in redefining club traditions and fundraisers to better align with our club vision for supporting students’ commitment to making a social and environmental impact in their careers.
Favorite MBA Courses?
Raising Capital, Business Strategies for Sustainability, Marketing Intelligence, Managerial Accounting
Fun fact about yourself:
After graduating from Fuqua, I went on an epic cross-country roadtrip that stopped at several national parks and culminated with a stint volunteering on an organic farm in Hawaii!