Introducing CASE Scholar Hilary Nichols

Duke’s Fuqua School of Business offers scholarships each year to individuals with social sector backgrounds who are looking to acquire business skills for use in their pursuit of social impact. The CASE Social Sector Scholarship brings in amazing students who add a richness to the Fuqua student body and bring their unique perspectives to the classroom.  We are proud to announce our new CASE Scholars, starting with Hilary Nichols.

Hilary Nichols joins Fuqua with a background in international financial inclusion.  She began her career in Bogotá, Colombia, working with Grameen Bank of Bangladesh to establish its operations and provide solidarity loans and financial education to low-income women in the city slums.  Spending equal time working one-to-one with clients in the field and in the back-office facilitating internal and external council, she helped the institution build its client base of over 1,000 female microentrepreneurs.

Hilary left Bogotá with a quest to do more; four years with Women’s World Banking has proved to her that ‘doing more’ means providing millions of un- and under- banked individuals access to a variety of financial products and services tailored to their needs.  She earned the title of Senior Associate and role of project manager of Women’s World Bankings’ microinsurance technical assistance work.  Leading teams of equally passionate and highly-skilled colleagues and industry experts, she designed and implemented health, life and savings-linked microinsurance programs with financial institutions in Peru, Mexico, Uganda, Morocco, Egypt and Jordan.

Why Fuqua?

While I value the direct impact I’ve had on building local capacity to better serve low-income individuals, I am well-positioned to step back and think more broadly about how to create better economic opportunities and improve living standards in the developing world.  Fuqua is the ideal place for two years of this exploration and development.  By talking with current students and alumni, I quickly recognized that Team Fuqua is real.  Fuqua is comprised of collaborative and spirted individuals that care about each other and the global context of business.  Equally important to me, the community echoes my passion for socially responsible international business and breeds similarly-minded faculty and peers through CASE, Net Impact Club, and other social impact and global opportunities.

What impact do you hope your Fuqua education will allow you to have on the world?

I deeply connect with Fuqua’s mantra of ‘getting along and getting it right.’  To me, ‘getting it right’ means developing businesses and formal systems that create economic opportunities and improve the quality of life of low-income women and families in the developing world, many of whom struggle to satisfy even basic, subsistence needs. I aim for impact with a for-profit social venture that scales its solutions across the developing world of Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa.  To be a leader in this mission, I need to gain cross-sectoral perspective and become skilled at uniting business interest to collaborate on triple-bottom-line business solutions that serve the world’s three billion poor.

Share one of the 25 facts from your application essay

My favorite jacket is a pullover L.L. Bean fleece that I’ve had since fourth grade.  It’s black with fluorescent dinosaurs and trees scattered across it and big enough for me to still wear with pride.