Introducing CASE Scholar Paul McCready

Paul McCready

I have spent the last 9 years in the United States Army, most recently serving as US Army Special Operations Civil Affairs Officer specializing in the Asia Pacific. In this role, I was responsible for supporting communities at risk of radicalization in their efforts to overcome poverty and achieve social stability. I hope to use my MBA to eventually lead an international social enterprise that benefits those at the bottom of the pyramid. I received my BA in Philosophy from the University of Georgia and recently celebrated the birth of our baby girl, Alice, born January 25th!

Why Fuqua?

When I began my business school search, it was CASE and Professor Greg Dees that drew me to Fuqua. While deployed overseas and exploring my hazy notion of social entrepreneurship, I stumbled upon several of Professor Dees’ foundational articles on the subject that piqued my interest. Later, as I learned about CASE, Fuqua on Board, and the Net Impact Club, it became obvious to me that Fuqua was the place to go for those of us interested in a career in social impact.

My decision to attend Fuqua cemented last summer after I visited the campus for a day. Sitting in on a class and listening to the interactions between the students and the professor, I was struck by how Fuquans paired their sharp intelligence with an authentic friendliness and cooperative spirit. One of the perks of the military is the strong relationships that you develop with your teammates, and I felt that at Fuqua, I could develop similar bonds with my classmates.

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

I think that combining private sector business practices with a social mandate can be a powerful catalyst for positive change in the world. At Fuqua, I want to learn effective business practices that I can apply towards a social problem set, explore case studies on why some social ventures succeed and why some fail, and apply those principles in my post-MBA career. And I hope that by learning from and sharing ideas with my Fuqua colleagues and professors, my two years at Fuqua will help me become a more impactful businessperson.

On my last deployment to the Philippines, my civil affairs team partnered with a Spanish priest who founded and ran an NGO dedicated to peace and development in Mindanao. At our first meeting, the priest listened to my team’s grand strategy to bring all the stakeholders together – governmental, military, and civilian – for a forum on counter violent extremism. In response, he smiled and shook his head. He said, “Just do something that will directly help the people.” I want to live up to that advice and be a person of action, not just talk. I hope that my Fuqua education will give me the tools to be that person and have a measurable, positive change in people’s lives.

Share one of the 25 facts from your application essay.

Years ago, as a newly-minted lieutenant, I was invited to a general’s home to have Sunday brunch with his family. Halfway through, I accidentally dumped two heaping scoops of salt in my coffee. Wanting to be the genteel officer, I drank it without a word. It tasted as bad as you think it would.

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 newest CASE Scholars. You can read about our other scholars here.