Duke’s Fuqua School of Business offers two scholarships each year to individuals with nonprofit backgrounds who are looking to acquire business skills for use in their pursuit of social impact. The Social Sector Scholarship is administered by CASE and brings in amazing students who add a richness to the Fuqua student body and bring their unique perspectives in to the classroom. We are proud to announce our two new CASE Scholars, starting with Meredith Driscoll! (to read more about previous CASE Scholars, visit our website)
Meredith, a native North Carolinian, is a proud double Dukie. After graduating from Duke in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Studies, she spent ten years in the nonprofit sector in Washington, D.C. Her work spanned from serving as a full-time volunteer living with formerly homeless and addicted women to building, launching and managing an after-school program for inner-city kids.
Most recently, she was Operations and Field Director in the headquarters office of Appleseed, a national nonprofit network of public interest justice centers. There, Meredith led evaluations of Appleseed centers around the country and managed the organization’s financial systems and human resources. Her professional and personal passion is working with at-risk teens, and her vision is to found a nonprofit that provides inner-city youth with both educational and emotional support and that serves as a surrogate family. Her proudest moments include attending high school and college graduations of several students with whom she has worked closely.
In her free time, Meredith enjoys travel, crossword puzzles, and spending time with her husband Sean, her two cats and her newborn nephew, who is already a devoted Duke fan.
Why did you decide to pursue your MBA degree?
I spent the last 10 years working in the nonprofit sector. In that time, I unfortunately witnessed the collapse of two organizations – both of which happened even before the economic downturn. One of the organizations in particular had a profound impact on my decision to pursue my MBA. I worked at the organization for four years and witnessed the huge difference the nonprofit made in the community. I want to found and run a nonprofit with a similar mission, and the organization’s collapse reminded me that I needed the requisite skills to build an organization that would remain sustainable in the long-term. I decided to pursue an MBA to acquire the skills necessary to run a sophisticated, successful organization that never loses the heart and soul of its mission.
Why did you choose to come to Fuqua?
My outlook about business school changed completely when I attended a Fuqua information session. I wanted an MBA to further my career in the nonprofit sector, but assumed I would remain in the D.C. area and attend business school part-time in the evenings. After the information session, I realized that business school could offer much more than new skills to propel my career. Fuqua, in particular, would not only provide specialized classes in social entrepreneurship—my intended focus—but would also afford a unique experience that would allow me to learn and grow outside of the classroom. I knew immediately that I wanted to join the Fuqua community. The Team Fuqua concept and the spirit of the school really appealed to me. I haven’t been let down! Fuqua is about academics, but it is also about the experience.
What are you most excited about when you think about your next two years?
I am most excited about the opportunities Fuqua, CASE and the Net Impact Club provide to enrich our academic experience. In particular, I look forward to participating in Fuqua on Board, where students serve on the board of directors of a local nonprofit organization. I am also eager to learn more from my classmates – to hear their experiences and how they wish to learn and grow here at Fuqua. I am excited to see where we will all end up after two years and how we will have changed because of Fuqua. I love being in the classroom again and engaging with world-class faculty. And, of course, I can’t wait to attend more Duke basketball games.
If you were granted one wish (no limitations), what would you wish for?
I would wish for what should be a very basic human right – a quality, free, public education for all. In the work I’ve done in D.C., it’s become abundantly clear to me how important education is to helping children move out of poverty and have real opportunities for success. I’ve witnessed remarkable changes when children have moved from dismal school settings to ones that challenge and support them. It’s a real game-changer for them.