Beyond the MBA Classroom: The MBA Games at Fuqua

When you select an MBA program, you are not just choosing your learning environment, but are also making a commitment to a community. Each Thursday, we offer a window into life “beyond the MBA classroom” at a top business school.

MBA Games is a collection of events that take place throughout the academic year at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and culminate in a weekend of competition each spring that draws teams of MBA students from 12–16 other North American business schools. The purpose of MBA Games is to support Special Olympics North Carolina, which students do by volunteering for events each month with athletes from the organization (e.g., tailgating, skating, bowling) and by participating in various fundraising events (e.g., sports tournaments, organized races, parties) and auctions (like the one described in the following paragraph). The MBA Games site proclaims that since the event’s founding in 1989, it has helped raise more than $1.8M for Special Olympics North Carolina.

Each year, Fuqua Partners puts on a fundraising auction for the MBA Games—which the school’s Web site describes as “Fuqua’s largest annual philanthropy event.” One alumnus recalled how he bid on and won the opportunity to sumo wrestle one of the core professors, with both of them wearing humongous padded suits. The auction takes place during a Fuqua Friday in mid-February. Students and professors bid on dozens of items donated by corporate sponsors and members of the Fuqua community. Donations have been as varied as dinners/lunches with several professors and Duke University President Richard Brodhead, a VIP table at the Black Eyed Peas afterparty, a three-night golf vacation on South Carolina’s Kiawah Island, a UNC/Duke beer-pong table and a one-on-one basketball game with former NBA player Pat Garrity. The auction has both a silent component and a live, called component. In 2012, the auction raised more than $40,000 for the Special Olympics of North Carolina, reportedly a record for the event.

For in-depth descriptions of social and community activities at Duke Fuqua and 15 other top MBA programs, check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guides.

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