Alumni Spotlight: Nicholas Fuqua
June 26, 2018 - Leslie Venzuela
This month we are pleased to introduce you to Nicholas Fuqua. Nick earned his BBA in Organizational Leadership from UNM Anderson in 2014. Today he is a Product Manager with the Albuquerque based Lavu Inc.
What four words best describe you?
Competitive. Intense. Passionate. Ambitious.
My guiding philosophy:
I have to outwork everyone. I am not fortunate enough to possess above average intelligence or lucky enough to be gifted in a certain field. Because of this, I have to work 50-60% harder to be just as successful as the people I am competing against and the people I work with.
The best professional advice I ever received:
A quote from a television show comes to mind.
"Don't be an idiot. Changed my life." - Dwight, The Office.
But really, the best advice I ever received was from one of my first managers. He told me, “If you’re doing what everyone else is doing, you’re doing it wrong.”
To me, it means to be constantly innovating with everything you do and constantly looking for better, more efficient ways do things.
My favorite memory from my time in Anderson was all of the group projects that I was able to work on with my classmates. At the time, I didn't appreciate these projects like I do now. Looking back, they were a great way to break up the mundane 5-7 page papers that most classes required their students to do.
The group projects also gave me a chance to work with and interact with various classmates that I would not have had a chance to work with otherwise. These experiences showed me that often times there is more than just one right way to do things. These projects allowed me to build my soft team skills (which are very important in a professional work environment) and see how many ways different people can solve the same problem.
My Childhood Hero:
Bill Gates is my childhood hero. I was fortunate enough to grow up in households that had computers in them from an early age. My first experience was with Windows 95 on a Gateway computer. I thought it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen in my life. It sparked my curiosity and I had to know more about who invented it, when, etc. So I asked my parents and they told me about Bill Gates. I then proceeded to ask every adult I could find about what they knew about Bill Gates. I was really attracted to the success he achieved for himself.
How did your Anderson experience prepare you for professional success?
I would once again point to the group projects that I was involved with in Anderson. These projects taught me the soft skills needed to work collaboratively with others. While doing the projects I often wished that my grade could be determined based on just my work or that I wouldn’t have to work on teams in which I relied on other people. Looking back I learned how important it is to trust others and communicate with others to ensure they are holding up their end of the project and assist them when they get blocked during the process.
My advice for the next generation of business leaders:
My advice depends on what they are trying to accomplish. I’ll narrow it down to two things, happiness and success.
Find a job that you love to do. This is a little more difficult coming right out of school because you probably have no idea what you "love". It might require some trial and error as far your job search goes.
When I graduated, I knew I wanted to find a job that I could work really hard at. I envisioned being able to put in 50 -70 hours a week and being very happy to do so. I made the mistake of taking the first job I was offered right out of school. Big mistake! It was a terrible fit. I would often count the hours and minutes before my next weekend. I was miserable. After speaking with my manager, we both decided it would be best if I moved on.
After leaving the company, I felt like a failure, which is natural after not accomplishing what I set out to do right out of college. However, I regrouped, and I had a better idea of what I was looking for as far as a company goes. I spent the next year and a half working part-time, traveling, and looking for the right company.
The next company I worked for was Lavu. As soon as I walked in the door I knew this is where I wanted to work. The interview sold me on it, and three years later, I am still at Lavu loving what I do.
To me this one is easy. If you want to be a high achiever and attain a lot of success in your career you need to be patient and be willing to work harder than most. I know very few people who have been "lucky" enough to fall into success early in their career. For most, myself included, it is a daily grind of trying to do better than the day before and learning from past experiences. The grind can be hard, but if you stick with it and you are patient there's no reason why you can't reach your goals.
The Anderson Alumni Spotlight gives an in-depth look into the lives of our graduates after they leave school through a series of set questions.