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David Duckworth, MBA2015

Name: David Duckworth

Programme: MBA2015

1.       What does your typical day at LBS look like?

There’s never a typical day at LBS!

During the first year, my day usually revolved completely around the MBA including classes, assignments, club meetings, events, and a plethora of social activities. Time was the scarcest resource.

I took a look at my calendar last year and here’s what a random day was like:

6:45 – Wake up and run around Regent’s Park or go to LBS gym in Taunton

7:30 -- Shower and get ready for class

8:15 – Class

11:00 – Break, usually work on an assignment or at a club meeting such as the Design Club, Talks on Entrepreneurial Leadership (TELL), or LBS Ventures. Occasionally had lunch with classmates around Baker Street, on campus at the Nash Lounge, or grabbed something on my way to class.

12:45 – Class

15:30 – Worked on assignments, met study group, worked on club activities, etc...

18:45 – An LBS club event such as the TELL Series, where we invite successful entrepreneurs to share their entrepreneurial journeys with the LBS community

20:00 – Dinner at home with flat mates, LBS social event, music concerts, or other events around London (several around Old Street and Campus London)

In the second year, there was a lot more flexibility with my time and I used it to work on my own entrepreneurial ventures, meet people in the technology startup scene, and continued to further several school related initiatives including LBS Shares, a forum for LBS students, staff, faculty, and alumni to share their experiences and stories, the D/Club (Design and Innovation Club), and LBS Ventures, a student led program for those looking to get venture capital / startup experience. I also travelled quite a bit and spent quality time with close friends and my girlfriend, who I met at LBS.

2.         What keeps you motivated?

Learning something new every day, pursuing my interests, and deepening relationships with those that are most important to me.

3.         What’s your favourite spot on campus and why?

I love the big corner rooms in the 6th floor of Taunton. It has a fantastic view and is generally a quiet spot where most people don’t venture up to -- perfect for focusing and getting work done!

On that rare sunny day, I absolutely love the big park tables in the quad. It’s a pleasure to have meetings or grab a bite to eat in a beautiful open space that facilitates interaction with everyone from the LBS community.

4.         What is top of your bucket list?

My bucket list is dynamic and has continued to evolve over the years.

In the past it has revolved mainly on travel and experiencing new things! So far I’ve been very fortunate to cross off a number of items including travelling for a year through Asia, volunteering in Ghana and Swaziland, climbing Everest Base Camp and Kilimanjaro, parachuting, bungee jumping over Victoria Falls, running the Barcelona marathon, and living/working in Sao Paulo, New York, Maastricht (Netherlands), Detroit, San Francisco, Mbabane (Swaziland), London, and Berlin.

My bucket list has now migrated to longer-term goals such as building businesses, developing one new skill every year (working on web development at the moment!), creating a fantastic family, furthering relationships with my friends and loved ones, and empowering others through my work.

5.         Who would play you in the film of your life?

Daniel Day-Lewis, because he is the best living actor today and I would like to be played accurately with all my strengths and character flaws. It would be fantastic to get an honest and raw 3rd party perspective.

The other possibilities are Andrew Garfield or Ashton Kutcher because some have said I look like them which I think is quite flattering!

6.         Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

I would love to host a dinner party with the 25-year-old versions of my parents, grandparents, and kids.

I lost my grandparents early in life and it would be highly instructive and fun to learn what they were like, along with my parents and kids as they were just starting out on their own.  

7.         What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

It never turns out the way you planned it. J

This is not to say that planning is not useful, I’m a planning fiend! Simply that flexibility to opportunities and setbacks is as important as setting a direction for where you want to go.

This is the most important lesson life has taught me thus far because it frames the way I approach problems and make decisions.

I actively pursue my interests and set big goals for myself, but I am cognizant that I never know what is over the hill once I’ve climbed it. This reminds me of one of my favourite fables (borrowed from Derek Sivers) which goes something like this:

A farmer had only one horse. One day, his horse ran away.

All the neighbors came by saying, “I'm so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.” The man just said, “We'll see.”

A few days later, his horse came back with twenty wild horses. The man and his son corralled all 21 horses.

All the neighbors came by saying, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!” The man just said, “We'll see.”

One of the wild horses kicked the man's only son, breaking both his legs.

All the neighbors came by saying, “I'm so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.” The man just said, “We'll see.”

The country went to war, and every able-bodied young man was drafted to fight. The war was terrible and killed every young man, but the farmer's son was spared, since his broken legs prevented him from being drafted.

All the neighbors came by saying, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!” The man just said, “We'll see.”

 

8.         What do you consider your greatest achievement?

This is a tough one for me. I have started and accomplished many things, but I don’t consider any of them to be particularly grandiose or out of the ordinary.

Singling out one is hard, but a few things that standout as achievements in my mind include.

Personal:

Maintaining close relationships with my best friends and immediate family despite having lived abroad for nearly 10 years

Professional:

Serving as Co-Chair of the Business Analyst Action Committee at Deloitte Consulting leading 50 of my peers to implement over 300 initiatives to improve Deloitte’s Business Analyst Program.

Creating a network of smallholder cassava farmers in Swaziland through TechnoServe

At LBS:

Setting up LBS Shares as a forum for the LBS community to share personal stories, experiences, and ideas. Shout out to Chantal Le Bienvenu, Oliver Nowalski, Tom Vanneste, and Tim Swift for taking it up!

Founding the LBS D/Club (Design and Innovation Club) with Zahoor Rahimtoola, Graeme Burns, Chantal Le Bienvenu, and Prabha Rathinasabapathy.

Founding LBS Ventures (www.lbsventures.co.uk) with Krishna Ramachandran, Pat Eskinasy, Dan Drach, and Brian Rutherford.

9.         What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Read.

Every year, as far back as I can remember, my mom has given me a book at Christmas time. She’s a librarian, so it’s not unusual. These books are usually ones that I wouldn’t have bought myself and tend to broaden my perspectives in unusual directions.

I set aside time most nights and weekends to read. It’s the best way for me to engage with and take advice from the best minds that have roamed the earth. I read biographies, self-help, business, philosophy, fiction, and topical themes that interest me. Life tends to take over, but setting aside time to stop and read has always proven valuable to me.  

10.       Tell us something surprising about you

Most people find it incredibly surprising that I’m from Brazil given my name and American accent when I speak English.