Strategic Collaboration

Strategic Collaboration

In 2009, Nazarbayev University established a strategic collaboration with Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business to assist in our ambition to build a world-class business school in Astana.

Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, located in Durham, North Carolina, is an internationally recognized business school with its faculty ranked #1 and its Daytime MBA program ranked #1 in the 2014 Business Week ranking of top business schools. The school has a global network with presence in London, Dubai, New Delhi, Shanghai and St. Petersburg. Fuqua also has a history of innovation, having launched three MBA programs for working professionals and most recently an MMS program.

The collaboration between our schools leverages leadership, faculty and staff expertise in building the NUGSB from the ground up. The initial focus has been to develop high caliber MBA programs that prepare the next generation of business leaders to succeed, while building faculty strength and increasing the research capabilities of the institution.

“The breadth and depth of our partnership with NU is quite unique in higher education.  A partnership of this magnitude is not something that Duke University undertakes lightly.  We were initially attracted by the ambitious goals set by President Nazarbayev and the chance to help shape  business education in Central Asia and the world more broadly.   In the early days of getting to know each other, it was very important that our leadership and NU leadership were aligned in terms of vision for the University.  We were impressed by the thoughtfulness of  NU’s leadership and the commitment to building a world class institution that values research, teaching and the highest standards of academic integrity.  The Fuqua School of Business is well-known  for innovation and global perspective, so the opportunity to help Nazarbayev University build a new business school from the ground up was a challenge we embraced. Additionally, we welcome the chance to learn more about the business community and culture of Kazakhstan and feel grateful to experience this region and get to know its people in such a personal and meaningful way.

We have been working together now for more than seven years, and have just renewed our partnership through 2022.  I believe that we continue to work well together because we place academic scholarship and the student experience above all else.  We continue to be impressed by the passion and professionalism of the University leadership, faculty and staff, as well as the enthusiasm, motivation and intellect of the MBA students attending the programs.

The benefit for students studying at NUGSB is gaining exposure to faculty and intellectual resources from two outstanding universities.  The students are able to stay in country, and in the case of the EMBA students—continue working to contribute to Kazakhstan’s economy. The partnership with Fuqua gives them access to a global perspective in terms of the curriculum and opportunity to study at our campus in the United States during the program.  In many ways, it is the best of both worlds”- Valerie Hausman, Associate Dean, Global Executive Education, The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University.


“At Fuqua, we believe that business can transform the world in positive ways. Business schools are a key driver in developing leaders who can harness the tremendous power of business for good. We believe exposing MBA students to new ways of thinking and analyzing complex problems gives them the ability to contribute to solving some of the most pressing challenges of today including global security, poverty and environmental concerns. We believe that is not only  good for Kazakhstan, but the world.

From the first entering class in 2013, we have been impressed by the caliber of students at NUGSB.  We have found students to be consistently motivated, passionate about education and committed to improving the lives of people in Kazakhstan through business.  Our Fuqua faculty who have come over to teach have consistently said that the students at NUGSB are some of the best they have ever taught; and these are faculty with long histories of teaching at the best institutions around the world.  All of our faculty who have taught at NUGSB have asked to come back.  That would not happen without such talented, smart and ambitious students.

The NUGSB students benefit from exposure to Fuqua faculty, leadership and best practices, both in Astana and when they come to Duke for residencies.  Fuqua MBA students have benefited from the new perspectives that Fuqua faculty gain by teaching in Kazakhstan and gaining a better understanding of Central Asia’s economy, geopolitical perspectives and initiatives.  The NUGSB and Fuqua students have an opportunity to interact during the annual residency on Duke’s campus.  As we continue our partnership, we expect to identify opportunities for student exchanges between our two universities as well as faculty research collaboration”. – Valerie Hausman, Associate Dean, Global Executive Education, The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University.

Article about institutional collaboration available on

To read the article by Robert Olinger, Director of Business Development, Kazakhstan, “From the Beginning: How Duke’s Fuqua School of Business Helped Launch a School in Kazakhstan”, please press here.