Capping off your program

Your MQM program culminates with the Capstone project, a 6-week intensive experience in which you team up with 3-4 classmates, and partner with a faculty advisor and an organization to solve a specific business problem using analytics techniques. The Capstone project ensures you use the new tools and skills you have developed in a domain-specific business context--all while navigating the challenges of a real world data environment.


Capstone projects serve businesses of all sizes, from startups to Fortune 100 firms, in all industries – including for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Each project is specific to one of the four curriculum tracks in your MQM program: Finance, Information Risk Management, Marketing, or Strategy. While your team will work on only one Capstone, organizations may sponsor multiple projects in a term meaning several teams in your cohort may have the opportunity to work with the same organization. While client sponsors do not pay a fee to participate in Capstone, they will first be vetted by your program dean.

While Capstone opportunities vary each year, previous projects include:


  • Develop a tool that forecasts the likelihood of bull/bear markets over various horizons, and across multiple asset classes/segments.
  • Using options to construct convexity overlays, explore whether investment opportunities can be identified from the shape of the US Treasury yield curve.


  • Identify the main drivers of client sales in order to incorporate these drivers into KPI’s appropriate to evaluate sales efforts.
  • Using natural language processing, validate pain points from a feedback survey to ensure the correct categories of issues are being identified in support requests.


  • Develop a machine-learning model to identify potential waste, fraud, and abuse in an identification system used for building access, consumer purchases, and identity management.
  • Create an anomaly-detection system that identifies possible data exfiltration and unauthorized access in a cloud-based application.


    • Create a scheduling algorithm to more efficiently match patient needs and doctor performance for specific types of medical procedures.
    • Using nationwide installation data, analyze the potential to use a specific FHA financial product to aid low- and middle-income families in acquiring solar panels.


    Just as in the real world, when requested, your team will perform its work under an organization’s confidentiality agreement. While the nature of the agreement will vary depending on the sponsoring organization, your Capstone project is subject to rules crafted between the firm and the MQM Program. Your faculty also have access to a secure research data infrastructure that will be adapted for the needs of your sponsoring organization to ensure integrity of that firm’s data. Only the members of your team will have access to your project sponsor’s data, and the data will only be shared with you in a manner consistent with your sponsor’s third-party data transfer governance rules. Given sensitivity, Fuqua prefers that sponsors not provide personally identifiable information as part of a project, but regardless - as a student in Capstone you will be bound under whatever confidentiality constraints the sponsoring firm requires.



    Working with a client on their real-world problem provides valuable experience to enhance your academic knowledge, and develops your professional competency by learning how to work with a client effectively. As part of your Capstone project you will be assigned an industry liaison who will meet with your team approximately once per week throughout the term. The role of the liaison is to provide your team any needed technical and strategic guidance around your project, and their time is limited - so you will need to shape professional questions for your client and prepare discussion materials for those meetings to use their time most efficiently.

    Photo of MQM students at graduation
    My Experience

    Lessons from My Capstone Project with the Duke University Baseball Team


    Interested in Sponsoring?

    Project evaluations occur through the fall, while projects themselves are run mid-March through early May. Interested organizations should connect with Dr. Jeremy Petranka.