Preparing for a Career in Corporate Strategy

I can’t believe I am less than two terms, or 12 weeks, away from graduation. Not surprisingly, I find myself reflecting on my time at school and what I have accomplished.

I came to Fuqua with a depth of experience in executing operations at a research and analytics company. As I began the program, one of the abilities I wished to develop at school was the horsepower for thinking strategically and analytically about issues surrounding businesses and their stakeholders. At first, I thought of achieving this through a concentration in Strategy. However, once at school, I realized that there are multiple avenues available at Fuqua to develop well-rounded skills to appreciate and learn strategy.

Concentration & Coursework: Like I mentioned, the path that seemed logical to pursue a career in corporate strategy was to pursue a concentration in Strategy at Fuqua. Earning this concentration requires at least six electives that are a mix of advanced strategy and analytical courses. While at Fuqua, I have taken ten such courses and have learned a great deal through the process.

Fuqua's Client Consulting Practicum (FCCP)

Ankit Khanna posing with FCCP teammates and client.

Practical Training: In addition to the coursework, I also took the opportunity to participate in Fuqua’s Client Consulting Practicum (FCCP). FCCP is a hands-on program that lets student teams (comprising 5-6 people) develop business skills by working on actual problems at real companies. My team’s project was a 12-week study to formulate the growth strategy for an artisan cheese company in Hillsborough, NC. The entire experience was a great platform to apply content learned in class in a meaningful way… and eat some great cheese!

Engaging Faculty: Another great resources that exists at Fuqua is the faculty. My core and elective strategy professors have not just been great professors but have also doubled as great sounding boards when I needed industry insight or career advice. In fact, on a couple of occasions I requested to speak with professors ahead of interviews to gain from their perspective, and they were always more than willing to schedule time to discuss issues and insights at length with me.

Summer Internship with Urban Planet

This is from my internship at Urban Planet. This picture has two other Fuqua students who were interning at Urban Planet with me – Kyungho Kim (third from right) and Irina Kudryashova (centre/sixth from left).

Summer Internship: Summers are a great way to transition into a role or opportunity you want to pursue full-time. It gives you an opportunity to try out an industry, function, and role for a period of 8-12 weeks. While most companies in the U.S. have great corporate strategy roles and internships, a lot of them don’t recruit international students without U.S. work authorization. I was adamant about working in a corporate strategy role and kept looking. As a result, I ended up with an internship at an education technology startup called Urban Planet and helped the company with their funding strategy.

While these resources have been most useful to me, there are several others that have helped me and my classmates. These include hearing from guest speakers in the industry, participating in regional and national case competitions, assisting professors as teaching assistants, and developing cases for classroom discussion with professors, among others.

It remains to be seen how I will actually do in the real world after I graduate, but I do think that I have been able to do some solid groundwork during my time at Fuqua, preparing me for the career of my choice.

Ankit Khanna

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