Looking back at my MMS experience, I cannot believe how fast the program went by. In the beginning of the summer session, everyone will tell you how quick the program goes by, but you don’t realize how true this statement is until you experience it yourself. In retrospect, there are three tips that I would like to give to future MMS classes.
- Network Early: The Career Management Center will emphasize the importance of networking and building relationships with alumni and other contacts. Start this process early and build meaningful relationships with people in the industries you are interested in. Everyone has an interesting story to tell, and you never know when opportunities may arise and a contact can be very helpful. The key is to build a true reciprocal relationship with a contact. How? You can simply start networking with your new classmates. Who knows, one of your classmates might just know someone at the company of your dreams.
- Identify Your Interests: This concept spins off of the first tip. In order to be able to network effectively, you need to let your contacts know what types of jobs you’re interested in. You need to be able to indicate exactly what your interest is in order for someone to be able to best help you. While it is okay to be interested in a range of industries, make sure you are able to specifically convey your story. How? Take advantage of the personality assessments (like Myers-Briggs) that you do in the beginning of the year. These will help you to understand your working habits better. Also, use your network to learn more about the type of work that you’re interested in. Hearing other people’s stories may help you to identify if their job is of interest to you.
- Take Advantage of the Resources: Duke and Fuqua have more than an abundance of resources, which include alumni networks, the Career Management Center, student clubs, and networking events. I personally have been able to connect with a number of great people, participated in marketing club events, and turned to the career coaches for advice. How? Be proactive. Send an email and introduce yourself to your career coach and some alumni in your targeted industry. If you ever need help finding academic resources, reach out to your professors and the MMS program managers. Look at the calendar of events and pick out ones that sound interesting to you. There are a multitude of ways and opportunities for you to take advantage of your whole experience in MMS.
The MMS experience is all about what you make of it. You need to be proactive to take advantage of all that Duke and Fuqua have to offer because this is what will set you up for success. That being said, make sure you have fun along the way, too!