After being at Fuqua for roughly three months, I’ve learned various lessons, and one of the most important is that scheduled breaks are not really breaks. On October 19, my statistics final finished at noon and five hours later I found myself on a plane to New York City. I went to my old stomping grounds for fall break to not only visit my family and friends, but to also participate in the General Management Club’s Week in Cities trip.

Week in Cities

Student group
The General Management Club at Citi Consumer Bank!

During fall and winter breaks, various clubs organize these trips to different cities for corporate visits and meetings with company representatives. In addition, many trips include happy hours with Fuqua and Duke alumni. During this fall break, the Marketing Club, Luxury Brand and Retail Club, and Finance Club also went to NYC. The Marketing Club also organized a second trip to Chicago, while the High Tech Club went to Seattle, the Net Impact Club visited San Francisco, the Healthcare Club visited Boston and New York, and the Consulting Club along with the Media, Entertainment, and Sports Club traveled to Atlanta. Three months ago, I lived in New York and worked at KPMG, and now I found myself in the city as an MBA student visiting places where I might work in the future.

Welcome sign
AMEX welcomes Duke MBAs!

One of my favorite things about business school is the breadth of experiences that are available (symposiums, speaker events, corporate visits, international travel, mentored studies, etc.) and this trip encompassed many of those things. The trip was completely student run (thanks Brent and Catherine!), which entailed arranging the visits, providing company fact sheets, and keeping track of all participants. The company visits started Thursday afternoon and over the course of the next 5 business days, we visited 7 companies including Thomson Reuters, Citi Consumer Bank, Standards & Poor, American Express, M&T Bank, Mars Incorporated, and PepsiCo.

Group of people
Occupy Wall Street.

Back in My Old Stomping Grounds

As the “native” New Yorker, I guided us through the NYC subways, where I felt lots of pride, but also lots of pressure since I didn’t want to mess up the routes. For me, the trip was an invaluable experience because it put a more realistic spin on the places where I might intern, and it introduced me to company executives who graciously offered to help with the recruiting process. Some highlights from the trip included a studio tour at Thomson Reuters, a goody bag from Mars Inc., and a demo on credit card innovation through Citi’s partnership with Google Wallet. Additionally, I met a mix of alumni from both Fuqua and other business schools. And lastly, M&T bank was located across the street from KPMG, so it was nice to be back in familiar territory to really reflect on how different my life was when I worked there.

Aside from the corporate presentations and networking, I caught up with old friends, went to Starbucks about 5 times, and enjoyed some shopping and eating in the city. I became acquainted with a new neighborhood (Tribeca, thanks Tara!) and also took note on what has changed in NYC during the past three months (Occupy Wall Street, the Freedom Tower, etc.). One of my favorite things about NYC is how everything changes, but at the same time stays the same. The restaurants, bars, and convenience shops may take on new names or move to new locations, but regardless, the vibe and excitement of the city will always be there. It was great being home to take a “break” from classes and from Durham.