In my last blog post on Fall Term II, I mentioned how busy I was. Now, as I head into our next term and look back, I’d like to provide some more color about specific activities that impacted me during the last term. Here are some highlights:
2011 Annual Weekend for Women
The Duke MBA Weekend for Women was Nov. 3 – Nov. 6, and was a great success. Roughly 80 women from all over the country came to Duke to get a taste of business school and all the craziness that entails! The event included classroom simulations, panel discussions with current students and alumni, and other guest speakers. In my opinion, the highlight of the event (besides meeting so many wonderful women!), was a keynote speech by Kerrii Anderson who is a Fuqua alumna, KPMG alumna, and former CEO of Wendy’s. Wendy’s has been my go-to fast food restaurant for years, and besides our other similarities (I also used to work at KPMG), Kerrii gave an impressive speech on taking charge of your career. She described the choices she made to drive her career forward. After the event, I heard from various attendees who all had a great time and were able to walk away with a true understanding of “Team Fuqua,” which reaffirmed that all the hard work and planning that went into the weekend was worth it.
Duke Start-Up Challenge
On Nov. 18, I attended the annual Duke Start-Up Challenge Elevator Pitch Finals, where I watched 16 teams pitch their start-up ideas to a panel of judges for a grand prize of $5,000! Any Duke student (undergrad and grad) can participate! I personally have not thought of the next Facebook yet, but I enjoyed hearing other Duke students pitch their brilliant ideas. Some of my favorites included Star Toilet Paper LLC, CloudGuard, Agora, and CranioVation (click on the link above for descriptions of these start-ups).
I took a leadership class last term (Managing Human Assets taught by Professor Joe Leboeuf) that taught me how important leadership is in organizations and why leadership matters. The class included numerous guest speakers, including P&G’s Bob McDonald. Another guest speaker who I’d like to highlight is fellow blogger Deidre-Ann Nelson! For four years before business school, Deidre-Ann worked in leadership development at Goldman Sachs. Coincidentally, in the leadership class, we had a case assignment that involved designing a leadership development program at Goldman Sachs. Deidre-Ann was able to share insight on the real-life program, including its success. It was incredible to have Deidre-Ann as a guest speaker. We both graduated from Brandeis in 2005, both worked in New York City, and both came to Fuqua to change careers, yet we took incredibly different paths from 2005-2011, and we want to pursue completely different careers after Fuqua. She is looking to go into healthcare while I’m concentrating on corporate finance. This just highlights Fuqua’s great ability to cater to both of our backgrounds and unique career paths.
I haven’t written much about my Integrated Leadership Experience (ILE) team, but I truly believe we work better as a team than as individuals. Although we only have one class left together (Operations), my teammates have been with me every step of the way during my Fuqua experience, and I consider each and every one of them my friend.
One of the things that stands out the most about Fall Term II was the coordination amongst teammates, or lack thereof. Recruiting events picked up steam in Fall II and on top of that, 3 of the 6 of us had different class schedules. Finding a consistent time to meet became a big challenge early in the term and we experienced some growing pains. However, with a two-part strategy project to work on together (an industry analysis and a consulting report on Netflix), my ILE team was able to gather momentum and regroup to successfully finish the assignment and end the term as a cohesive group.
First-Year Networking Night
Each December, Fuqua hosts a networking night, which provides first-year students with an informal setting to meet company executives and chat about prospective internships. The event featured 21 companies from various industries that were recruiting for positions in corporate finance, general management, consulting, and marketing. Some of my favorite companies included Citi, PepsiCo, Limited Brands, Mars, and MasterCard. Attending the event was a great opportunity. I was able to reconnect with company representatives who I met earlier in the year, and I met new representatives who came to Fuqua for the first time. However, my faux pas of the night was probably approaching the PepsiCo recruiters with a bottle of Coke in my hand. Luckily, they laughed about it!