At Fuqua, there’s no shortage of avenues for support when it comes to academics, career, and new opportunities to stretch yourself. The Duke MBA Marketing Club is a great example. It’s one of 18 professional clubs, and although I wound up taking an internship in the tech space, it was the most instrumental for me when it came to recruiting and really surviving my first year.

Like those other clubs, the Marketing Club hosts events designed to help students connect with future employers and understand their own “why [insert job here]”. Flagship events include the Marketing Symposium, where we host a number of thought leaders from CPG brands and tech firms to speak to our students; experiential learning opportunities such as the Brand Challenge, where students partner with brand teams in immersive marketing events; and of course, education through the Marketing Integrated Learning Experience (MILE), which specifically prepares students for successful interviews.

I enjoyed and benefited from each of these activities during my first year, but what surprised me more than anything was the mentorship I found through the club and the friendships I built along the way.

By luck or fate, I signed up for the club’s mentorship program, where I was matched with second-year marketing superstar Lauren Whyte. Lauren was already guiding my recruitment journey as one of the Member Education VPs leading MILE, and with her as my mentor, I had the opportunity to practice many of the interview skills that are critical to the recruiting process one-on-one. More importantly, though, I also had a safe space to ask potentially embarrassing questions, and I had my own personal cheerleader to validate my feelings, to talk me off the ledge when things went poorly, to motivate me before each interview, and finally to celebrate with when it all worked out.

By engaging with the club, I also had the chance to form some unlikely connections that became some of my most prized friendships. In that very “Team Fuqua” way, I worked alongside classmates who were recruiting for the same roles that I was, and we provided one another feedback that made all of us better. We were vulnerable and relentlessly supported each other, and over a matter of weeks, mock interviews, casing practice, and vent sessions turned into genuine friendships. We celebrated when job offers were secured, and we offered support via a pep talk or glass of wine when things didn’t go our way.

I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to lean into both the social and professional aspects of the Duke MBA Marketing Club during my first year, and I’m excited to pay it forward with the Class of 2023.