Just three years ago, when I was applying to business schools, I knew that one of the main reasons I was getting an MBA was to pivot into marketing. What I didn’t realize then was that Fuqua would help me achieve this goal, while also providing opportunities to help my classmates and pursue other interests.

Having grown up all over the world, primarily in England and Switzerland, and now having lived in the U.S. for 10 years, I’ve always loved learning about the nature of businesses across different markets. Fascinated by Macroeconomics 101 in undergrad, I majored in economics at the University of Virginia. Right after graduation, I started my career in consulting and advisory in Washington, D.C.

The Start of My Consulting Career

I had an incredible opportunity to consult Chief Privacy Officers on privacy challenges while at Gartner and work with case teams on top strategic challenges faced by CEOs of Fortune 500 companies during my time at Bain. After five years in the industry, I realized I loved strategy and problem-solving for clients, especially consumer packaged goods (CPG) and retail companies. Still, I wanted more ownership and direct impact on the brands and consumers than I could achieve from an external standpoint.

That’s when I realized I wanted to work for the companies we consulted for and wanted to pursue a career in marketing, particularly brand management after getting an MBA. Brand management perfectly combined my interests in consumer behavior, strategy, data analytics, and creative thinking. It was a no-brainer that Fuqua was the perfect choice given not only its marketing strengths and connections.

Fuqua’s Marketing Expertise & Resources

Fast forward a few years later, and I’m grateful for the support, mentorship, and resources I’ve received at Fuqua, especially through the Duke MBA Marketing Club. With this help, I secured multiple internship offers during my first year, eventually deciding to spend the summer working as a Senior Brand Manager with P&G Ventures, the company’s startup accelerator.

Anandi Rahman, an MBA student at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, stands in front of P&G sign
First day of my internship at P&G headquarters in Cincinnati

Here are the resources I leveraged at Fuqua to make a successful pivot into marketing:

  • Marketing Club: The marketing club prepared me extremely well for recruiting with several events, including the Marketing Symposium. At this flagship event, top CPG companies are invited to campus to talk to students about career opportunities. Then there’s also Marketing Integrated Learning Experience (MILE) – a six-session recruiting and interview prep series held throughout the Fall semester. MILE helps students prepare for applications, coffee chats, and interviews. Lastly, the club’s strong alumni network was very helpful as I learned a lot during my networking conversations with Fuqua alum who have successful careers in marketing.
Greg Lyons, the Chief Marketing Officer of PepsiCo Beverages North America (PBNA), and he presented on innovating at Pepsi. We have me and Louis Fierro on the right-hand side (outgoing Marketing Club Presidents) and Eric Kirkpatrick and Ellie Baumgartner, the new incoming club presidents on the left-hand side.
The marketing club hosts Greg Lyons, Chief Marketing Officer of PepsiCo Beverages North America (PBNA) for a presentation on innovating at Pepsi. (From left to right: Eric Kirkpatrick, Ellie Baumgartner, Lyons, Louis Fierro, me)
  • Marketing Faculty and Classes: Fuqua has a variety of helpful marketing electives that helped me understand the challenges brands face with regard to new product launches, pricing, and marketing campaigns. Such classes included Strategy & Tactics of Pricing taught by Professor Wilfred Amaldoss and Market Research by Professor Tanya Chartrand. I’ve also really enjoyed learning from marketing Professors Keisha Cutright and Jordan Etkin, who teach the core marketing class and helped me think through my internship offers.
  • Second-Year Mentors: My second-year marketing club buddy (assigned through the club’s mentorship program), Sophia Zheng, also played a key role in my recruiting journey. Sophia was a constant source of support and inspiration, and she helped me navigate the difficult parts of recruiting. She’s a true embodiment of the Team Fuqua spirit.
  • Career Management Center: The Career Management Center (CMC) Sector Director for Consumer Goods & Retail, Shawn Pulscher has many years of experience working in brand management. He helped me prepare for interviews and negotiate my compensation for my offers.

These resources were instrumental in landing my summer internship, where I helped develop a three-year organic growth strategy for an underperforming product line for a brand at P&G. As a result, I decided to pay it forward during my second year as a co-president of the marketing club. It has been so rewarding to help students better understand what a career in marketing entails, help guide the future marketing careers of both first-year and second-year students, and educate prospective students about Fuqua’s marketing resources.

Louis Fierro and Anandi Rahman, MBA students at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business
Louis (my co-president) and I after organizing the Marketing Symposium, the marketing club’s flagship event for the year

Additionally, I’ve also given back as the VP of Marketing for The Fuqua Show, a Fuqua student-run podcast, which captures the lessons and stories of amazing members of the Fuqua community. This has also been an amazing leadership role that allowed me to help expand our reach and learn more about the unique journeys of our amazing classmates, faculty, and alumni.

This summer, I will begin my career with a full-time position as Associate Brand Manager at Mars, working in their headquarters in New Jersey. While I’m excited about my future in marketing, I’m thankful that my time at Fuqua has allowed me opportunities in venture capital. In my next blog, I reflect on a spring internship with a VC firm in Durham.