There’s actually a really long and complicated story about how I ended up at Duke, so I’m going to keep it as concise as I can.
I attended undergrad at Syracuse University in upstate New York, where I made a name for myself as a “media guy.” I went to SU wanting to become a sports broadcaster, but quickly developed a passion for the financial markets. I worked various media, entertainment and financial services internships, including an awesome financial analyst apprenticeship at JP Morgan Chase in New York City during the summer of 2010.
Upon completion of the internship, I really wanted to break in to a more client-facing, dynamic role within banking. I spent the majority of my senior year networking and trying to find an “in” to a club that heavily favored students from schools like Harvard, Princeton and … Duke!
After failing to land such a position, I sought jobs at other firms and considered graduate programs in finance, marketing, management, liberal arts or education. The plan was to take the GMAT and apply to the prestigious Martin J. Whitman Graduate Assistant position at Syracuse.
But upon receiving my GMAT score in March, my parents realized I scored very well and encouraged me to apply to top one-year master’s programs. I took out a U.S. News and World Report rankings list, and made my way down the list. Princeton, Yale, MIT, Chicago, Columbia, Duke, Washington University at St. Louis, Hopkins and Vanderbilt all had one-year programs. Duke had the only one that was not solely quantitative. I think I’m decent at math, but Princeton and Wash U’s one-year MS in Finance programs seemed better suited for people who scored perfectly on their GMAT and SAT. Nonetheless, I found that the MMS program is VERY quantitative, too.
I also looked at schools internationally. Queens University and University of Western Ontario in Canada, Peking University in China, HEC Paris, Maastricht in Denmark, and the London School of Economics.
I got in to several schools and two weeks before graduation, got a job offer at a firm I really liked. However, two days before my commencement, I was accepted to Duke. My father went to the best engineering school in the world (Indian Institute of Technology); my brother went to Cornell for engineering. It only made sense for me to go to one of the top 15 schools in the world. Consequently, I turned down the job and committed to MMS.
Regardless of what happens on the job scene, I think the Duke and Fuqua brand will carry any person as they progress in their career. I took a risk in turning down a job given this economy, but Duke is now something that will never be taken away from me. When I wear my Duke shirt, I honor the letters across my chest. Thus far, the MMS program has not disappointed. I have no regrets.