Attending the MMS program is one of the best (if not the best) decision I have made. I had no clue about the MMS program until after I scored well on the GMAT and researched one-year master’s programs in the middle of March 2011.

Upon acceptance last May, Duke wasn’t my only option. I actually had job offers on the table, and I came very close to accepting one with a prominent firm in Austin. I got in to several graduate schools in the United States, Canada, and abroad.

But I’m still glad I came here. Now that I’m 90% done with the MMS program, here are my top five takeaways from the experience:

1. Prestige

Initially, my sole reason for joining MMS was the prestige factor. I wanted to be a part of the Duke community.

In addition to the strong Duke and Fuqua label, the MMS program admits extremely high-caliber students from prestigious schools. Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, London School of Economics, UCLA Law School, Maastricht … the list would reach the bottom of this document if I keep going.

2. Job prospects

My goal for the past several years was to get a sales and trading job in New York City. I attended Syracuse University for my bachelor’s, which made it difficult to land interviews because the Cuse isn’t a target school for banks. I worked my butt off to land a couple of “front-office” interviews, but I wasn’t lucky enough to land any jobs. I remember going to a super day at Morgan Stanley, and half the kids interviewing against me were from Duke. At the time, I told myself, “I need to find a way to get there for law school or an MBA.”

Once recruiting season starting during Fall Term I of MMS, I was so happy just to land interviews. Macquarie, Capital One, UBS, Wells Fargo: these were some of the big names that seemed like pipe dreams a year before.

The success rate of recruiters responding to my emails went way up. Syracuse alumni I networked with during undergrad now return my emails and phone calls. The combination of the Duke/Fuqua name, the Career Management Center, and my maturity has helped me tremendously on the job hunt. (By the way, I will be working at Wells Fargo starting in July as a Corporate Strategy Consultant.)

3. Education

Every year, the Fuqua faculty is always ranked near the top. The professors are arguably the best at what they do. It’s just as cool to have these scholars share their unique insights in the classroom.

The case method makes Fuqua education different from other undergraduate business programs. Almost everything we do is real-world or has real-world applications. I took a plethora of undergraduate business courses, yet I found them to be more “academic” and less “real.”

Cases we studied in class prepared me for job interviews tremendously. I was able to tackle problems strategically. Without an emphasis on case teachings, I would not have my job at Wells Fargo.

4. New atmosphere

Prior to starting school in July, I’d never visited North Carolina. In fact, I barely knew anything about the state. The only city I knew something about was Charlotte, and I thought Duke was an hour away from it. I had no idea Durham was so close to Raleigh and Chapel Hill.

Coming here has actually changed the course of my life. I’m moving to Charlotte in July, and who knows? I might actually end up settling down in NC. The weather is terrific. The cost of living is relatively inexpensive.

Now in its third year, the MMS program is picking up steam internationally and getting to be extremely competitive. I did fairly well during my undergraduate years. I graduated with three different majors in two very different academic areas. I had strong extracurricular activities. Nevertheless, I’m likely not in the top three quartiles of my class in the MMS. It’s not because I’m lazy and hate school. It’s because the kids here work extremely hard and are freaking smart! (Check out more class stats.) It’s great to get a completely different academic experience than what I got in undergrad.

5. Duke & Fuqua network

Fuqua takes pride in harboring a “family” culture. Fuqua Fridays enable faculty, staff, students and other members of the “family” to mingle over food and drinks each week.

MBAs are more than willing to help MMS students. They invite the MMS to their professional and social events. One MBA helped me prepare for finance interviews.

The Career Management Center provides mentorship programs with MBA and MMS alumni. I wouldn’t have been as prepared for my interviews without the guidance I received from Wells Fargo banker and Fuqua alumnus Kevin Scotto.

Within the MMS program, diversity is remarkable. There are more than 10 student-athletes. Other MMSers played sports during their undergrad: swimming, cycling, track & field, marathon running, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, and many more. There surely isn’t a shortage of spirit at Team Fuqua!

My favorite part of MMS is the people. The students are truly remarkable because they’re willing to help each other in every facet. Not just in academics, but on the networking front, too. For example, one of my classmates was kind enough to put me in touch with a prominent sports agent, Jeffrey Wechsler. Mr. Wechsler gave me lots of valuable career advice and said once I move to Charlotte, he’d take me to a Charlotte Bobcats basketball game. This is just one example of the “Fuqua family” and its individual members looking out for one another.

Honorable Mentions

  • Duke basketball
  • Chapel Hill’s Franklin Street
  • Triangle-area dining
  • Shooters II