Since February, a classmate, Crystal Luo, and I have worked as assistants to Fuqua Executive in Residence Bill Sax. Professor Sax has run a small business consulting course for more than 25 years. MBAs in his classes consult fledgling businesses in the Triangle area.

Companies apply to be a part of this program, and once accepted, they pay a fee for the consulting services. Nearly all industries have been a part of this special opportunity.

After 25 years of starting and turning around many companies, Sax – along with MMS Director of Career Services Angela Eberts, Fuqua strategy professor James Emery, and Fuqua alumna Katie Gailes – thought it would be beneficial to create a database with information about the companies that have participated in the program, including industry information, contacts, and any other relevant information. This would be used for research purposes among Duke faculty as well as internship and full-time recruiting for MMS and MBA students – and this is what me and Crystal were hired to work on.

Putting together the database has allowed me to hone my Excel skills. In addition, I’ve become adept at working the phones and searching on Google to update important information. It’s cool to see how many companies started with very little revenue and support, and after going through the program, they became multimillion dollar corporations.

Not only have I learned a lot about project management, but I’m also giving back to Duke and the MMS program by executing this function. Future MMS students and Fuqua academics will have greater access to local companies, their contacts, and their overall strategy.