Coming right from undergraduate studies, most MMSers (including me) have little to no full-time work experience. It is easy to get into the mindset that MMS is a fifth year of undergrad. But it’s not. It is a better idea to treat MMS differently — professionally.
Professionalism is the key to MMS.
Unlike undergraduate programs, MMS is entirely hosted in The Fuqua School of Business, where faculty members and professionals from all industries visit, work, study, and interact with one another. In other words, Fuqua is more of a workplace than just a school. During undergrad years, students can dress casually in jeans, T-shirts, and sandals. However, at Fuqua, we are strongly encouraged to dress like business professionals. Most of the time we wear business casual attire, unless there are presentations or corporate events, in which case we really suit up. Of course, there are times when we just feel like dressing down; no one would stop us from dressing that way as long as we maintain professionalism at school.
Another example — at the beginning of the program, we each received a box of business cards, which serve as leave-behinds at networking events. For most of us, it was the first time we had cards with our own names on them. We learned to ask for and give out cards in networking sessions, informational interviews, and even coffee chats. If you treat MMS like undergrad, you are likely to ignore exchanging business cards, which is crucial to networking for jobs and following-up.
Everyone comes to Fuqua with a professional goal in mind.
Depending on the program section you are in, classes can end fairly early, leaving usually half a day to yourself. These are the times when workshops, events, and team projects take place that can help with your professional goals. If you treat MMS like undergrad, where you go home and have fun once class is over, you are getting less than half of what Fuqua has to offer. Outside of the classroom, a lot of learning and career opportunities occur. For example, companies usually present at Fuqua a few weeks before they interview candidates. Attending these presentations can give you a leg up if you land an interview. In addition, both MMS and MBA professional clubs generally host events during lunchtime or in the evening. One such event was The High Tech Symposium (Nov. 6). The event included panel discussions and networking events with representatives from Deloitte, Google, Oracle, IBM, etc. — great companies to learn about and interact with.
To rephrase what our Associate Dean Kathie Amato once said, the students who make the most of this program are the ones who treat MMS as if it’s a full-time job. By presenting the best and most professional side of ourselves, we are not only upholding the traditions of Team Fuqua, but also getting the highest ROI for ourselves.