As the assistant director of MMS, I talk with a lot of students each and every day! Here are a few responses to common questions that I hear from prospective students, as well as from current students during their first few weeks at Fuqua.
What is the mix of students like?
We have some very local students who had their undergraduate experience at Duke, whereas others come to the U.S. for the first time to attend the MMS program. Both groups want to get the most out of their time in business school and have picked Duke for a reason. Whether they’ve been on campus four years or one month, they all want to be involved in the Duke and Durham communities.
Some students have a background in business, maybe because their family owns one, whereas others were liberal arts majors who decided that they wanted to experience something new. I think our student teams are so successful because they are diverse! In addition, I think the students in MMS are looking to meet new people and develop new skills—maybe gain exposure to new cultures or learn a foreign language—and this program helps them to do that. For example, the entire MMS community really enjoys all the potluck style meals we have together. Food is a great way to connect people, and both staff and students love to attend those events.
What is the biggest adjustment for students when they start?
Starting a Master’s program can be tough but it’s also an exciting time. Since the MMS program is only 10 months long, it’s very compact. Most days, you’ll spend 4.5 hours in class. When you’re not in class, you’ll be meeting with your team, doing homework, applying to jobs, and spending time off campus with new friends exploring Durham. The pace is fast and there is a lot to pack into 10 months. Students don’t quite realize how jam-packed the program is, especially the fall. It can be stressful but everyone gets through it together, and there are plenty of social events to help you relax and have fun along the way.
Who are the staff and faculty and how do they support students?
During your time in MMS, you will meet a diverse group of students, some of whom will become friends for life. Likewise, MMS has a great group of faculty and staff to support you while you pursue your degree. You will have about 15 professors during your 10 months—some come from industry, others primarily focus on research, and many have been part of the Fuqua Family for years. We often hear students say that an MMS professor became the favorite they had during their entire college experience.
In addition to course instructors, you will have the support of our Career Management Center (CMC). The CMC is made up of more than two dozen staff members who are accessible to MMS students, however three are dedicated to working exclusively with our program. The MMS CMC meets with students daily to review cover letters, support interview preparation, and talk about the specifics of securing a position. These meetings are personal, as each student has unique interests and needs.
Finally, I’m part of the program team! We’re primarily responsible for supporting students during the program. We support team dynamics, plan social events, work with our student leaders in the MMS Student Association (MMSA), and meet with each and every student to make sure we know when and where to help.
What are students’ favorite things to do in and around Durham?
I live in Durham, and I’m a huge fan of the area! Students typically live in one of a handful of apartment communities close to campus. This allows for frequent get-togethers, whether it’s studying after class or having fun at a weekend pool party. Of course visiting local bars and restaurants is popular among our students. Durham has an awesome variety of food from Sushi to Mediterranean to Mexican. Many students enjoy the outdoors and are avid runners, bikers and hikers! Students also enjoy visiting art and cultural venues such as the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC).
Durham has a lot to offer but so do the surrounding communities such as Chapel Hill and Raleigh. It’s not uncommon for students to visit those areas on weekends to go shopping, have dinner, or just walk around and explore.
What advice would you give to set up for students for success?
Be open to meeting new people and to considering new ideas. Try new things, even if they are a little bit out of your comfort zone because it will help connect you with others. Communicate well, be thoughtful with what you say and how you interact with others. Network, with your peers, with Daytime MBA students, and with staff and faculty too. Finally, manage your time well, as staying organized will be extremely valuable.