The career search is no doubt a daunting process. The search for a post-Fuqua career started as soon as I began the MMS program. Coming from a health background with little to no experience in business or job searching, I was terrified by words like “networking,” “referrals,” and “case prep.” I felt intimidated. However, with the support of the Career Management Center (CMC), classmates, and Fuqua alumni, the process was a little less daunting.
My first goal was to try narrowing down the industry I would like to work in and what functions within those industries. This was personally one of the more difficult tasks to accomplish. I was trying to decide if I wanted to stay within the health industry or maybe try to recruit with the Big Four or MBB like the majority. I knew for a fact that it is much easier to recruit for one industry than multiple, so I had to figure it out as soon as possible.
However, I didn’t have to make this decision by myself. My first step was to get acquainted with the CMC and all the resources they offer. I made a few general appointments with a career coach, and after speaking to her, she put me in contact with multiple MMS grads who were able to speak to me and offer some words of advice. It was the best starting point to my job search and I highly recommend finding a career coach and staying in contact with the CMC. Make use of all the resources available such as the resume template, resume review, cover letter writing tips, and all the events hosted throughout the year.
The next step was to begin networking. Networking and coffee chats sound overwhelming at first, and they are, but the more you do it the easier it gets. When you’re networking, it’s all about learning. Don’t think about referrals, or having an end goal, or asking for a favor. If you think a person’s job sounds interesting, reach out and learn about what they do. If you just want to ask for advice from someone whose job you admire, reach out and ask for 15 minutes of their time to chat. The more I did this, the more I could learn about a certain industry, company, or roles within those companies. To connect with people, make use of the Fuqua alumni database, the many events hosted by Fuqua alumni, or go through central Duke University offerings like the “Ask a Blue Devil” system. Talking to people is valuable and it was how I was able to get two amazing mentors.
The career search is definitely a process that you have to prepare for. I make sure to go at my own pace and not let anyone rush me or make me feel behind. It is a time-consuming process but with the right mindset, strategy, and a little bit of Excel organization I am able to break it down into more digestible pieces.