Duke MMS Student Blog
How MMS Prepared Me for a Major Career Change by Getting Me Out of My Comfort Zone
Similar to a lot of other students, when I arrived at Fuqua I wasn’t sure what industry I wanted to pursue a career in yet.
Similar to a lot of other Master of Management Studies (MMS) students, when I arrived at Fuqua I wasn’t sure what industry I wanted to pursue a career in yet. I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan’s School of Kinesiology and was thinking that health care consulting could be a natural fit. But I didn’t have a lot of exposure to the consulting industry, so I was pretty open-minded when it came to the career search.
I started my job search during the Summer Term and really focused on health care companies. Through my research and meetings with my career advisor (Helen Crompton) I became interested in rotational and leadership development programs. These programs were appealing to me because I was still trying to determine what I was truly interested in and they offered an opportunity to try multiple positions within one company. I got the chance to talk with a lot of wonderful MMS alumni who worked in rotational and leadership development programs all over the country. My conversations with them allowed me to shift my career plans and focus solely on applying to these types of programs.
Towards the end of the Summer Term, during yet another meeting with Helen, she told me all about the General Motors (GM) Finance TRACK program. TRACK is GM’s rotational program. It is three years long with a new placement each year. The program was exactly what I was looking for except for the fact that it was in their finance department. Prior to coming to Fuqua, almost all of my business experience was in marketing and strategy. At the time Helen suggested the program, I was completing my first accounting course ever and still two weeks out from starting my first finance class ever. As much as I was excited about the rotational aspect, I just didn’t know if it was the right position for me. Helen encouraged me to reach out to some program alumni who were in the TRACK program and together they all convinced me that it was something I was capable of doing.
I completed my application and a virtual interview, and on the day of my first finance class ever I had a technical interview with GM. Having a technical interview with no prior finance experience was certainly nerve-racking, but nothing that Fuqua couldn’t help me prepare for. The online Fuqua library resources were great for learning basic financial concepts and vocabulary before the interview. Additionally, the financial accounting class I had just completed was relevant to the position and helped me answer a majority of the interview questions.
After a few more rounds of interviews, I was finally halfway done with my first finance class ever and I found out that I was being offered the job. Since accepting the offer, I have completed two finance classes and another accounting class. I’ve been able to learn so much about my future industry through these courses and I’m certainly excited for what is going to come next.
Ultimately, Fuqua has done more than just academically prepare me for the workforce. My time here has taught me to never be afraid to try something outside your comfort zone. Applying for a finance job without ever taking a finance class may seem crazy, but in the end, it was the right move for me. I knew from talking to alumni who had this same position, that over the next four terms the MMS program would provide me with the tools I needed to be successful. All I had to do was convince myself that I was up for the challenge, and I’m sure glad I did.