As I approached my senior year of my undergraduate studies, I was faced with this question: “What’s next?” Should I start working full-time? Take time off after graduation to travel the world? Or further my education with a graduate degree? I felt like I had to have everything figured out. If only ChatGPT could have made the decision for me! After hours of research, weighing the pros and cons, speaking with many people who took different paths, and attending events, I ultimately decided to enroll in the MMS program after graduation. I’m sharing my top four reasons for choosing this program in hopes that it will help others feel confident in the path they choose to follow, no matter where it leads them.

1. Career Opportunities

Attending a graduate program can be a challenging feat. It can come with many expenses, opportunity costs, and significant changes depending on where you must move to participate in the program. Ultimately, it truly is an investment. For those reasons, I wanted to ensure the program I attended was worth my money and time. When pondering this for the MMS program, one of the first things I looked at was the MMS Career Report. I wanted some assurance that I could get a job at the companies I was interested in working at full-time.

In addition, I knew joining MMS would give me access to a robust network of Duke and Fuqua alums who have gone on to hold influential positions across industries. Since I became an admitted student, the Career Management Center (CMC) has provided opportunities to receive one-on-one coaching and career development support, build my resume, and search for job opportunities, ensuring that I’m well-prepared to take the next steps in my professional journey.

2. Strong Reputation

It’s hard to go anywhere without people knowing about Duke University. Since enrolling, even just wearing a Duke University sweatshirt has led me to many impromptu conversations with people excited to speak about their ties to the university. I was drawn to Duke’s reputation for its commitment to academic excellence. Being a student at Fuqua comes with a level of pride, and it gives me the confidence to expand my network or approach potential employers.

3. Exposure to New Cultures

Most of my undergraduate career was interrupted by COVID-19, leading to some of the more traditional aspects of college being missed, like studying abroad. The MMS program attracts students globally, which I believe will help make up for my lack of experience abroad and allow me to interact with people from various countries and cultures. As a prospective student, I participated in many virtual panels and even visited Durham for a campus visit before applying to the MMS program. The first time I saw the Hall of Flags, I was amazed at the breadth of diversity that made up the Fuqua student body.

My campus tour guides were current students with different backgrounds. During the tour, the sense of camaraderie at Fuqua was clear as I saw our guides all get stopped multiple times by their peers wanting to say hello. It was also interesting to see how even students in the MQM program knew my tour guides in the MMS program. The connections between students, even from different programs, helped illustrate “Team Fuqua” and showed me that it wasn’t just a slogan. From that moment, I started to see how I could build a community at Fuqua and feel like I belonged in a student body that varied so vastly from one another.

Academically, having the opportunities to interact with my peers in a diverse student body has also helped me begin to learn how to work effectively in multicultural environments and tackle global challenges. As the marketplace is increasingly globalized, this skill set will be a unique value-add to any workplace. In just the first month at Fuqua, I interacted with and learned from students from Bangladesh, China, England, Jamaica, Peru, Brazil, and more!

4. Team-Based Approach

To me, one of the standout features of the MMS program is its team-based approach to academics. With much of my undergraduate studies being done independently, I felt that engaging in this teaching method would enrich my educational experience by allowing me to learn from my peers and help prepare me for the collaborative nature of the modern workplace. During orientation, I was assigned to a group within my section that I’ll be with until the spring. Throughout the summer and upcoming fall terms, I’ll continue to work closely with this group of students to analyze real-world business scenarios in multiple subjects.

After attending many company information sessions, some of the essential skills I’ve heard employers mention wanting are critical thinking and the ability to work on a team. One of my priorities at Fuqua is to sharpen my critical thinking and problem-solving skills, while also becoming a better communicator in order to collaborate effectively with people from various backgrounds. I believe this mirrors the challenges I’ll face in the professional world, where teamwork and the ability to tackle multifaceted problems will be very important.

As a student who did not take many of the courses offered in the MMS program, it has been great to receive a comprehensive education by learning from my professors in the classroom and my peers outside of the classroom. Engaging in subjects I was unable to in undergrad was another draw to this program for me—proving it was the perfect fit!