As a proud 2017 MMS graduate, I am currently a manager with the financial services practice at Deloitte in New York. Duke and Deloitte have been an inseparable part of my life since my early 20s. Hence, I want to share my journey and the lessons I’ve learned, starting from when I was a prospective student six years ago.

As a finance student at the University of British Columbia, Wall Street was the ultimate dream. I’m not going to lie; it was tough and competitive to join one of the leading investment banks on Wall Street. I can clearly recall the day that I stood on the observation deck of the Rockefeller Center as a tourist in 2015, overlooking the extraordinary skylines of New York in a blizzard, and yet thinking how mind-blowing it would be to call this city my home.

Little did I know, Rockefeller would be my office, Wall Street would be my home, and I would be working for one of the largest professional services firms in the world in only two years. It was Fuqua and Deloitte that allowed my dream to come true.

Building a Foundation of Soft Skills

In fact, the values of Fuqua truly resonated with me—supportive ambition, collective diversity, and loyal community. In addition to its academic excellence, it was the cohesive and strong bond of the Fuqua and Duke family that attracted me the most. Every time I come back to campus, I still receive the warmest “welcome home” message with the unlimited connections of the Duke alumni network across the globe. It is unbelievable how powerful the words “Duke” and “Fuqua” can connect two strangers together instantaneously.

Sometimes, life doesn’t go as planned. I came to Fuqua with the goal of becoming an investment banker, but I graduated with a consulting offer from Deloitte. It turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made. And you may wonder why. Again, it was the diversified culture and inclusive values of Deloitte that sealed the deal.

People at Deloitte, regardless of their title, truly care and support your personal and professional growth. Over the span of six years, I have heard many business leaders echo some version of the idea that, “hard skills can be taught, and soft skills can not.”

From my own experience, the MMS program played a significant role in sharpening my soft skillset, ranging from teamwork, leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills. Fuqua will prepare you well to launch a successful career.

WeiNi Zhang leaning against a metal stair railing in front of the Fuqua entrance in two photos side by side.
Standing in the same spot 6 years later (left photo taken in 2016, right photo taken in 2022)

Consulting: A Career of Exploration

During my career as a consultant, senior consultant, and manager, I had the opportunity to explore a variety of industries and clients. It is not only a pleasure to work with kind and intelligent people, but it is also exhilarating to be consistently exposed and challenged to different responsibilities and clientele.

For instance, I’ve worked with leading financial institutions, tech firms, and other Fortune 500 companies. I’ve interacted with chief executives, worked in multiple execution teams ranging from three people to 30 people, and participated in multi-million-dollar initiatives. There are challenges and rewards, just like everything else in life.

I firmly believe that you should always challenge yourself to not only meet expectations but to exceed them. At a young age, try to expect the unexpected. Failure is inevitable, stay resilient, be fearless, and reach for your ambitious dreams, because one day, it will come true. And Fuqua will help you along the journey in many ways.

Recently, I had the privilege to speak with Grady Arnao with Fuqua’s Admissions team about what the day-to-day of a consulting manager at Deloitte looks like, as well as my advice for other students considering the MMS program or going into consulting. You can watch that interview here: