Navigating the intricate world of recruiting, especially as an international student, can feel like traversing uncharted territory. Coming from a different country, I quickly realized that the process here in the United States is vastly different from what I was accustomed to back home in India. The landscape is nuanced, with various factors at play, including sponsorship opportunities and company policies regarding international employees, which significantly impact our options.

However, amid the complexities, I found solace and guidance within Fuqua’s renowned alumni network. Known for its strength and support, the alumni community proved to be an invaluable resource during my journey. Through proactive engagement on platforms like LinkedIn, I reached out to alumni who graciously offered their time and insights.

Connecting with Alumni

Their willingness to share their experiences, coupled with prompt responses and meaningful conversations, provided me with clarity and direction. By delving into their career trajectories, I gained valuable perspectives on the recruitment process, discerned my interests, and delineated my priorities.

As the adage goes, the best knowledge often comes from those who have walked the path before us. Engaging with alumni not only equipped me with practical insights but also helped me steer clear of potential pitfalls by learning from their mistakes and successes. For example, identifying companies that sponsor visas significantly streamlined my job search, saving valuable time and energy.

However, receiving my first job offer taught me a valuable lesson. While companies may not have a track record of sponsoring visas, demonstrating your value can prompt them to reconsider their policies. If they recognize your potential contribution, they may be willing to make exceptions and offer sponsorship opportunities in the future.

From discussions spanning core finance roles like investment banking to avenues in management consulting and marketing, I gleaned insights from diverse backgrounds. In a competitive market, expanding my job search beyond consulting to include audit and finance roles increased my visibility and opportunities. These interactions were instrumental in shaping my understanding of various professions and ultimately guided my decision-making process regarding post-graduation career paths.

Mehak Bishnoi. a student in the MMS program at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business gives a presentation

Gaining Valuable Insights at Conferences

Attending various conferences hosted by Fuqua, such as the annual conference hosted by the Private Equity and Venture Capital Club, significantly aided my personal and professional growth. These events attracted many alumni and esteemed industry professionals, providing excellent networking opportunities. During these events, I was able to engage in meaningful conversations, learning a great deal from these interactions and building connections on both a professional and personal level. For instance, I bonded with one professional over our shared love of cats, which added a delightful personal touch to our professional relationship. Staying in touch with these contacts proved invaluable during my recruiting journey.

My active engagement with Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Duke I&E), conveniently based at Fuqua, was also immensely beneficial. By consistently participating in events like Matchmaker and various workshops, I was eventually selected to meet with the Board of Directors of Duke I&E. Their mentorship was instrumental not only in guiding my entrepreneurial aspirations and goals but also in helping me align my entrepreneurial mindset with potential job roles.

Mehak Bishnoi, a student in the MMS program at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, speaking at an event table in the Fox Center

Becoming a Stronger Job Candidate

In addition to gaining valuable insights into various career paths through my interactions with alumni, I also honed essential skills and tapped into a plethora of resources offered by Fuqua.

Delving deeper into understanding company profiles and job expectations, I equipped myself with the knowledge necessary to navigate the recruitment process with clarity and purpose. Leveraging resources such as the Career Management Center (CMC) and platforms like CareerBridge and the alumni directory proved instrumental in accessing job listings, industry insights, and networking opportunities.

I actively worked on enhancing my soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and adaptability, which are indispensable in today’s dynamic job market. Through mock interviews and feedback sessions, I refined my interview skills, gaining confidence in articulating my experiences and aspirations effectively.

Moreover, leveraging resources available on LinkedIn and Duke’s strategic partnership with Coursera provided me with access to a wealth of free resources, ranging from online courses to industry reports. These resources empowered me to stay abreast of industry trends, enhance my skill set, and showcase my expertise to potential employers effectively.

In essence, the wisdom of Fuqua’s alumni network and CMC resources have been instrumental in navigating the intricacies of recruiting as an international student. This support has not only illuminated the path forward but has also empowered me to make informed decisions as I embark on the next chapter of my career journey.