Going into Fuqua’s MQM program, I knew I wanted to be involved in an organization within the Fuqua community. I first heard about Duke Interdisciplinary Social Innovators (DISI) during my Blue Devil Experience weekend and heard nothing but positive things from the current students, so naturally, I wanted to learn more about the organization.

DISI is an organization, open to all graduate students across the professional schools at Duke, that provides pro bono consulting services to non-profits in Durham and nearby communities. What drew me to this organization was its mission towards our community and that it brought together students from Duke’s various graduate programs. I saw this as an opportunity to strengthen my own skills and get to know others outside of the MQM program and Fuqua.

Serving as the co-executive director of marketing and student outreach alongside Sharzad Abdollahi, we interact with all areas of DISI. We worked with Operations to highlight our project teams, planned and publicized our events with Internal Development, and discussed recruitment for the upcoming semesters with the co-presidents. It took a lot of teamwork, communication, learning, and adapting to get the job done.

Because many of us want to go into consulting in the future, DISI gives students an opportunity to learn more about the industry and work through real-world problems. Each project team consists of a project manager and four to six project innovators. They work with a client and use a variety of skills throughout the semester to complete their project. These projects let students grow their consulting skills, experience projects beyond the classroom, and help the Durham community. It also gives them a little taste of what the real world of consulting is like—exploring team dynamics, experiencing adversities, problem-solving, and growing from the whole experience. With this said, DISI prepares students to tackle the real world after graduation.

Approaching my last few days in this program, I’ve come to realize the impact that DISI had on my experience in MQM. It was awe-inspiring to see students from all educational backgrounds come together to work and help their clients. I’m glad I had the opportunity to be a part of it because I gained valuable experience and had the opportunity to work and build relationships with really great people on the executive board and the organization.