Embarking on the MQM program presents an exciting array of opportunities and challenges, particularly in the realm of career development. In today’s competitive job market, crafting a standout resume goes beyond merely listing prestigious names and educational qualifications. Employers are increasingly seeking candidates who can demonstrate practical skills, leadership qualities, and a proactive approach to problem-solving. At Duke, I wanted to develop and demonstrate those qualities while rounding out my experience by forming new friendships and getting involved in the Fuqua community.

Jump-Starting My Job Search

In my experience, MQM’s Career Management Center (CMC) offers resources, provided students are willing to invest the necessary time into themselves. Given the brevity of this year-long program, I knew it was important to begin career planning and development endeavors before setting foot on campus. An early start allows for a more enriched experience at Duke and Durham, freeing up time to explore the multitude of opportunities they present.

Attending the MQM program undoubtedly adds significant value to one’s resume. However, in the current job landscape, this is not sufficient on its own. In my job search, I also highlighted what got me into Duke in the first place, like internships, leadership roles, extracurriculars, and personal projects.

Navigating the job search landscape required a dual-focused strategy. Overcoming AI screening algorithms through resume optimization and harnessing the power of personal connections were equally important. While the former demands attention to keyword relevance and formatting, the latter underscores the importance of networking.

Engaging with my personal and new Fuqua networks were pivotal in forging valuable industry connections. An enlightening statistic I encountered during a CMC presentation is that 12 out of 13 jobs are filled through networking, which starkly contrasts the lower success rates of cold applications through platforms like LinkedIn and Handshake. I want to be very clear on what “networking” means: talk to people. I have been surprised by how many people know someone who works at a company that I am interested in. I’ve been able to leverage my network to help my classmates by making connections to help them get referrals. I became more aware of the differences between my network and networking.

Rounding Out My Master’s Experience

Throughout my MQM journey, I actively sought ways to contribute and grow. I was honored to be elected to the MQM Association (MQMA), serving in a leadership capacity within the program. Additionally, I embraced a part-time job in Durham, a decision spurred by my desire to stay productively engaged during our mid-week break. This inclination towards busyness facilitated a richer, more diversified experience. 

Duke football game

The vibrant Durham and Duke communities also offer endless opportunities for engagement. Duke’s sports teams had electrifying performances across football, basketball, and lacrosse all year long. Participating in the graduate student campout for basketball season tickets was a highlight at Duke, showcasing a strong sense of community and competitiveness. This event was particularly memorable because I competed in the finals of the pickleball tournament with a colleague from MQM. From the excitement of Duke hosting ESPN’s College Gameday for the homecoming football game against Notre Dame to one of the greatest rivalries in college sports, Duke-UNC at Cameron Indoor Stadium, these experiences were unforgettable.

Duke basketball game

Reflecting on my time at Fuqua, it’s evident that the value of the MQM program extends beyond academics. The friendships and relationships that I built at Fuqua are likely the most important takeaway. My motivated group of friends, my networking efforts, and having a deep understanding of the job market’s dynamics led to my receipt of several opportunities.

Ultimately, I accepted a role at a Fortune 500 company in tech this fall. My involvement on campus and in local activities provided a rich platform for applying my skills and building relationships that were helpful throughout my job application process.