I am passionate about shaping technology that improves productivity and brings people closer to one another.
I pursued my MBA with an ambition to grow as a strategy manager by building and expanding intelligent services around smart devices and business models. To succeed, I knew I needed to strengthen my skills in areas such as finance, strategy, marketing, and leadership.
When I expressed my goals to my colleague, a Fuquan, he was gracious to connect me with his Fuqua network of leaders in the tech industry for advice. The number of alumni who were willing to share their experiences with me was a testament to the supportive nature of the Fuqua community.
My on-campus visit further solidified my belief that I could acquire these skills by being a part of this collaborative and knowledgeable community. Long term, I believed the network I would build at Fuqua would lead me to a place where I would define and execute go-to-market strategy for cutting-edge technology companies.
Where I Was
As an employee of Lenovo, I spent nine years innovating business technology ecosystems for capturing new market opportunities with a focus on as-a-service solutions. I will always be appreciative of my time at Lenovo because I was able to develop my expertise in a number of areas:
1. Managing strategic roadmaps and IT investment strategy for XaaS programs
2. Running proof-of-concepts/pilots for setting up incubation business models, followed by expansion in geography, products, and channels
3. Running outcome-based, large-scale organizational change management initiatives globally
Where I Wanted to Go
Once I gained sufficient experience in this domain, I wanted to diversify in the tech space and move more towards the front end of where and how the decisions were made in launching these innovative solutions. Tapping into my Fuqua network for advice, I realized a transition to management consulting was the right move, and Deloitte had already built a strong practice here.
Why Deloitte? From a firm perspective, I liked the fast-paced nature of the work. The organization is very structured and a well-defined path for growth within the firm was outlined for me. Deloitte has a strong Technology Strategy and Business Transformation practice, and I believed that I could add incremental value to the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications domain at Deloitte with my current XaaS business transformation experience.
Furthermore, I wanted more front-end strategy exposure – specifically in designing new product offerings and solutions based on market fit. In addition, I wanted to grow my skills translating market opportunities into offering spaces ideal for a client to play in, while also commercializing and expanding within the market.
The Twists Along the Road
I knew this transition would not be a seamless one since a majority of management consultants are primed right after business school. I would be challenged to rewire my way of thinking to solve problems in a structured way, in a fast-paced environment, with stringent deadlines.
While pondering this, I had to figure out my unique value add, while positioning myself for this next opportunity. I would need to convince myself and the company I was applying to that I was worthy of this opportunity.
I would also have to handle multiple failures and setbacks, like not being offered a position with a number of companies I interviewed with. I would also face difficulty in managing multiple priorities, like a full-time job, my Fuqua coursework, and of course the time and effort that goes into networking. There remained the ultimate task of transitioning from a product to a service-based company.
How I Succeeded
Here again, I leaned back on the Fuqua community to support me in my career goals. I engaged in behavioral prep with my career coach, Ryan Smith, in order to articulate my experience in a succinct and structured way. I also figured out my strengths and weaknesses, and how they would relate to my next opportunity.
Lisa Thompson, a coach with the Career Management Center, helped me to learn how to structure job applications and perform a targeted search, while also explaining how to effectively network with Fuqua alums. I learned strategies for managing my priorities, troubleshooting failed interviews, and how to negotiate an offer.
I created a case group in my Weekend Executive MBA cohort for live peer case practice, followed by more personal practice from casebooks. I also utilized an online platform that helps students prepare for consulting case interviews. In addition, I reviewed management consulting podcasts from The Wall Street Journal.
When networking with Fuqua alums, I made sure I was prepared. I created lists of the companies I was interested in and reached out with targeted networking asks. I was also organized with my follow-up efforts, creating a networking log.
After this arduous journey, I finally succeeded in breaking into strategy consulting at Deloitte. The recruiter attributed my job offer decision to three areas:
1. My relevant experience at Lenovo
2. The quality of networking I had done at Deloitte
3. My MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.