Duke University, Fuqua School of Business
Hometown: Wayzata, MN
Undergraduate School and Major: Duke University; BA in Political Science
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
- Associate and Senior Associate at Triage Consulting Group (2009 – 2011)
- Communications Associate at inVentiv Health (2011 – 2012)
- Community Partnerships Program at Google (2012 – 2013)
- Community Partnerships Program Lead at Google (2013 – 2014)
Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Take as many practice tests as possible! Familiarizing myself with the timed sections prepared me for both efficient and effective decision-making. Also, envision yourself doing well; I think a positive attitude can only help.
Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? First, I think you need to identify your top priorities. For me, it was a school that was community-oriented, academically excellent, and within driving distance of my family. From there, I narrowed down a list of four schools and started a simple spreadsheet of facts, pros, cons, and questions. Once I had sincere questions, I did it all: Information sessions, panels, alumni networking, etc. By the time I visited Fuqua, I was 99% sure it was the right fit. The visit was the final confirmation!
What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? If you’ve done all the research I mentioned above, then you should be very prepared to formally apply. The difficult balance, however, is between “being yourself” and “presenting a compelling story.” If you’re not exactly sure what you want to do after business school, then it may feel somewhat inauthentic to commit to a post-business school plan in the essays and interviews. Some helpful advice I got was to think of the story as a “likely outcome,” while remaining genuine in the other questions. Also, once I had my story refined, I found it much easier to talk to anyone about why I wanted to go to business school, especially recommenders.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? “Team Fuqua” is tangible. Once I started meeting with alumni and attending formal recruiting events, I could tell that the community was everything at Duke. I also wanted to be both challenged and supported by the academics and extracurriculars. Fuqua’s mission to transform its students into “leaders of consequence” provides an overarching goal that goes beyond the next job you get.
What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? I want to be my best self. Each year of my professional and personal life, I become increasingly risk averse. I want to challenge myself to try new things and to not be afraid to fail.