I worked at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah for a few years during my undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University (BYU). My minors were Business and Italian, and I leveraged that to complete a summer market research internship in Italy. After graduating, I worked full-time at Wells Fargo for a year before starting at Fuqua.
Extracurricular Activities During the Program
I was involved with the MMS Marketing Club, the MBA General Management Club, and the Latter-Day Saint Student Association (LDSA). The Marketing and General Management events gave me access to special career-related events including discussion panels, networking sessions with recruiters, and industry-focused seminars. Being involved with LDSA was a great way to build my Fuqua network outside of the MMS class. I also played several intramural sports with my MMS classmates and participated in the Accenture Case Competition.
Favorite Class and Professor
My favorite classes were Introduction to Financial Accounting with Professor Bill Mayew at Fuqua and Principles of Cost and Managerial Accounting with Professor Jennifer Francis at Duke Kunshan. I was surprised that I enjoyed accounting so much. The professors made it much more engaging than I expected. My favorite professor was Professor Pino Lopomo. He provided a refreshing perspective on economics.
Student Life in Durham
I lived between Durham and Chapel Hill—a little further from campus than most MMS students. Attending Duke Athletics events in Durham, specifically football and men’s basketball games, was always a great time. There are some great golf courses in the area and a lot of good food in Durham.
I was married before joining the program. My wife came with me to Durham, and we had our first child there, just before the program transitioned to Kunshan. This presented challenges that most MMS students don’t face while in the program, but I employed some strategies to balance school work and family life and made it all work.
Student Life in Kunshan
Most Duke Kunshan students lived on campus, but because my wife and daughter were with me, we lived in an off-campus apartment. Public transit was my go-to means of transportation in China; my apartment was a short bus ride from campus.
The biggest highlight of student life was traveling. We took ‘field trips’ to various locations as part of the program to learn more about Chinese business and culture. The Chinese New Year was a particularly great time to travel around China and Southeast Asia.
Landing a Job
About half way through the program, I received and accepted my job offer for a corporate finance analyst at General Motors (GM). It’s a rotational program where I move around to 3 different groups within the company, spending one year at each.
The Career Management Center (CMC) was a key part the recruiting process. Practicing case interviews was very helpful for the interview preparation, and I even got help from professors on this. I met GM’s hiring team at a campus career fair, and additional connections facilitated through the CMC ultimately helped me secure the position.
By Austin Taylor, Master of Management Studies, Class of 2015