Class of 2010
I look at projects not just from an engineering perspective, but from an engineering and business perspective―that's exactly what I was hoping for and I don't think I would have gotten it without the MMS program.
Home, Sweet Home
My dad was in the Air Force so we moved around a lot when I was a kid, which was difficult. We moved to North Carolina when I was in the 7th grade. I lived in 6 places before that including Michigan, the Philippines, Ohio, two places in Florida, and Washington, DC.
Moving to North Carolina had a big influence on me. I fell in love with this place—the Triangle area has been, by far, the best place I've lived. I plan to settle here for a while. The weather is great, I enjoy the change in seasons, and there are a lot of young people around. There's the best of everything around here—concerts, sports, nightlife. Part of the reason I decided to go to Duke was to stay close to home.
Finding a Niche
At Duke, I majored in engineering, but then I realized that I didn't want to be at a computer desk all day. I took some business classes and really enjoyed them, so I applied to Fuqua's Daytime MBA program. I shifted to the MMS program once it was launched, and I was much more excited about my new path because I wasn't convinced that I was ready for an MBA. I thought the MMS program would expose me to a lot of different areas of business and would help me figure out what niche to go into.
Corporate visit trips are one of the co-curricular activities in the MMS program—they were really helpful because they let me experience some of the options that would be available to me when I graduated. I wanted to stay in the area, so I went to as many of the local company visits as I could—Cisco, Square 1 Bank, ABB, Smith Breeden. I got to see what the companies were really about and got a feel for what it would be like to work there. I met people in entry-level positions all the way up to CEOs. Some of the trips turned into tangible job opportunities—I got several interviews.
But, I actually landed my current job by networking. I started working for PowerSecure part-time while I was still in the MMS program and then took a full-time position right after graduation. Having a master's degree was a big benefit. Going into my role, I had the right business vocabulary needed to be effective. In my position, I go after sales, do preliminary site designs, and think about the financials. I look at projects not just from an engineering perspective, but from an engineering and business perspective—that's exactly what I was hoping for and I don't think I would have gotten it without the MMS program. I also get to carry a tool bag, which makes me happy!
My favorite part of the MMS program was the people. Everyone was really well-rounded and easy to get along with, inside and outside of the classroom. People worked hard, but also knew how to enjoy it and have fun—like at Campout, when I hung out in a tent for two days with my classmates—it's hard not to become close after that!
Speaking of which, a bit of advice for incoming students: You have to go to a basketball game at least once, you just don't know what it's like until you experience it—it's a must do for any Duke student! Oh, and catch a Duke baseball game if you can, too! (I was a varsity Duke baseball player for 4 years.)
It was great to be in a small program where I got to know everyone. I'm sure we'll stay in touch, and some of my classmates also attended my wedding. I think there will be a lot of successful people in my class who'll be in all sorts of roles and industries, and it's great that we'll all have a common bond.