Interview by Howie Rhee '04, with contributions by Coco Chen. Added May 26, 2016
I graduated this Spring, 2016 from Fuqua and Nicholas receiving a Master of Business Administration and Master of Environmental Management. I received concentrations in strategy and social entrepreneurship during my MBA and focused on Global Environmental Change (GEC) and Community Based Environmental Management (CBEM).
Talk about your prior work experience.
Before coming to Duke, I was a high school science teacher in Charlotte, NC at Garinger High School. I taught the most incredible youth and started a community garden with my students, fellow teachers, and the community at large.
What did your recruiting process look like? How many people did you reach out to?
My recruiting process was complicated. This was for a lot of reasons, but mainly because I returned to school to start a boarding school for youth in foster care. This is still my dream, but I learned, through talking to a variety of entrepreneurs, investors, and staff at Duke, that I need my own start-up capital. Because I needed to make my own money to make this dream a reality, I decided to pursue a career before starting the boarding school. In my first summer, I tried out environmental and social consulting. I really enjoyed it and had the opportunity to chat with lots of people, both current students and alum to find this position. My second summer I worked at Ashoka. Again, this was an opportunity that came through lots of conversations and eventually just showing up at their front door and asking for an internship. Because they do not pay, I only worked for them for a month and then spent the rest of my summer working with Denver Public Schools through Education Pioneers. This variety of experiences has led me to my first job after my Masters where I will be working at M&T Bank in their Executive Associate program. To get to that position required lots of conversations and other job opportunities, but ultimately going to M&T is the best option to have a career and continue to grow in my business understanding.
How did you come up with a list of companies to target?
My list of companies was a result of simply looking and searching for organizations that interested me.
Talk about how you thought about location (city) as it related to recruiting. Did you know where you wanted to end up or were you exploring?
I was really open to my location. Eventually I would like to be in Denver, but for now am open to new adventures.
What was a favorite article or tip that someone gave you on the job search process?
Hmm... I am not sure. There were lots of articles and quotes. I was involved in COLE - a leadership program at Fuqua - and that had the biggest impact on me. It taught me to be myself and trust that I have skills and experience going into any career choice.
Anything else you'd like to share with Duke students that are doing their own job search?
Trust yourself and be bold! Don't worry about what other people expect of you or how people like to define you - know it is your path and you have to trust your own values and purpose. But, most importantly, know that there are so many people that love you, encourage you, and believe in you - don't forget that and don't forget to appreciate them!