Jan 3. After spending three re-energizing weeks with her family in the US for the winter break, Abi boarded a plane and arrived at Duke Kunshan University in China to resume her MMS learning journey. Abi is one of the Master of Management Studies: Duke Kunshan University Class of 2017 students who have been studying at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in Durham, North Carolina, US since early July.
The Master of Management Studies: Duke Kunshan University program is a general management graduate business program designed for graduating seniors and young professionals with less than 2 years’ full time work experience. It combines education in business fundamentals with meaningful exposure to two of the most exciting economies in the world- the US and China, and give them the knowledge and skills they need to flourish upon entering the business world.
After their arrival, students were oriented to the campus and neighborhood. To simulate today’s team-oriented corporate environment, at the start of the program in the summer, the MMS class was divided into smaller learning teams, and each team was handpicked to maximize diversity and the opportunity to learn from each other. In the spring terms, teams were reshuffled and re-assigned. Team dynamics sessions were organized to help students to get to know each other better and work more effectively with their new team members. One of the activities was a farm event where students had to work with their new team, race against other teams to complete different tasks, until they got the vegetables needed for a cooking competition.
Professional development is a key part of the MMS experience. Career services programs started as soon as the program was first launched in the US. Students were provided resources including self-assessment, resume workshops, industry panels, alumni sharing, etc. Upon their arrival in Kunshan, career services staff engaged with students one on one, to catch up with job search progress and offer customized insights and suggestions.
Abi from the US was one of the first students who landed a job. Last October, only 3 months into the program, she received an offer from Bain & Company in the US and will start her career in management consulting after graduation. Her Chinese peers, on the other hand, focused on resume and interview preparation, network building, company research and outreach. As soon as students arrived in China, many students set up meetings and interviews with desired companies. June was one of them. During the first week in China, June went to interview with Standard Chartered Bank for the international management trainee program and received an offer. Talking about her job search experience, June shared, “The program urged me to prepare early on, and I did many mock interviews with Bonnie, which was very helpful.”
The 10-month MMS: Duke Kunshan program is intensive and fast-paced. For example, in less than 2 weeks of the “Market Intelligent” class, students have completed 5 cases. Case study is an important feature of the MMS courses. June, who was a finance major in her undergrad studies, mentioned that, “Many asked me what the difference is between the undergraduate business studies and the MMS program. They are very different. The undergraduate coursework is much more theoretical, and the MMS courses are very practical. Everything I learn in the class can be applied to real work right away.”
Abi, who was a social science major, has a different takeaway. She said, “I have never done any case before the MMS program. I would not have imagined myself to become a business consultant without studying with the MMS program. The MMS experience allows me to take on a different career path.”
The experience with MMS: Duke Kunshan is not limited to the classroom. One thing students mention often is the accessibility of the faculty. When in Kunshan, all students live on campus, as well as the Fuqua faculty who fly here to teach. Students have opportunities to interact with the faculty after class. Students can easily make an appointment or simply knock on the door of the faculty’s office, when they have questions. The program also organizes events such as socials and off campus dinning for students and faculty to connect in a relaxing environment.
Students also have opportunities to gain insight into the real business world when in Kunshan. Earlier this month, students visited the Shanghai office of Nielsen, and learned about China’s CPG (consumer packaged goods) market landscape, Nielsen’s big data market research approach and insights, and career opportunities with Nielsen. Last week, students visited Bloomberg Shanghai, learned about their business and operations as well as employment opportunities with the company. In the next 5 months , the program will organize more experiential activities including team building, social and networking, corporate visits, alumni events, etc, to expand the MMS experience beyond the limit of the classroom.
Kanak from India said, “I am very keen to use my time in China to get exposure to the world class manufacturing facilities and understand the scale at which they operation. Hopefully I can be inspired by the same and do something similar in India in the future.”
Abi echoed, “Though it’s only two weeks into the program in Kunshan, it feels we have come a long way and accomplished a lot. I am very excited about the next few months with the program in China.
The Class of 2017 students will graduate on May 19th at the Duke Kunshan campus and receive a Master of Management Studies degree from Duke University.