The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate has proven to be an integral part of my Duke experience and I am positive that the skills and knowledge that I have gained as a result of being a part of it will allow me to have an interesting perspective on problems in the world and also allow me to have unique ways of solving them. I am so lucky that I happened to take the Social Innovation class with Matt Nash so early on in my Duke career to realize that the I&E Certificate was an opportunity I could not pass up. Taking the certificate classes in tandem with my public policy classes allowed me to have a more innovative mindset when analyzing and coming up with policy solutions and I am excited to see where these skills will serve me later in life.

 

Coursework

The hands on and team based coursework of the I&E Certificate has allowed me to understand my strengths of being a communicator and mediator when in a group. I also have been a part of some of the most interesting projects ranging from selling coupon books as a part of the Gum-Ball Challenge, to creating a social media marketing strategy for the mentoring group I had been a part of, to my Capstone project, where I worked on creating a platform for Duke students to obtain information on Duke courses. These projects along with many of the other ones I have engaged with have taught me so much about how to iterate and understand different problems and especially how to comprehend who these problems are directly affecting.

Experiences

The 150 and 300 hour experiences that I engaged in for the certificate also allowed me to think critically about the work I was doing and view it in the lens of Innovation and Entrepreneurship even if they seemingly did not fit into the category at first glance. My time at the National Academies was a governmental role and one that would be considered far from innovative on paper, however, I was able to make my experience one that was extremely unique because I was seeking to harness my I&E skills and make the experience one that was more meaningful and worthwhile. I ended up working closely with prominent people at the Academies to understand how young people manage their wellness and what inventive ways we could come up with to encourage them to be more vigilant and cognizant of their health. This involved engaging with stakeholders and using the information they shared to come up with interesting and compelling strategies to try and tackle this problem.

 

Future

In a similar vein, once I leave Duke, I will be starting my career in finance in a sales role and understanding how markets work and being able to predict which assets are best for which clients is something that I will be doing on a daily basis. Luckily, we have been practicing this process in all of our I&E classes! Understanding a client’s problem and being able to deliver an optimal solution is a concept and process we have discussed at length and one in which I feel well versed. Of course, the challenges and technicalities that arise will be very nuanced and different, but having some basis for the process is going to be critical in my success next year. I am extremely thankful for my I&E classes and being able to use the learning from these courses in my position next year will be invaluable.