Alison Karounis

Alison Karounis
Class Year: 
2006
Job Title / Company: 
Area Service Director, Medtronic

Undergraduate Degree: BE Biomedical Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ

Why did you choose your program and area of study?

I received my bachelors of engineering in Biomedical Engineering, and during that time I was part of several internships. I quickly realized I wanted to be in a people-facing role, particularly with the end user. I also found that I had a passion for management of both people and projects. When pursuing an advanced degree I was drawn to what I had learned about Engineering Management and was inspired by Duke's program.

Briefly describe your Duke Experience.

My experience at Duke was one of personal growth, professional experiences, and motivating challenges. I was given the opportunity to meet new people of various backgrounds and work together through the MEM program to expand my horizons and competencies. During this time, I was also fortunate to participate in a study internship which turned into a part time internship. It gave me exposure to consulting and customer-facing activities, which I was drawn to, and I found it pushed me out of my comfort zone.

What impact has the degree had on your career?

The brand of Duke University is strong and gives almost instant credibility when a peer or hiring manager hears the name. Additionally, the experiences and exposure I had during my time at Duke has helped to progress my career from individual contribute to director.

What advice would you give to prospective applicants - those who are just beginning to explore graduate options at Duke?

Network and explore the experiences others have had while attending Duke. Ask for the names of individuals who have attended Duke and the program you are considering to get their feedback and ask questions of their experience. Explore the campus and try to live a day in the life of a Duke Student.

What advice would you give to admitted students who are considering Duke?

Take advantage of every networking experience Duke puts in front of you, whether that is social or career focused. You never know who you will meet or run into which may have an impact on your future. Continuously push yourself out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself each day. This could be in the form of presenting, leading a project, leading a group, or participating on campus.