Paul D. Menson
Undergraduate Degree: BS, Chemical Engineering, University of Rochester
Why did you choose your program and area of study?
I had done research every summer during my undergraduate studies but noticed that I liked the PowerPoint presentation at the end more than the research itself. During my senior year, I met a recent Alumnus from the MEM Program and was so excited to learn about a program that focused on helping technically-focused people succeed in the real world. When I unfortunately I missed Admitted Student Day due to prior commitments, I saw first-hand how accommodating and welcoming the staff were as they helped me organize a separate visit. I was hooked.
Briefly describe your Duke Experience.
My year at Duke is filled with some of my fondest memories. As a student, I gained insight into the broader context that surrounds engineering expertise - how to drive innovation, how to connect good ideas with good communication, and how to succeed by maintaining ethical standards. The student life experience was unparalleled - I will never forget meeting my two best friends, sitting on the Quad in the spring, or the basketball games in Cameron.
While completing my MEM, I was also the Head Coach of the Duke Men's Crew team. Together, we achieved results beyond our wildest imagination. That was one of the greatest leadership experiences in my life and when I learned that leaders work for their team - not vice versa.
I view my time at Duke as when I truly starting discovering who I was and what I wanted to accomplish in life. It was a fantastic experience that I truly cherish.
What impact has the degree had on your career?
I believe the MEMP fostered the skills that differentiate me not only from my peers, but also from my seniors. Focusing on group work and communication ensured that I can execute in an increasingly complex world. My experience at Duke led to incredible opportunities, and with some hard work and grit, I've now taken a leadership position in one of the world's largest companies.
What advice would you give to prospective applicants - those who are just beginning to explore graduate options at Duke?
I think that to truly understand what the Duke experience can be, visit the campus and sit on the Quad. I think the faces of the students will tell you everything you need to know.
What advice would you give to admitted students who are considering Duke?
No one can tell you what school or program is best for you, but I will always remember Duke as a school that focused on making me as successful as possible after I left Durham.