Stephen Jones

Stephen Jones
Class Year: 
2011
Job Title / Company: 
Managing Partner, Pandera Systems in Arlington, VA

Briefly describe your d-MEMP experience, including the impact on your career.

Coming out of undergrad I had a strong technical knowledge in the field that I worked within, but didn't have the relevant business acumen & experience to accelerate my career into the management side. I would attribute d-MEMP to facilitating my career into a leadership role in multiple organizations. The branding and value of Duke and their engineering school helped open the door, but the experience and knowledge gained from the program solidified my confidence and comfort into stepping up to those positions. From the degree I launched out of a consultant role into a managing role and now organizationally in a leadership role.

How did the program's flexibility suit your needs? How were you able to manage the program with your work/home life?

I'll be honest, working and going to school has its rough moments. A lot of personal-life decisions get put on hold, depending on the combination of work and school duties. My job required a significant amount of travel Sunday -> Friday, but I was still able to keep on task with my coursework. One of the main benefits from a distributed standpoint was the team-oriented focus of a lot of courses that kept me connected to other students and professors, forcing the responsibility of not falling behind. The faculty puts a tremendous amount of time and support into coordinating a program structure that is conducive to on-campus and distributed students. I remember late nights with others in my program, that helped form some life-long relationships. My life consisted mostly of work and classes for the duration of the program, but it was the right time in my life to do it.

What advice would you give to prospective applicants?

The faculty and staff and their involvement with each cohort is the biggest driver of the success of this program. Take advantage of them as much as you can. They will be mentors in your career through and after the program.