Top-tier business schools have the resources that aspiring business leaders need to achieve their career goals, and Duke Fuqua also had the community Rachelle Olden was looking for to be her authentic self and build her career in a meaningful way. In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, Olden explains how her experience at Fuqua enabled her to rise to the top at Google and advocate for increasing Black representation in tech.
Rachelle Olden, Duke Fuqua MBA ’18, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Google
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY and Columbia, SC
Undergraduate Institution and Major: College of Charleston, Corporate Communications and Spanish
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, 2018, Marketing and Strategy
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): U.S. Peace Corps in Dominican Republic, Clinton Foundation, U.N. World Food Programme, World Vision International, LeanIn.org, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Post-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Microsoft, Product Marketing; Google, Lead, of Tech Equity Collective
Why did you choose to attend business school?
After a career in the non-profit and international development sector, I chose to attend business school to increase my business management knowledge, diversity my career opportunities, and gain tangible skills and networks that could lead to positive impact for the communities that matter most to me.
Why Duke Fuqua? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Team Fuqua was the driving force behind my choice to attend Fuqua. I wanted a global community of ambitious classmates who weren’t afraid to challenge the status quo. Additionally, I wanted to join a community where I could be my most authentic self, have fun while learning, and build my career in a meaningful way with the plethora of Duke programs and resources.
What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
The MBA workload prepared me to balance multiple projects, work across multiple stakeholders and have fun while doing it. Fuqua helped me understand the requirements of a strong Product Marketer, but the school equally equipped me with the emotional and professional IQ to problem solve and design solutions that deliver impact for the team.
What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
During my MBA summer, I had two full-time internships in Seattle, consecutively. I interned at Microsoft as a Product Marketer and then at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. After the summer internships, I knew I wanted to explore a career in a new industry, Technology. I was able to see how I can take my social impact leadership and apply it to the corporate sector.
Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
I chose Google because I had the unique opportunity to step into a role that matched my skills, passions and aspirations. Today, I am a Sr. Product Marketing Manager and Lead of Tech Equity Collective, an initiative started by Google to accelerate Black Innovation and representation in tech by bringing together community and industry partners to create programs and experiences that lead to tangible progress of Black tech innovators.
How has COVID impacted your industry/career plans?
When COVID hit, I had just started a new role in Experiential Marketing. I was prepared to travel around the world, designing and executing customer experiences. COVID caused everything to pause – stop and then go virtual.
Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
Cast my net wide. Apply for opportunities that both excite me and scare me.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
I’d eliminate any Self-doubt. Self-doubt can not play a role in marketing myself for roles, as I am my own biggest advocate.
–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
Interview Prep is a requirement. You can not try to “wing” a Google interview. Be thoroughly prepared for an assortment of questions and to ask strong questions. They’ll ask you how would you do the job… have a thoughtful answer.
–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
Don’t rush the process. The job market will always wait for you. Two years in a full-time program is a humongous privilege and gift.