The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA
Home » Blog » Real Humans - Alumni » Real Humans of Accenture: Jamie Ciocon, Duke Fuqua MBA ’21, Senior Strategy Consultant

Real Humans of Accenture: Jamie Ciocon, Duke Fuqua MBA ’21, Senior Strategy Consultant

Image for Real Humans of Accenture: Jamie Ciocon, Duke Fuqua MBA ’21, Senior Strategy Consultant

Values & culture drove the core choices for Jamie Ciocon, from the Duke Fuqua Daytime MBA program to Accenture for strategy consulting. In this installment of Real Humans: Alumni, Ciocon shares how she was able to hone new skills, confidently try new things, and succeed in her new consulting career with support from the MBA program and community.

Jamie Ciocon, Duke Fuqua MBA ’21, Senior Strategy Consultant at Accenture

Age: 32
Pronouns: she/her
Hometown: Edison, New Jersey 
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Boston College, Carroll School of Management; concentrations in Marketing and Information Systems 
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year: Duke University, Fuqua School of Business; Daytime Class of 2021 
Pre-MBA Work Experience: 5 years in the financial services industry, managing relationships with investors across sectors (Institutional Sales at ITG, now part of Virtu Financial) and with a focus on energy (Vice President, Institutional Sales at RS Energy Group, now part of Enverus). At RSEG, I transitioned into our new Customer Success team at its infancy before enrolling at Fuqua.  
Post-MBA Work Experience: 2.5 years developing and refining customer-centric strategies for companies across industries (Senior Strategy Consultant, Accenture Strategy & Consulting)  

Why did you choose to attend business school?
Working within traditional capital markets, I caught wind of the potential to direct capital toward more sustainable societal outcomes – a term called “impact investing.” This was seven years ago, before ESG investing regularly made headlines. I decided to pursue a career path dedicated to transforming business into a force for good, which led me to apply to business school. 

Why Duke Fuqua? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I applied to only a few schools that aligned with my impact goals, so I considered their breadth of resources, such as the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) and the alumni networks of such programs. 

After visiting Duke’s campus during Blue Devil Weekend for Fuqua’s accepted students, I was inspired by how many smart, brilliant people were so passionate about pursuing such different things, from inclusive healthcare to building consumer brands – and they were genuinely good people, too. Although I wrote my admissions essays with a logical path to impact in mind, I knew I could learn the most about my role in business by remaining flexible and open to the varied steps along my way to impact, immersed in Fuqua’s diverse, supportive community.

Plus, I wanted to experience living in a different region of the country, and I’ve always admired Duke’s basketball program. 12-year-old Jamie has fulfilled some dreams through Fuqua: playing pickup at Cameron Indoor Stadium and meeting Coach Krzyzewski. 

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career at Accenture?
It was refreshing to be a humble student again, with more life and work experience since my undergraduate years. The chance to ask for help and to learn by doing in a low-risk environment is rare. I took advantage of practical opportunities to hone new skills, participating in and leading student consulting projects for financial institutions investing for impact (CASE: Initiative on Impact Investing Consulting Practicum (CASE i3)) and simulating the VC cycle from sourcing to pitch with an impact lens (Turner MBA Impact Investing Network & Training (MIINT)). Learning new subject matter was one good outcome, but another was the mere act of confidently trying something different, which consulting requires of me daily. 

There’s a team element to every business school, but at Fuqua I admired how authentically we showed up for one another as people, not just as teammates completing a class project or as partners for mock interviews. We created spaces to have difficult conversations, supported each other through challenging times, and grew together as people. I’m a better consulting teammate because of the Fuqua community, but it’s also taught me that genuine engagement with others is critical for professional and personal development over my career. I’m not navigating my career alone, and I won’t ever have to.

What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice of Accenture?
I interned with Accenture in 2020 and have since worked in strategy consulting, without really knowing what that meant several years prior. I attended the Consulting Roadmap sessions facilitated by the Duke MBA Consulting Club, a course that taught the fundamentals of the case interview that I figured would be transferrable to any type of industry or function. “Casing” showed me I enjoyed structuring an approach to solving a wide variety of client problems, examining them through different lenses, and bringing my own creativity and past experiences to form solutions – the key elements of strategy consulting, and skills I wanted to sharpen in the next phase of my career to achieve greater impact in the longer term. 

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
Summer 2020 was Accenture’s first remote summer internship and I was struck by the supportive, authentic culture I felt even virtually. During my internship and through the recruiting process prior, I met intelligent, down-to-earth people who motivated me to perform, yet be humble and learn amid my career shift. Consulting is not an easy industry, so while we as teams do our best work for our clients, it’s important for those team environments to be empathetic and encouraging, which I’ve consistently found at Accenture even as project challenges arise.

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
I balanced being flexible and picky, recognizing what was right for myself. I ended up where I’m meant to be, but I applied to roles across industries, knowing there was something to learn in each of them that would contribute to my larger impact story. Further, though consulting was my priority industry, I applied to only three firms that I felt best reflected my personal values, including authentic community and commitment to inclusion and diversity. So I’d remind students to make the process yours by staying true to what’s important to you.   

–One thing you would change or do differently as part of the job search?
Not recruiting for a full-time job during my second year of business school was a luxury, but I’ve since considered that the summer internship is a unique time to try something new and different. Those opportunities (such as interning at a startup, scouting for a VC fund, working internationally) are incredibly valuable and should not be deprioritized just because they may be less established or if a full-time offer is less of a guarantee. 

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
No surprises – now that I’m on the other side of the recruiting process, we mean it when we encourage applicants to get to know our practitioners, since networking is core to Accenture’s culture.  

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
Earning my MBA during the pandemic meant that my time as a Fuqua student ended up very far from how I’d envisioned (and started) it. We hear a lot about how those two years in business school are so unique and special, but I’d encourage current students to remember that in the grand scheme of our careers, those short two years are an investment that will pay dividends for life – including in ways that won’t manifest until much later on. With the future impact of the present time yet to be realized, how would you spend your two years in business school?

Just a few years out, those “dividends” look like celebrating life milestones with my Fuqua classmates and being warmly welcomed back to campus by professors and staff when I visit for recruiting events. But ultimately, my career is still a long journey in which Fuqua happened very early, meaning its impact will evolve in ways I can’t even imagine yet. 

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.