CSO Walt Barron offers advice at Duke MMS panel

CSO Walt Barron offers advice at Duke MMS panel

November 13, 2020

McKinney Chief Strategy Officer Walt Barron recently took part in a Duke University Markets and Management Studies Q&A panel. He was joined by Duke MMS professors George Grody and Martha Reeves along with Duke MMS grads Samantha Schafrank and National Audubon Society CMO Jose Carbonell.

The conversation and questions steered toward advertising, touching on the importance of storytelling, the value of internships, why you should follow your interests in choosing courses as well as how and why you should take every opportunity to plant your foot firmly inside the door when interviewing or interning.

Barron and Schafrank lent their perspectives on the McKinney Mternship program, now in its 20th year: “Being an intern at McKinney is the best thing I have ever done,” said Schafrank, who is now at The Wharton School and interning with Amazon. “I’ve had other internships that did not take me seriously. McKinney gave me tangible agency experience that was so incredibly valuable.”

“It’s learning and doing skills and activities you need to grow in the business,” added Barron. “You need it and we give it to you. It’s also a great way to build relationships with your fellow interns. You will most likely continue your relationship with us, but you should really lean on each other throughout your careers and network with your peers.”

Barron also had these thoughts about interviewing and letting enthusiasms inform your choices: “When I interview, I am not as interested in hearing what you’ve done as I am in you asking great, thoughtful questions that reveal what kind of thinker you are,” advised Barron. “You should leave an interview asking what you can do to help: Can you freelance? Offer side work or work on a project? Don’t be afraid to ask — as a student, harass people like us. Reach out, connect, even if you don’t know us.”

“Your key skill should be storytelling,” Barron went on to say. “It’s the way we approach all communications — it’s the way we listen with empathy and persuade. And you should follow your heart and your passion. Whatever interests you, take those classes.” 

The Duke MMS program builds a strong business foundation as well as soft skills that help graduates hit the ground running along with an international peer network to support their career. Its virtual Q&A events bring together MMS alumni, professors, business professionals, and student ambassadors who share their experiences and advice for new and incoming students.