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Spotlight on: Kendall Murphy, T'13

March 25, 2018 | By Ekim Buyuk and Shruti Rao

Kendall Murphy is a Senior Consultant at Capgemini Consulting who graduated from Duke with a Markets and Management Certificate. Her core competencies range from Program Management, Agile, Operational Excellence, and Data governance. She has also worked across several sectors including retail, aerospace and defense, agriculture and pharmaceutical industries. While at Duke, Kendall participated in DukeEngage and was a member of BOW. She also is an avid listener of podcasts!

Kendall Murphy

What was your favorite part of being in BOW?

My favorite parts of being in BOW were the exposure to diverse career opportunities through informational events and the support of BOW members during the stressful recruiting process. I remember partnering with other BOW women to practice case interviews and to peer review applications, which were both enormously helpful!

Could you talk a little bit about your summer experiences while at Duke and how they influenced your career path?

The summer after my sophomore year I did DukeEngage in Medellin, Colombia making documentary films on the guerrilla warfare refugees and it was one of the most influential experiences of my entire life. It brought to life the direct impact of socio-political forces on communities and their access to economic mobility opportunities. The work was extremely emotionally sensitive and conducting it in a second language forced me to develop and hone my soft business skills (such as establishing rapport, building trust, and communicating effectively with verbal and nonverbal messages). It also firmly planted seeds of social justice that continue to grow and manifest in my career.

The summer after my junior year I interned at Thompson Reuters in their Corporate Strategy and Financial Risk organization. It opened my eyes to how much I enjoyed shaping the strategy of an organization through rigorous research and evaluation of competing opportunities. It also validated my hypothesis that I was not particularly passionate about the financial services industry. Summer experiences are perfect for experimenting with potential career paths and the three month duration provides just enough time to get a sense for what you do and do NOT like about the work and environment, which can be valuable insight when looking for full-time, post-grad opportunities.

Could you talk a little bit about your role as a Senior Management Consultant at Capgemini Consulting in NYC?

As a Senior Management Consultant/Managing Consultant I serve in several different roles simultaneously. I am a project lead, responsible for scoping and delivering work to clients and for coaching and developing consultants on my project to improve their delivery skills. I am an account lead, responsible for deepening client relationships and capitalizing on opportunities to sell additional project work at my account. I am a People Manager, responsible for guiding the performance and career trajectory of my counselees and for helping them grow their networks and capabilities. I am a NY Community Lead, responsible for helping recruit, onboard, train, and engage the NY office employees in social, cultural, and educational events. And I am a champion of several internal programs, from technology upgrades and collaboration suite adoptions to gender balance improvement and diversity inclusion initiatives. The focus on my consulting work has varied greatly, from IT and data strategy engagements, to standing up an Agile organization for post-merger stabilization, to growth opportunity assessments for different businesses. I have worked across industries, including tech, retail, aerospace, agriculture, and pharma, and have begun to specialize in healthcare and biotech. I am happy to speak to any of my project experiences if people have more specific questions!

What are the biggest challenges you've faced during your career?

The biggest challenges I have faced in my career are (1) learning how to set and maintain boundaries and (2) how to have confidence in my (monetary) worth and advocate for myself. When you are ambitious and want to be regarded as the best, it is hard to strike a healthy balance with work and to push back appropriately when bosses overstep your personal boundaries (i.e. calling or asking for things regularly at night or over the weekends). It is really important to establish norms that you are comfortable with and that are part of a sustainable lifestyle. The second challenge has to do with proactively asking for bigger responsibilities and visibility, and negotiating and renegotiating your salary as you progress in your career. It is exhausting and intimidating, but keeping a pulse on the market and your peers and seeking guidance and support from mentors when you feel you are not being compensated or valued fairly is also critically important.

What are your favorite podcasts?

I have several podcasts that I pick and choose episodes from, especially while on travel projects. Here are a few:

Podcasts about life: TED Talks Daily, Ted Radio Hour, Freakenomics Radio

Podcasts about feminism: Stuff Mom Never Told You

Podcasts about tech: Recode Decode, Too Embarrassed to Ask, and Charged Podcast

Podcasts about business: How I Built This, HBR Ideacast, Masters of Scale

Podcasts about politics: Pod Save America, Pod Save the World, and Frontline.

What advice do you have for current Duke students?

First of all, do your homework! Leverage the Duke network to have informational interviews/ phone calls with alumni working at companies that you are interested in to gather honest feedback about the pros and cons of the organization. In interviews, try to ask questions to get a sense of not only the work but the culture of the company and type of people you will be working with, because that will impact your experience significantly.

Secondly, do not put pressure on yourself to find the perfect first job. You will likely change your mind and switch roles, teams, perhaps even whole industries several times in your first few years. And that is healthy! Just make sure that you are being thoughtful and reflecting on each experience to identify what you liked and want more of and what you disliked and want to avoid in the next role.