I'm Meredith Estren - you could classify me as a young professional who aspires to be many things: baker, gourmet chef, restauranteur, businesswoman extraordinaire, or airline and hotel mogul, depending on the day. I come from northern Virginia - a suburb of Washington, DC, and majored in mechanical engineering and minored in music performance at Duke. I have played the viola since elementary school and was section leader of the Duke Symphony Orchestra. After studying abroad in Australia the fall semester of my junior year, I decided to pursue a career in consulting, due to my interest in problem-solving and passion for traveling that I discovered when I was abroad.
The fall of my senior year, I applied to many consulting companies and eventually decided to work for L.E.K Consulting, a strategy consulting firm in Boston. I spent the time in between graduation and my job start traveling Europe and returning to Australia. Part of the reason I joined L.E.K. was because it was a fairly small firm with a strategy focus but most importantly had offices all over the world. When I visited our Sydney office, I knew that was where I wanted to be even before I moved to Boston. However, I dutifully moved to the office where I had received my official offer and ended up really falling in love with the city. I did work on everything from retail companies to software companies to airlines (a particular interest of mine to combine my obsession with travel with the business that makes it possible), sometimes working incredibly long and exhausting hours but making amazing friends who have now become like another family to me. (Yes, consulting is a bit like a cult. Beware.)
After working at the firm for about a year and a half, I got my transfer to our Sydney office approved and I made the epic leap across the world at the beginning of 2012. I now work considerably less hours and enjoy what can only be described as a life of paradise in Sydney, involving myself in a community orchestra, exploring the fantastic bars and restaurants the city has to offer, baking and cooking all the time, continuing my addiction to American TV, and traveling to various other cities in Australia. (oh and taking an annoyingly large number of pics of the opera house and all the beaches here) It's been a leap outside my comfort zone but I am so happy here even though I am very far from home, and being here truly represents the fulfillment of my dream to be an expat ever since I studied abroad here.
The two best decisions of my life at Duke were deciding to apply for the Baldwin Scholars program and studying abroad. I can not even imagine what my life would be like without this incredible network of women. Everyone is enthusiastic, passionate, and absolutely amazing in her own unique way. They provide inspiration for me every day and never fail to boost my confidence when I'm feeling down. This program has expanded my horizons and changed my perspective on a multitude of issues. I know that this network of amazing women will be with me for the rest of my life. I can not wait to see what we will accomplish as a group in the future. I am thrilled to be a part of this program and would encourage any girl looking to get something deeper out of her Duke experience to apply!
Please feel free to email me if you have any questions about the program or Duke in general! Or, if you want to study abroad in Australia (particularly Sydney), tell me and we can certainly meet up!