Meet Duke Fuqua’s MBA Class of 2018


Jennifer Ntiri

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I’m a passionate change-maker with leadership experience in nonprofits, social enterprise, and luxury consumer goods.

Hometown: Northport, New York

Fun Fact About Yourself:  I have so many international friends, that although the lastfour wedding invitations I received were not destination weddings, they were for weddings in Toronto, Singapore, India, and Egypt.

Undergraduate School and Major: Harvard University, Psychology

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

Abercrombie & Fitch, Assistant Merchant-Luxury Outerwear

Medco Health Solutions, Prescription Benefit Analyst

TripAdvisor, Operations Specialist, Content Specialist, & TA Charitable Foundation Committee Member, Chief Campaign Coordinator

Underscores Baked Goods, Co-Founder and COO

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I took a leap of faith when I became involved with the TripAdvisor Charitable Foundation, combining my passion with experiential learning in order to provide global grant consulting and mentorship, standardize internal nonprofit communications, increase returns on philanthropic impact, and grow the global grant award program. Through my involvement, I was able to help secure funding for the Facilitate Network Empower Organization’s exponential expansion of impact within rural Nicaragua. We funded programs designed to boost leadership, entrepreneurship, and collaboration skills via the administration of over 40 home micro-loan programs, 45 merit-based full college tuition scholarships, and 12 community projects. The confidence I gained from that level of impact on underserved market segments helped give me the courage to found my own startup, similarly fueled by a desire to increase inclusion, awareness, and access. All this came from a simple leap of faith, so in a way I see that as my greatest accomplishment, because it’s opened the door to possibilities I never considered.

Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? With every step of the way, life can be as much about purposeful reinvention as we let it. With that in mind, take the time to figure out who you are, who you want to be, and what skills and proficiencies you want or need to bridge that gap. Work to define what your trade or passion is. For example I trade in empowerment. That means that in exchange for my hope for specific types of positive, market-empowering shifts, I am willing to give my time, energy, focus, and intent. It’s what makes me get out of bed in the morning, fuels my passion to deliver results, and makes me thrive.

The interview and essay portions of the MBA application process intentionally encourage you to explore the questions of your trade and how you thrive in a meaningful way. Some applicants have already been working in their trade or passion for years. For others, they’ve finally pinpointed what they want it to be. Regardless of which group you find yourself in, there is at the very least a defining moment in which we decide on a direction that points us towards our MBA path. Interviews and essays are partially about highlighting your worth, but they are also about shining a light on how those defining moments have informed and driven the ways you’ve added value to your story.

In both your essays and interviews, make sure to clarify how the mission and values of the schools you apply to align with your story and your ideal trade, so the admissions committee truly understands why you want to continue your journey with its particular breed of MBA candidates. Lastly, have an honest and open conversation with your mentors and recommenders about where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’d like to go professionally. That kind of purposeful reflection about who you are and what you want to offer the world from the perspective both of yourself and of others can help you carve out your true story and value as an MBA candidate before you have to provide polished answers to MBA admissions committees. If you take the time to do it right, the investment will definitely be worth it.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? The student experience at the Fuqua School of Business is about a lot of things generally, but specifically to me it is about “more.” It is about going further, reaching deeper, and pushing harder to the point we become the change we want to see in the world. Fuqua is a place where so many have broken past personal limits or doubts about the future, forging ahead to carve out their own truly meaningful impact on the world. There is a magic embedded in Fuqua’s campus that gives rise to a wonderfully strong community of collaboration and collective progress —it is a testing ground of possibility and inspired potential. The immersive student experience is full of hands-on opportunities to explore entrepreneurship, innovation, and standard business disciplines, each of which are equally informed by the kind of lectures and experiential learning that promote good business sense. When I think about my life, I want to spend it infecting the world with change. In my eyes, I see Fuqua as the best place to help me do just that.

Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? My work has reflected the importance I place on creativity, innovation, and signature product development when designing for the modern day global citizen. I want to be a champion of strategic success with regard to creativity management, innovation, and collaborative operational support for businesses expanding into democratized consumer models. I am excited about the prospect of working with catalytic startup concepts and business models that strive to methodically reinvent the status quo and spur redefined versions of economic and social value globally.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program?  I’m glad we met. She’s someone I can count on.

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