2023 MBA To Watch: Jennifer Sibel, Duke University (Fuqua)

Jennifer Sibel

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

“Bold. Lighthearted. Latina. A lifelong learner and explorer.”

Hometown: Harleysville, Pennsylvania

Fun fact about yourself: After undergrad, I backpacked around South America for 10 months. It was the trip of a lifetime, and I have some incredible memories as a result.

Undergraduate School and Degree: American University, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Camillus Health Concern as an Executive Assistant in Miami Florida

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? I interned at Amazon in their advertising sales division. My summer highlight was being pre-selected to ask a question during a Q&A session with Amazon’s CFO, Brain Olsavsky. It was such an incredible opportunity to hear his insights.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be returning to Amazon as part of their Finance Leadership Development Program (FLDP) in Seattle. I’m so excited!

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I serve the Fuqua community in mainly two ways. I am co-president of the MBA Association and a secretariat member of the Graduate and Professional Student Government which serves the wider graduate community at Duke.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? My time as co-president of the MBA Association has been a defining component of my MBA experience. As one of two chosen delegates of the 800+ student body, my co-president and I served as the voice of our classmates to the administration. Moreover, we were charged with assembling a cabinet of 11 VPs all representing various segments of the student community (think Student Life, DEI, Health & Wellness, Academics, etc.). Working with the cabinet and supporting the growth and restoration of new and existing initiatives was so rewarding. And now, as we’re transitioning leadership positions to the first-year class, it has been so fulfilling to hear the passion and pride in those VPs’ voices as they speak about their legacy within the community. I’m honored to have served with them.

Why did you choose this business school? When researching business schools, I targeted programs whose culture cultivated the type of leader I aspire to be. I chose Fuqua for its emphasis on what our Dean calls the triple threat: intelligence quotient (IQ), emotional quotient (EQ), and decency quotient (DQ).

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Elia Ferracuti is one of my favorites. His enthusiasm for cost accounting has been infectious! His case studies, homework exercises, lectures, and class activities have all been so engaging.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? One of my favorite courses was Real Estate Entrepreneurship. Professors Block and Slater shared so much of their knowledge and experience regarding both residential and commercial real estate strategy. They shared practical insights on how to incorporate real estate into our future wealth strategy.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Without a doubt, it was Orientation – and experiencing it both as a first-year and second-year. As a first-year going into Orientation, I had such a nervous excitement—everything and everyone was new. During that time, the camaraderie in our class was formed. As a second year at Orientation, we were the ones facilitating the events and discussions. The energy, that same nervous excitement, the first years brought was electric. It was so much fun seeing Team Fuqua being built in action.

What is the biggest myth about your school? When onboarding as a new student, there is a lot of emphasis on your first-year working group, or C-LEAD. It’s a dedicated group of six individuals who work together throughout your entire first year on group projects. I think sometimes there’s a social pressure to become best friends with your C-LEAD when in reality, there are many different types of C-LEADS, each with their own personality.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? I love the sense of community Durham has to offer. From getting to know the entrepreneurs selling at the farmers’ market to meeting the owners of the local wine bar, living in a smaller city offered me the chance to remember the “hometown” feel.

What surprised you the most about business school? Before Fuqua, I worked for 10 years in the food service industry. I had this perception that I worked with a diverse range of people. For anyone who has worked in restaurants, you work with people from all over the world, let alone the country. However, what I learned when I started working in different groups at Fuqua was the working style that I experienced in my past professional roles wasn’t diverse. I was trained and used to an autocratic working environment. At school, I encountered all types of working styles and types of leadership. It was (and sometimes still is) uncomfortable but ultimately pushed me to greater personal awareness.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I made sure to take advantage of every opportunity that was in my control. I applied Early Decision and, as a result, secured a guaranteed interview. Although I applied early, I was waitlisted for the first two rounds. During that time, I spoke with the admissions team and attended their waitlisted candidate webinars. I scheduled phone calls with previously waitlisted students. I listened to all their advice and read between the lines as much as I could. I reflected, developed a plan tailored to their advice, and implemented it. Although an initial setback, I am proud to have showcased my resilience in the process.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? There are so many accomplished individuals in my class, and I’m honored to be their classmate. One person who I’m constantly learning from and inspired by is Andrew Fischer. He is such a humble and thoughtful leader. He served on the MBA Association as the VP of DEI. Throughout the past year, he has facilitated numerous events on campus that pushed the student body to reflect on difficult topics such as allyship and systematic/unconscious bias within our community. In his role as VP, he created the first DEI student working group, assembling passionate student leaders dedicated to improving student programming and creating spaces for students to share and understand different perspectives and experiences. Ultimately, I believe that through his work and dedication to the community, many of us have grown as individuals. I know I have, and because of that, I’m so thankful to have met him.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? This past fall, I took a class in Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (ETA).  It really inspired me to consider ETA as a career path. I would love to be an entrepreneur one day. I find the thought of building or restoring a business so exciting and rewarding.

Secondly, and I know this might be a vague answer—but my overall professional goal is to see how far I can take my career. I want to push it to the limit, take risks, learn as much as I can in the process, and hopefully delight many customers and shareholders along the way.

What made Jen such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023? (

“Jen is the ultimate servant leader!

Where many might see an immovable obstacle, Jen sees an opportunity to patiently explore possibilities, to learn and to grow her thinking and approach, and to also help facilitate change.  As MBA Association co-president, and as a selfless leader, Jen embraces an advocacy mindset in her quest for discovering impactful solutions, while never losing focus on supporting her teammates with kindness and grace.

Jen’s initial instincts are always to support those most impacted. In times of challenge, she prioritized being present, listening with openness, and checking in on classmates, while simultaneously ensuring that the spotlight remained focused on finding solutions to help make the community better and more inclusive for her peers.

Jen’s action-orientated, empathy-oriented, integrity-oriented, leadership has been on full display during her time as a class president. Whether it is the monumental task of helping manage MBA student club resources and club funding, helping her peers and classmates sort through significant personal issues, or amplifying her phenomenal (and legendary!) MBA Association cabinet in their mission to help enhance the Team Fuqua culture, Jen approaches each conversation with an intelligence, honesty, and directness I deeply admire. Even in times of adversity, it is an absolute pleasure to be around Jen. She has surrounded herself with many phenomenal leaders and she seems to find additional energy and motivation by empowering and elevating her team.

Jen’s strong sense of values and focus on what is right, combined with her genuine care to help others without any need for credit or recognition, deeply inspire those of us who have had the pleasure of working with, and learning from, her. Moreover, celebrating successes with Jen and her team has been an absolute joy. Jen’s bright smile, often the result of making the experience better for others, lights up the room! We have been blessed to have Jen leading, supporting, and serving the Fuqua Family during the last year and are a stronger Team Fuqua because of her selfless service!”

Steve Misuraca
Associate Dean, Daytime MBA & MMS Programs


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