Emily Silman

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Duke Fuqua MBA student blogger Emily Silman shares some of the 25 Random things from her application essay

I grew up in Charlotte, VT, and went to undergrad at Drew University in Madison, NJ, which is a stone’s throw away from New York City. While in college, I would always take the train into the city, so I fell in love with New York and moved there 2 weeks after college graduation.

I spent nearly 8 years in New York, working in the entertainment/internet/e-commerce worlds (first for a record label, then for FoodNetwork.com), before realizing that I really wanted a career with more of an impact. So I decided to follow my long-delayed dream of serving in the Peace Corps in order to get field experience with business in developing countries. I served an incredible 2 years in Madagascar, from 2012–2014, and while there I made the decision to pursue my other dream of getting an MBA!

Fuqua was the perfect choice for me because it’s a place that not only welcomes students with unique backgrounds, but also helps students prepare for a wide range of career goals. In my case, working in Madagascar helped me become passionate about the global nature of business (and a total nerd about traveling and airlines!) After graduation I’ll be joining Delta Airlines as an MBA Associate in their Commercial Strategy Leadership Development Program.

Organizations I’m involved in at Fuqua:

I will be serving as the VP of Sustainability for the MBA Association during my second year, working to make Fuqua a greener place by promoting sustainable behaviors among students, staff, and faculty. I am also involved with a number of clubs, including Net Impact, the Jewish Business Association, Business in Africa, F.I.V.E. Star Transitions, and FuquaVision.

Favorite Things in Durham:

The thrill of watching basketball games from the student section in Cameron Indoor, Cuban sandwiches at Old Havana Sandwich Shop, running in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, the “Tower of Babel” latte at Cocoa & Cinnamon, the bar at the 21c Hotel downtown, biking to school through the beautiful Duke campus, alfresco dinners at Geer Street Garden, breakfast at Guglhupf and Foster’s Market, and all the cool renovated tobacco warehouses downtown with their beautiful old painted advertisements.

Fun Facts:

  • Studying at Fuqua is the third “life goal” that I am tackling. The first two were to run the NYC Marathon (completed in 2009!) and to serve in the Peace Corps (completed in 2014!). My ultimate life goal is to visit every country in the world. I’m currently at 20 countries visited, so I’ve got a ways to go!
  • As a result of my Peace Corps service, I am fluent in Malagasy, which is the indigenous language of Madagascar.
  • Because I applied to business school while still in Madagascar, I studied for the GMAT in my tiny little hut in the rural southeastern part of the island, with only books to help me. Then I had to take a 24-hour bus ride to the capital, then fly to South Africa in order to take the exam!
  • Working at Food Network gave me some really incredible opportunities, which included fun things like appearing in an episode of “Next Food Network Star” and working in their school gardens. I am also proud to say that I won the employee “bake-off” with my homemade maple-apple pie!

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