Upon arrival in Durham, we quickly realized one thing that stood out about Fuqua—the people.

It’s such an interesting and diverse set of people that make up the Fuqua family. Our MMS Class of 2017 represents numerous countries, various backgrounds, and many different ambitions. So, we decided to explore the diversity of people here at Fuqua through a series of blog and Instagram posts featuring our classmates and their stories. We’re calling it “Fuquans.”

We can’t wait to show off our classmates! So to begin, here are a few people in our class we think you’ll really love getting to know. Enjoy our Fuquans!


Michael Mann

Michael Mann sitting on the front steps of Fuqua, part of the Fuquans series

“It’s really been a lot of fun being co-president of our MMS class. I’ve enjoyed creating really unique experiences and opportunities for our classmates. I’ve gotten to know a lot of people on a deeper level which has been really exciting. Day to day, just interacting with people and trying to create a unique environment for them and to have that collective diversity come together. Lots of cool experiences, whether it’s been service or social initiatives. It’s been really exciting for me to see.

Life is too short to not smile, wake up everyday, put your feet on the ground and be excited about your day. To have a great attitude and put in effort, because at the end of the day these are the two things you can ultimately control, no matter the circumstances.”


Dana Lee

Dana Lee posing in front of a gratitude wall, part of the Fuquans series

“At Fuqua, I feel like everyone is very open and helpful. I was nervous coming to Duke because I knew it was going to be very competitive and I felt intimidated by the image of Duke. But when I got here everyone was so open and willing to help, especially how our teams are structured. People will go out of their way to help you if it’s something they specialize in. I feel very supported even though academically this is the hardest thing I have ever done.

I think it’s always fun to try new things. I think that’s been the coolest thing about Fuqua too. There’s just been so many cool new experiences, things that I haven’t been exposed to before and really taking the opportunity to put in extra effort to dive into those things. It’s always fun and an opportunity for growth.

I’m a member of the MMS Marketing Club, and we’re really excited. We have a bunch of speakers lined up throughout the year to give us some perspective, just because marketing is so broad and we want to help people. Our biggest goal is to make sure that we are able to narrow things down for people throughout the year. And we also want to get involved in some case competitions, like there’s a brand competition coming up. We can network with the MBAs and the other people at Fuqua through that. So we’re just making sure that we make good connections and are giving people some extra experiences with marketing since we only have one marketing class.”


Ayllin Zaldivar

Aylin Salvidar posing outdoors on Fuqua's campus, part of the Fuquans series

“When I finished my undergraduate studies, I realized that if I kept studying in Peru I would just be spending yet another year there, so I wanted to incorporate a different experience. I decided to look at programs for recent undergrads and I found the MMS: Duke Kunshan program. And I found two different options, so I decided, why not China? I’ll have the opportunity to learn from two different economies, have an experience outside and then go back to my country and apply all the knowledge.”


Jessie Ambrose

Jessie Ambrose posting outdoors on Fuqua's campus, part of the Fuquans series

“I am originally from Connecticut and I went to Columbia for my undergraduate degree. I actually played lacrosse there, but I tore my ACL my freshman year, so I missed my first year. I came to Fuqua to make the best of another year of eligibility for lacrosse, but it has turned into so much more.

Throughout my undergraduate years, I learned that growing up is mandatory, but in some cases, it’s optional.”