Introducing CASE Scholar Michelle Kirby

Duke’s Fuqua School of Business offers scholarships each year to individuals with nonprofit backgrounds who are looking to acquire business skills for use in their pursuit of social impact. The Social Sector Scholarship brings in amazing students who add a richness to the Fuqua student body and bring their unique perspectives to the classroom.  We are proud to announce our two new CASE Scholars, starting with Michelle Kirby!

Michelle Kirby comes to Fuqua with six years of experience in international development, both in the US and in developing countries.  Most recently, she spent three years working in Rwanda at the One Acre Fund, an NGO applying the microcredit model to agriculture in order to serve smallholder farmers with access to credit for fertilizer and seeds.

While Michelle’s primary focus at the One Acre Fund was its finance and human resources departments (including managing the microcredit repayment cycle) she also had the opportunity to make major contributions to work in marketing and training.  Michelle took part in One Acre Fund Rwanda’s inaugural Tubura Leadership Council which helped steer the organization’s strategy during a time of enormous scale.  During her tenure, One Acre Fund Rwanda grew from employing 90 staff members, serving 2,000 farmers in 1 district to employing 430 staff members, serving 47,000 farmers in 7 districts.  Prior to her work at the One Acre Fund, Michelle spent three years at the Microcredit Summit Campaign in Washington, DC.  While there she helped organize two of the largest conferences in the field of microcredit, one held in Canada and another in Indonesia.  Michelle graduated with honors from Bates College in 2005 and holds a B.A. in Francophone Cultural Studies.

Why Fuqua?

“I never thought I would end up in business school, but I’m so happy I chose Fuqua.  My passion for international development has led me to interact with many different NGOs, development agencies, and social enterprises.  I have seen lots of projects go awry due to a lack of managerial skills or financially unsustainable business models. On the flipside, well-run organizations using innovative and financially sustainable models have filled me with hope and excitement at the prospect of solving some of the world’s most challenging problems.  I wanted to come to business school to build upon my professional experiences with a solid foundation of business skills which I can then apply to the field of international development.  I wanted to come to Fuqua because it is the school for social entrepreneurship.  I was also excited to stay in touch with the world beyond academics through opportunities at CASE such as the Global Consulting Practicum and Fuqua on Board.”

Welcome Michelle! We are so excited to have you as part of Team Fuqua!