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Stern Singles Presents: Shelby Duncan

Hello Sternies, it is such a pleasure to share with you May’s most eligible bachelorette, Shelby Duncan.

Sternie Testimonials:

“Shelby has the mind and maturity of a 40 year old Nobel Peace Prize winner but the body of a 20 year old instamodel. Seriously. She. Does. Not. Age.”

I need to meditate on that for a minute.

“She makes a kick ass pomme aligot (Google it and get your Lactate ready)”

Why did that turn me on? Seriously, thanks for the new therapy content. 

State your name and the best 1-2 sentence summary about you and your aspirations:

What’s cookin’ good lookin’ – Shelby Duncan here, writing you from the best coast in isolation. I am a California transplant looking for a new adventure.. and explore all that NYC has to offer. 

I’ll be totally honest, that is my favorite answer to this dry intro question I’ve ever received. This will be fun. 

Shelby joined Stern in Fall of 2018, moving from Oakland to attend the program. She grew up in Clovis, CA just outside of Fresno. Shelby works as a Technology Strategy Consultant for Grant Thornton. I had the pleasure of meeting Shelby in our Business Communications class last Fall. This woman has PRESENCE. In a half semester class dedicated to critiquing your classmates contrived business presentations, she kept me on the edge of my seat, hanging on her cadence, her ability to breathe up storms with a simple pause. Half a semester was not nearly enough. For this reason, among others, I was delighted to see this nomination come through and get the chance to talk to Shelby about her life, her plans, and her romantic leanings.

What brought you to Stern? 

There were three key drivers that pulled me to Stern: 

  1. I did not want my career to be limited at any point because I had failed to pursue an MBA
  2. I wanted to expand my network
  3. I see myself starting my own firm and want to have a grasp on the different dimensions of business I would need to keep in mind as I build an organization

What excited you most about coming here? 

Stern provided me a fresh start, a new adventure, and an exciting challenge. I was able to switch roles at work, move across the country, and pursue my educational goals.  

The joy of living is to alter it. There had to be some reservations though. Did anything worry you about starting grad school? 

I was afraid of two things – freezing to death and not making any friends. Thankfully, neither of those fears were realized!

I’ve been in NYC for almost half a decade and I’m still such a whiner about the cold. Glad to hear one of us isn’t freezing.

What’s been your favorite part about the program? 

My favorite part about Stern so far is the incredible community of people I’ve had a chance to meet and befriend. I feel particularly lucky to have formed the relationships I have with my block members (Hi, Oranges!) and know these will be life-long friends and connections. 

Love a good block shoutout (what’s up Yellow and adoptive Greens). What’s your favorite aspect of the culture at Stern? 

Everyone is smart, humble, and fun to be around. I think the culture is immensely supportive and positive – Stern is truly a special place. 

Wow, that might be the first time I’ve heard humble, but I’m not one to turn down compliments.

What do you think makes you who you are?

I am immensely curious and love to be on the go (I get to travel for work often and love it). I enjoy anything that is new to me whether it is a book, a restaurant, a new language – I find anything novel to be truly fascinating. I think my curiosity has provided me with an immense amount of opportunity which I am very grateful for. 

Never let that novelty wear off. What excites you? 

On one hand, I love extreme sports: paragliding, rafting, climbing, etc. On the other hand, I think it is equally exciting to wake up on a Saturday with nothing to do and you can decide exactly how your day can unfold – maybe you take a new book and read it at the beach, go for a day trip out of town, or binge Netflix and take a nap – all equally exciting in my book!

What scares you? 

Rigidity – I am constantly reminded that life happens in the gray – it’s not as simple as black and white. I want to make sure I remain open-minded so that I can be as receptive to learning as possible – I don’t want to miss out on opportunity because I wasn’t able to see it as an option. 

Hear that? Don’t bark up this tree unless your limber. But absolutely, I feel that; everything in life so far has been to expand my foundation to allow me to do whatever it is that I want (still up in the air). My biggest fear now is having to cut some of those branches I worked so hard to cultivate. Growing tomatoes is an incredibly emotional experience for me. 

Favorite musician or band?

I made a playlist of my favorite songs that has been on repeat – you can check it out on Spotify: Timi Tracks.

Do you know how happy it made me to see Princess Nokia on this playlist?

Alright, picking up steam now. Favorite song to dance to? 

No Hoe by D-Lo.

Hella hyphy. Do you enjoy dancing alone? 

I can dance alone, but I prefer to dance with someone else (unless my song comes on, then you need to move out of the way!). 

What’s the first 1st song you want to party to when the quarantine is lifted? 

Summertime Magic by Childish Gambino. 

Swoon. 

Favorite karaoke song? 

Snoop Dogg’s Drop It Like It’s Hot. 

Wow, if this ever happens in person I volunteer to be your back-up singer and do the Pharell tongue clicks in the background

Favorite podcast? 

I have become a fan of the Motley Fool Podcast, highly recommend!

Favorite book?

White Oleander by Janet Fitch. I always come back to that book when I am going through a major change in my life and it resonates in an impactful and different way each time. 

Full disclosure: I haven’t read the book. But I did see the movie, in theatres, in 2002 with my babysitter at the time (I’m dating myself I know). The erotic nightmares Michelle Pfieffer gave me will forever haunt my psyche, so yes, I really resonate with this deep cut of an answer.

I hear you’re quite the cook? 

I love to cook – it is one of the ways that I express love for the people I care about. I enjoy hosting dinner parties and Whine Wednesdays (whine and drink wine, get it?) at my apartment. 

Favorite isolation meal? 

Tacos, in alarming quantities.  

Taco night is best consumed in lump sum, no need to itemize. Live your best life.

Favorite date spot? 

Let’s find a new one together!

I’m going to take this as a personal invitation, but readers feel free to chime in.

Describe your ideal first post-quarantine date?


Let’s grab a glass of wine at a restaurant with outdoor seating and go through a walk in the park after. 

What are you looking for in a partner? 

I hope to develop a partnership with someone who truly wants a partnership. I want to be with someone who is equally ambitious as I am – I want to help my partner achieve their goals and I want my partner to be able to do the same for me. I would love to be with someone who is as equally curious, adventurous, and playful. I think it is really important to enjoy the moment and not take yourself too seriously… Bonus points if you are taller than me (I am 5’ 10”). 

Do you have any deal breakers in a partner? 

I’d be unable to be with someone who cannot openly and honestly communicate how they are feeling/what they are thinking. Without open communication, you can’t have trust or respect, which I believe are foundational to a relationship.  

Is there anything you would like to tell your potential suitors? 

I am genuinely looking to build *something special* with *someone special*. I am a (closeted) hopeless romantic and believe that a little chivalry goes a long way. PS – peonies are my favorite flower.

Shelby Duncan, everyone, quarantining in her backyard hammock. I’m going to go pick some peonies. Also, to those so kind to provide testimonials, I’m sorry, I’m not allowed to talk about her butt. 
If you would like to nominate a classmate for future features of the Stern Spotlight, please email the Oppy staff at Oppy@stern.nyu.edu.

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