Jennifer Burka

Degree(s)

BA, 2011 – Art History: Architecture

Professional title

Business Development

Employer

Marcus Samuelsson Group, NYC

How has being an Art, Art History & Visual Studies graduate from Duke helped shape your professional success?

I chose to be an Art History major because I had an interest in architecture and urban planning and the concentration allowed me to take a lot of classes that looked at these topics from Architectural History and Urban Economics to Physics and Architectural Engineering. I also gained experience working at the Nasher Museum and the National Building Museum. I believe this architecture concentration and focus on urban planning helped to get me my first job at a Real Estate Consulting firm in Washington DC. This job was a great intro in the professional world, and while it wasn't my dream job, I learned invaluable schools. I soon left the consulting firm to travel the world on cruise ships and work in the food world, but my interest in real estate and planning has come full circle in my current roll at Marcus Samuelsson Group. Here in my business development role, I focus on my love for food as it pertains to restaurants and real estate development concepts.

What advice would you give students in Art, Art History & Visual Studies?

Think of your major as a story-telling tool when looking for jobs — in a story, things aren't always linear or obvious at first. I loved the concentration because it allowed me to take classes in a lot of disciplines, but if you don't do that, consider a minor that gives you very different skills like economics or policy.