2022 Best & Brightest Business Major: Marley Davis-Martin, North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

Marley Davis-Martin

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School

“Motivated marketing major who loves mountains, mac and cheese, and making a scene.”

Fun fact about yourself: Ho studiato all’estero a Milano in Italia all’Università Bocconi

(I studied abroad in Milan, Italy at Bocconi University)!

Hometown: Boulder, Colorado

High School: Fairview High School

Major: Double Major in Business Administration and Advertising/Public Relations

Minor: None

Favorite Business Course: BUSI 188: Global Immersion Elective in South Africa

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work, and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Pogue Scholar: Full-tuition merit scholarship
  • Assured admission to UNC Kenan-Flagler and the Hussman School of Media & Journalism
  • Carolina Blue Fellow 2020: Honors fellowship funding an international internship in the sports industry
  • Two-time Carolina Collective finalist and one-time semi-finalist: university campaign to solicit ideas from the UNC community about collective action, public health and inclusive digital dialogue
  • Honors Carolina
  • Dean’s List

Extracurriculars

  • Admissions Ambassador (general campus and UNC Kenan-Flagler)
  • Undergraduate Business Program Intern
  • Carolina Fever Marketing Chair
  • Community Empowerment Fund Advocate
  • Scale & Coin Business Society Chapter Founder
  • Carolina Outing Club

Where have you interned during your college career?

Big Green: Finance Intern

Fan Hub Media: Customer Support Executive

Nike Jordan Brand: Jordan Marketplace Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? Nike Jordan Brand as a Jordan Marketplace Associate

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? I’ve learned the true importance of putting the consumer at the center of everything you do. No matter the industry, subject or technical skills needed, the consumer should be the priority. Understanding their needs and behavior has been most impactful on my understanding of the business world.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? I have been most surprised by the support and community provided by the business school. I expected a competitive nature or to feel like a little fish in a big pond. However, the staff and faculty of the business school have been so encouraging and supportive of my goals. Instead of a stiff, suit-and-tie boys club, I was able to see a variety of identities and opinions from those in positions of power. I am so glad to have been exposed to such a diverse and welcoming support system within the business school that cares about furthering my professional and personal goals.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I would try to embrace topics I was afraid of and further explore subjects and material that I was unfamiliar or uncomfortable with.  As someone interested in marketing and a more creative side of business, I was hesitant to approach quantitative courses. However, taking classes that I perceived to be scary made me a better business student and deepened my understanding of the material I felt comfortable with. I wish I had embraced the unknown earlier and used it to further my business knowledge instead of holding me back.

What business executive do you admire most? I really admire Mellody Hobson, president, and co-CEO of Ariel Investments, chairwoman of Starbucks and former chairwoman of Dreamworks. Hobson is immensely successful, but she is admirable for her character and the reputation she has built for herself in the business world. She has stated that she is unapologetically Black and unapologetically a woman, and the nature of this comment coupled with her success has resonated with me. Her courage, kindness, determination and ability to leave a positive impression on everyone around her inspire me to be better.

Which academic, extracurricular, or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of my engagement with the Community Empowerment Fund (CEF) in Chapel Hill. CEF supports members of Orange County to overcome systemic racism and find sustainable solutions to homelessness and poverty. As an advocate at CEF, I help members meet their financial, housing and employment goals. CEF encourages advocates to consistently challenge their biases and learn strategies to provide trauma-informed care. I have learned so much through my time at CEF and it has allowed me to reflect on the community of Orange County outside of just the university. The work being done at CEF is a necessary component in the fight to end housing insecurity and equip members with the necessary skills to overcome systemic barriers. Giving back to the Orange County community through CEF has been impactful for me and I am so proud of the work that the organization has accomplished.

Which classmate do you most admire? I most admire my classmate and friend Olivia Boersma. Olivia is one of the kindest and most motivated people I know. She is a dedicated friend and student, always prioritizing both her studies and her relationships with others. She is a co-advocate with me at CEF and a teaching assistant for the Consulting Skills and Frameworks course at UNC Kenan-Flagler, helping to guide other students through the material. Olivia studied in Madrid while I was in Milan, and having each other as a support system while we were halfway across the world was incredible. Her unwavering faith and hard work inspire me daily, and I am grateful to know her.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my mom for her unrelenting support of me and my dreams. She has always been my biggest fan, but even with her help, she has reminded me of the importance of hard work and humility. My mom allowed me to cultivate a sense of confidence, pride and joy in what I do and accomplish. She has been an incredible role model and shown me how to be a confident businesswoman and stand up for myself. I would not be where I am without her love and support.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • Create a minority, female-owned and operated business that prioritizes sustainability
  • Work abroad on another continent

What are your hobbies? Hiking, skiing, reading, running, watching basketball (specifically UNC and the Golden State Warriors!)

What made Marley such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022? 

“Marley has an impactful presence. She radiates positivity, confidence, leadership and empathy. She exhibits a maturity and ease beyond her years.

She cares deeply about others – this is apparent in the way that she engages. She gives you her full attention, asks questions and listens. Her care for others is also demonstrated in the way that she connects.

As a first-year student she was selected from her peers to be the student leader for a faculty led Global Immersion Elective to South Africa. She was a natural fit for this leadership role – as she commands the respect of her peers, she leads with empathy and she works to create a strong and inclusive culture no matter what organization or immersion she is part of.

Many times I have encountered Marley in the hallway and she will stop, chat and introduce you to the friend that she’s walking with. It’s a small gesture – yet it demonstrates her commitment to inclusion.

After her successful leadership role in South Africa, we hired Marley as a Global Programs Specialist (GPS). GPS are student marketers who promote global business education experiences for students.

Marley also worked as an intern in the Undergraduate Business Program office for an unprecedented two years. It was Marley’s experience at Nike that really gave her the opportunity to let her marketing and leadership shine. She will take her marketing skills to the Jordan Brand with Nike, where she will work after graduation.

Marley recently returned from her third study-abroad experience, this time a fall semester exchange at Bocconi University in Milan. She set a goal to meet and make friends from other countries – she embodied the epitome of getting outside of your comfort zone. It’s a phrase we use often in global education, and Marley stepped into the challenge with confidence and humility. As a result, she now has friends throughout Europe who she speaks to on a regular basis, though she is now back in the U.S. where an ocean and many time zones physically separate her from her friends.”

Angela Bond
Director, Undergraduate Business Global Programs
UNC Kenan-Flagler

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