2015 MBA To Watch: Akosua Ayim

Akosua Ayim

Akosua Ayim


University of Cambridge, Judge Business School

After graduating among the top students at Columbia University and working as an analyst at JPMorgan Chase, Akosua Ayim hopped the pond for the one-year MBA program at the Judge Business School. There, she served in a variety of roles, including co-chair of the Special Interest Group and media manager for the Cambridge Africa Business Network Executive Board. In her spare time, Ayim performs spoken word poetry and hopes to use her MBA to help promote West African music in the long-term.

Age: 26

Hometown: East Orange, New Jersey

Undergraduate School: Columbia University

Undergraduate Degree: B.A Economics, B.A French & Francophone Studies

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? J.P. Morgan Chase & Company, Foreign Exchange Prime Brokerage Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2014? I was working full-time at J.P. Morgan during the summer of 2014

Where will you be working after graduation? Unsure

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized I didn’t have to choose money over passion. I could have both.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…trying to climb the corporate ladder by day and performing spoken word poetry at underground joints in New York City by night.”

What are your long-term professional goals? I ultimately want to redefine the music industry in West Africa by disrupting the current model for record labels and rights owners. I want artists in this region to be able to focus on their work (instead of on their own management) in order to allow music to once again be as much of a political tool as it is a creative one.

Favorite Courses:Strategy, Organisational Behaviour, Negotiation Skills, Digital Marketing

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? In 2011, I was humbled and honoured to be chosen out of a class of over 1,000 as one of two Head Senior Marshals. At Columbia University, a small percentage of the graduating classes are chosen to lead the group into the graduation ceremony. Out of that percentage, a male and female student are chosen to lead the entire procession. Head Marshals are chosen as a combination of academic achievement, community enhancement and extra-curricular activities as determined by faculty and Deans of the college. I was ecstatic to have been chosen to be a Marshal at all, but was blown out of the water when I was told that I would be a Head Senior Marshal. I had always given my all to Columbia during my four years there and was grateful for what the university had done for me, but it was truly something special to be recognized on that high of a level, especially since there were times when it seemed I wasn’t making as much of an impact as I wanted to.

Who would you most want to thank for your success (and why)?

Definitely my dad. He’s my harshest critique and my number one fan. I guess the first question is how one defines success. For my dad and me, it means having the opportunity to attend schools he never had access to and using that education as the foundation to follow my dreams. That’s exactly what I’m doing now and it wouldn’t have been possible without his determination and perseverance!

Why did you choose this business school?

Cambridge Judge has everything I wanted in an MBA: An extremely respected one-year, European based internationally diverse program that has some of the best professors the world has to offer and a small class size for individualized attention and building deep relationships and a premium location – this town is a breeding ground for innovation, entrepreneurship and think tanks. Additionally, the Culture, Arts, Media Management concentration is what really won me over; Cambridge became the perfect fit because there was a tailoring within the program that spoke exactly to what I wanted to do post-MBA.

What did you enjoy most about business school? The people are what make Cambridge Judge Business School phenomenal. From my classmates to the professors and guest speakers, everyone here is impressive beyond words. I love that I can sit down at dinner and may be speaking the founder of a budding enterprise or someone who’s worked directly for the President of their home country. My classmates are diverse not only in cultural background, but also in careers, hobbies and dreams. No topic is left untouched with the group of people I’ve found within these walls and there’s an air of collaboration and openness here that is unparalleled. Everyone wants to see everybody else win, which makes it that much easier to succeed

What is your most memorable moment from business school? Aiducation is a for-impact organization that raises funds for students in Kenya and the Philippines to complete their secondary education. The business school has a Cambridge chapter and, in March, we hosted a talent show as one of our main fundraisers. I was the talent coordinator. The show was scheduled for right before finals week – stress levels were high and all signs pointed to cancelling. But the resilience shown by the entire planning committee made it happen and the support we received from the whole school ensured it was a success. Students from various programs performed acts that ranged from classical piano to a full out boy band. One of the previous MBA directors performed a rock solo on his electric guitar. The venue was packed and we raised enough money to send a 2nd 4-year scholarship to a young man in the Philippines. That night showed me that I was a part of a community that’s about action, supporting one another and making the world a better place for all of us. It was definitely one of the best nights I’ve had at the business school.

Fun fact about yourself:I’m a published poet and currently recording my first EP

Favorite book: I can only pick one?…Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Favorite movie: It’s a tie between Rent and The Lion King

Favorite musical performer: Boyz II Men

Favorite television show: Criminal Minds

Favorite vacation spot: Puerto Rico

What are your hobbies? Spoken word poetry, singing, guitar playing, dancing (tap and hip-hop), punting (Thanks Cambridge!)

Twitter Handle: @AkosuaAO

What made Akosua such an invaluable addition to the class of 2015?

“From the first moment that I met Akosua on a recruitment trip to New York, I could see that she had an amazing energy and I knew that she would really help to bond the class – this has definitely been the case!  She always seems to have a very positive attitude and a big smile on her face whenever we meet on campus and has been a fantastic ambassador for the MBA programme this year. Despite her heavy workload, she has attended MBA recruitment events to meet prospective applicants, interview days to speak with new students and shared her Cambridge experience through her blog. Her creative flair really shone through recently at the Aiducation talent show, not only did she read some of her own poetry but she also performed a number of solos that had the audience on their feet by the end of the night. Akosua is someone that you know that you can rely on; she is a team player and a true collaborator – fundamental values of the Cambridge MBA program.” – Ms. Luisa Clarke, MBA Marketing & Communications Coordinator


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