Adwoa Konadu Perbi
The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania
MBA – The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
MA – Johns Hopkins, School of Advanced International Studies
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: I am a dreamer who takes action and inspires others to do the same.
Hometown: Accra, Ghana
Fun Fact About Yourself: I speak 3 languages and have visited 15 countries on 5 continents.
Undergraduate School and Major:
Major: Computer Science, Minor: Electrical Engineering
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
Goldman Sachs (New York, then London) – Technology Analyst
Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (Accra) – Technology Teaching Fellow
AfroChic Ltd (Accra) – Co-founder
Souq Afrique (Accra) – Founder
Millennium Development Authority (Accra) – Project Controls, Quality Assurance and Logistics
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In the face of overwhelming odds – lack of an address system, very little internet penetration, and no standard sizing, to name a few – a friend and I founded a clothing manufacturing and retail company. Without cutting corners, paying bribes or evading taxes, we created Ghana’s first successful online shop, pioneered social media marketing and became a catalyst for what has evolved into a vibrant fashion industry. We learned to harness our social networks, turning friends into brand champions and customers into friends.
Personally, I learned how to carry on in the face of uncertainty, to take risks and to inspire people, to teach others and to learn from them. Because of the AfroChic experience, I am confident that when the entrepreneurial bug bites again, I will have what it takes to transform a new dream into a reality.
Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? What is it that they say? “Every diet works – if you follow it.” The advice is out there. If you are applying to business school, then you are savvy enough to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff. What I will add is:
Start preparing early. I started school research and GMAT prep eight months to the round one deadline, dedicated four months to studying for the GMAT and didn’t even register for the exam until I hit my target score. Some prep materials are easier than others, so use 2 – 3 different ones in order to be more fully prepared. I suggest Kaplan, the Official Guide for GMAT Review by GMAC and Manhattan Prep (I cannot praise Manhattan Prep enough!)
Tell the right story. There’s a lot of hype about telling a story. I agree that it’s important. However, do the hard, introspective work of discovering, rather than inventing, your story. It will ring truer; it will be supported by your experiences; there will be evidence of it in your recommendations and the AdCom will see you for the amazing person you truly are.
Get someone (preferably one who has been through the b-School application process successfully) to review your essays and CV to provide critical and honest feedback. Too many cooks spoil the broth, so I suggest you limit it to 1-2 people max.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? The short answer is that I have never met a Wharton Alum who wasn’t doing something absolutely impressive. Sure, there were other factors such as the school’s superior academic offerings, unique career management team, culture of collaboration, diversity and AMAZING brand. For me, it all boiled down to the people. Great faculty, great students (they sure know how to pick ‘em) and a powerful alumni network. I believe that there is something about Wharton that enables their MBAs to focus their drive and intellect in ways that make a big, meaningful impact wherever they find themselves and I couldn’t help but want my life to be transformed by the Wharton magic.
Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life. My dream job is management consulting (preferably with MBB), harnessing my diverse experiences, business education and the rigorous training that is part of every great consulting firm to solve problems across a wide variety of sectors. Eventually, I would like to specialize in social impact and/or public sector work, advising governments and NGOs on how to increase their effectiveness and on what strategies will best achieve their goals of economic growth.
In the long term, I plan on being active in Ghanaian politics and eventually run for office, to be the kind of leader we so desperately need – one who collaboratively tackles the big problems in Ghana and beyond with intelligence, persistence, deep empathy and involvement with my community.
What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I would like my peers to say that their lives were positively impacted by me during our time in business school – that I was a force to be reckoned with; that I was supportive of their dreams, unquestionably dependable, very resourceful; and that they are confident that no matter where I find myself I will make my mark in this world.