Meet Chicago Booth’s MBA Class Of 2021

Kwaku Frimpong

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

“A pizza enthusiast and developing marketing leader with love for people, sports, & demystifying stereotypes.”

Hometown: The Bronx, NY

Fun Fact About Yourself: I grew up only 2 blocks away from Yankee Stadium. I was so close to the stadium I would hear the reaction from the crowd outside my window before it would appear on TV.

Undergraduate School and Major: Providence College, Marketing & Finance double major.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Intersection Media, Small & Medium-Sized Business Account Executive

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: One of the best aspects of working for Intersection is that I have had the opportunity to partner with many unique brands and organizations to help them with their marketing strategies. When I transferred to Intersection’s Chicago office, I decided to focus on an area of Chicago where Intersection had a lot of open inventory to sell for December. I strived to be comprehensive and diligent when searching for businesses to partner with that ultimately resulted in reaching out to a Chicago based daycare center, Ada S. McKinley. I wasn’t sure where the call would lead, but my patience led to a meeting with the marketing director.

I went into the meeting with an open mind. I completed a thorough needs analysis, discovering they had multiple daycare locations, vocational training, and clinical and behavioral services they wanted to market to all of Chicago! I made sure to ask all of the important questions to determine how Intersection could help them achieve their goals: to increase enrollment in their daycare facilities and secure financial support from potential donors. Through the meeting, I developed a custom media campaign combining our digital out of home, bus, and train media assets throughout the south, west and downtown areas of Chicago. They fully trusted my media recommendation and decided to partner with Intersection.

After the campaign went live in the market, they saw a huge increase in website traffic and calls regarding child enrollment. The website traffic became so active, they were forced to redesign and update their website to provide more up to date information for prospective families. They were beyond thrilled with the impact our media campaign had on their organization. That initial campaign was the start of a long-lasting partnership between myself and Ada S. McKinley. They not only trusted me as their go-to advertising expert moving forward, but they also went on to dedicate more funds with Intersection every quarter to become one of the largest spenders for our Chicago office

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Inspiringly ambitious. I’ve met Booth students from all different backgrounds who have such lofty personal goals post-MBA that revolve around improving people’s lives and the world around them. Listening to the stories of my classmates and what they want to do with a Booth MBA has helped me see that everyone is striving for their own personal greatness while unknowingly inspiring others to do the same for themselves.

What makes Chicago such a great place to earn an MBA degree? Booth’s flexible curriculum not only encourages its students to hit the ground running from day one but also allows students to challenge themselves and take risks they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do otherwise. Booth students are fully in the driver’s seat of personalizing their MBA experience towards their needs. The Booth experience is fully ours to own, whether it is taking courses from any of the Noble Prize-winning staff to helping prepare for interviews or summer internships to taking advantage of Booth’s location and interning or doing experiential work with real companies in the vibrant city of Chicago.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? With my experience in advertising sales and account management, I understood that my soft skills are stronger than most and wanted an MBA program that would fill in the hard skills I need to thrive in my career as a marketing leader long term. I loved Booth’s data-driven approach to marketing and felt their marketing approach was truly reflective of the current state of the industry where numbers drive most decisions. I felt Booth’s approach to marketing was truly unique. I also appreciated the fact that I had the opportunity to attend Booth as a Kilts Marketing Fellow and have a fully supportive community of Booth’s top marketers by my side.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’ve played sports my entire life including basketball in high school, track & field in college, and marathons post-college. However, I’ve always loved and appreciated watching the game of soccer since my family is from Ghana and that is the most popular sport in the country. I’m very excited to join the Booth Soccer Club and play the game with students from all over the world and of all skill levels. It will be the perfect way for me to try something new and stay active while releasing stress through exercise during the busy MBA year.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After accumulating five years of experience in sales across finance and advertising, I felt as if I developed my interpersonal communication skillset to serve as a great building block for the rest of my career. However, I always envisioned myself becoming a leader in the industry or career function that I chose to pursue. Intersection helped show me that I had a love for the marketing industry. I believe that to be a marketing leader, you must fully understand marketing’s 4 P’s: product, price, promotion, and place. During my time at Intersection, I primarily focused on the promotional aspect by helping my clients develop interactive advertising campaigns. I knew that to continue my growth as a marketer, I needed to transition into a role that would allow me to use all of the marketing principles. I felt that an MBA would allow me to develop the remaining skills that I need to become a successful brand manager and eventually a successful industry leader.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Kellogg, Ross, McCombs, Stanford GSB, Wharton, Fuqua, Haas.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I made it a point to find people within my networks (Providence College, Management Leadership for Tomorrow, etc) who attended the schools I was interested in and set up phone conversations with them to learn more about their experiences. Sometimes people forget that, depending on what school they choose, the current students and alumni will be in their network for the rest of their lifetime and the interactions they have with them can be very informative. I made it a point to visit each of the schools I was interested in outside of specific preview weekends. I felt that when you visit during preview weekends, you will see the best a school has to offer, which may be a little different than what it is actually like during a regular campus visit during the academic year. I cared a lot about learning about student’s authentic experiences and thoughts on their school choices. I also did thorough research on each school’s curriculum and strengths thanks to the Management Leadership for Tomorrow curriculum. I dove deep into online publications such as Poets & Quants, US News, and employment reports from each school to see where they excelled.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I had the opportunity to run Division I track at Providence College. However, as a junior, my coach placed all runners not on athletic scholarship on probation, with the option of trying out to rejoin the roster one week before the season opener. I was among those placed on probation and was devastated. Many teammates refused to try out and ultimately decided to quit the team. I set time to speak with my parents and received the type of feedback I’d expect. “You’re not a quitter and you always work hard, don’t let anyone ever question your work ethic”. With that encouragement, I challenged myself to earn my spot back. I asked teammates for the details on the morning practice and replicated the workout alone in the evening every day. I was one of two runners to rejoin the roster. Telling my parents the news and seeing them at my first race of the season was one of the happiest moments of my life because I knew I made them proud by reaching my potential through hard work and perseverance.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? In ten years, I see myself as a CMO at an early-stage CPG company with a focus on the needs of athletes of all backgrounds. I want the challenges of pushing a young brand to examine the way it is positioned in established markets and of opening new revenue streams in new markets globally.

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