2023 MBA To Watch: Pearl Jacker Doe, University of Pittsburgh (Katz)

Pearl Jacker Doe

University of Pittsburgh, Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business

“Results-driven, highly adaptable in new environments, and continuously seeking growth!”

Hometown: Cape Coast, Coastal Plan Region-Ghana

Fun fact about yourself: As an international student in Norway, I gained an invaluable cultural perspective. After joining PRISM in the U.S.A., I had the opportunity to participate in a massive giveaway event, which involved collaborating with the Church of Bellfield to provide freebies to incoming international students. It was a fulfilling experience to work alongside fellow volunteers and demonstrate the kindness of the Christian community while sharing the message of Jesus Christ.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Marketing Option)- University of Ghana
  • Diploma in International Marketing- The Arctic University of Norway

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I worked at Access Bank Ghana Plc as a Relationship Officer (2018-2021)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? I was a Product Marketing Intern at Microsoft Incorporated, Seattle, WA.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will be working at Microsoft Incorporated as a Product Marketing Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Board Member, Student Executive Board
  • MBA Student Ambassador
  • Student Representative for the Pitt Business Planning and Budget Committee.


  • Working and Learning Abroad Panelist, Friday Forum
  • Participated in the 2023 Super Analytics challenge to address how to effectively manage the demand and supply of mental health resources within the Allegheny County, Pittsburgh

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? One of my proudest achievements was serving as a Member of the Student Executive Board (S.E.B.). The S.E.B. is a crucial link between the faculty, administration, and full-time master’s students, and I was proud to contribute my expertise to this effort.

I took the initiative to organize an open forum session with first-year students, where they could engage with the S.E.B. and receive the necessary support to navigate their academic journey. This session served as a valuable platform for students to ask relevant questions and gain insightful perspectives from the S.E.B. about their MBA/MS experience.

On a personal level, I had the privilege to establish a connection with first-year students, and I was humbled that many of them sought my counsel on their academic and career aspirations. This experience allowed me to share my knowledge and experience with them towards making informed decisions that aligned with their goals. After the open forum, an after-gathering at “Howl the Moon” was organized by colleagues on the Board, where second-year students fostered a friendly environment for first-year students to feel welcomed. Witnessing the positive impact that the S.E.B. had on students’ academic and social lives was a rewarding experience for me.

I take pride in my academic achievement of transitioning from my initial MBA/MS in Marketing program to MBA/MIS. Despite not knowing the coding or technical aspects of Management Information Systems, I persevered. My professors provided amazing support in learning Python and R. This learning journey has opened up a new world of discovery for me

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? As a Relationship Officer at Access Bank, I accomplished significant milestones which were instrumental to my promotion in April 2021, just before I embarked on my B-school journey. One of my greatest sources of fulfilment was witnessing the numerous transactions I facilitated come to fruition and the positive impact these transactions had on my clients’ businesses. I had the privilege of meeting and collaborating with top-level executives and leveraging my marketing expertise to strategize and provide tailored financial solutions that best met my clients’ business needs. There was no way to do that but to absorb with deeper insight and empathy what my customers needed (Like Satya Nadella says in his book Hit refresh, at the core of our business must be the curiosity and desire to meet a customer’s unarticulated and unmet needs). To me, being a Marketer was not something abstract. When I interacted with my clients (who were mostly corporate), I needed to listen. To excel as a marketer, I believed in actively listening to my clients, anticipating their needs, and proactively offering relevant solutions.

My transition from my initial department, Internal “Control and Compliance”, to Commercial Banking was significant to my corporate growth. It allowed me to leverage my skills and expertise to generate revenue, exceed revenue targets, and achieve KPIs. Despite work constraints, I also completed my Chartered Banking exams and was awarded as the top scorer in Ghana for the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) Operational case study.

The journey towards getting accepted into a prestigious MBA program was an arduous one, which required a lot of effort and dedication on my part. I recall staying up late to ensure my application was as polished as possible. However, the sweet taste of victory was well worth the sleepless nights and sacrifices made. The reward of being accepted into a reputable MBA program was one that I will always cherish. It was a testament to my hard work, perseverance, and unwavering commitment to achieving my academic and career goals. The opportunity to join a community of like-minded individuals, learn from renowned professors, and gain exposure to diverse perspectives and experiences was a dream come true. These accomplishments were a testament to my resilience, determination, and commitment to excellence.

Why did you choose this business school? When I was in the process of applying to MBA programs, I received a promotional email from the Katz School of Business, which caught my attention. Intrigued by the outreach, I followed up and completed the application. However, I mistakenly signed up for the Finance applicants’ interview, so my interviewer showed up and expected a Finance perspective to my answers. However, my answers reflected my background in Marketing. I thought that was an outright disqualification. Instead, my interviewer appreciated my perspective and referred me to Katie Bennet, who became my career advisor.

During my brief interview with Katie, I was impressed by the school’s intentional recruitment process. Erin Vuono also played a crucial role in my decision to choose Katz. As an international student, I had many questions and concerns. However, Erin patiently answered all of them and gave me the necessary details to make an informed decision.

Unfortunately, I missed my orientation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Simone made sure that my transition into class was seamless. Her support made me feel welcomed and included in the Katz community. I am grateful for the care and attention I received throughout the admissions process.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Throughout my MBA program, I have had the pleasure of learning from various professors, each with their unique approach to teaching. However, my favorite professor is Prof Greg Michael Coticchia. Although his Business-to-Business (B2B) class was immersive (It takes place over three days, usually over weekends), I thoroughly enjoyed every discussion.

What stood out to me about Greg’s teaching was his consistent emphasis on the importance of relationships in B2B marketing. Having understood the essence of building relationships, I could connect the dots when Kieth Cockrell, the President of Bank of America, Charlotte, gave us an equation during our capstone visit in Charlotte; “Relationships + Performance = Advancement”.

Furthermore, Chris Rasmussen, a guest speaker in the Marketing Communications segment of the course, provided invaluable insights into the use of logos and colors by businesses. Prior to this class, I had never paid attention to these elements in branding. However, now, I look at them with a new eye and appreciate their significance.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? One of the most memorable events as an MBA student was Friendsgiving, also known as International Food Day, which truly reflected my business school’s vibrant and diverse community. The event celebrated different cultures and cuisines, where students from around the world showcased their unique heritage through traditional clothing and delicious food. I was struck by the colorful array of flags representing countries such as Germany, India, Taiwan, the United States, China, Japan, and Ghana. Seeing how excited everyone was to share their culture and learn about others was heartwarming.

I had the opportunity to represent my home country, Ghana, by presenting some of our traditional dishes, such as Banku and grilled tilapia, jollof rice and grilled chicken, and coleslaw. Although initially nervous about the spiciness of my meals (smiles), I was overjoyed to see that it was the most enjoyed dish of the event.

Friendsgiving was an excellent representation of my business school’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion. It was a time to celebrate our differences and recognize the value of learning from one another. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a remarkable event, which truly embodied the spirit of my MBA program.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Looking back, I realize I missed out on valuable opportunities to connect with a wider range of classmates. Although I did form strong bonds with some individuals, I do wish I had put in more effort to engage with a larger group of my peers.

If I could go back in time, I would prioritize building relationships with my classmates from the start. Ultimately, investing in these relationships would have enriched my MBA experience and contributed to my personal and professional growth. Initially, I found it challenging to speak up and actively participate in class discussions during the early stages of my MBA program. My doubts about the validity of my ideas and opinions made me hesitant to ask questions or contribute to the discourse.

However, as time passed, I gradually gained the confidence to share my thoughts and insights in class. To my surprise, I discovered that my classmates and professors valued and appreciated my contributions. I realized that my opinion mattered and that my unique perspective added value to the conversations. Looking back on my MBA journey, I wish I had started to open up and participate more actively in class from the beginning. I now understand that by withholding my ideas and opinions, I missed out on opportunities to learn from my peers and contribute to the overall learning experience of the class. Trusting yourself and having the confidence to share insights and ideas respectfully and constructively is essential.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The capstone project of my MBA program was one of the most talked about expectations for the final year. I had heard that it involved a management simulation. Indeed, our predecessors did have Management simulations. However, my classmates and I were pleasantly surprised to have a unique and exciting experience with Professor Matthias Baumann and Professor Mark Riggio. They and the faculty facilitated our capstone innovation project, allowing us to visit several companies in Charlotte, including the Charlotte Regional Alliance, Bank of America, Lowe’s, and Grant Thornton. Instead of a simulation, we had to develop an innovative solution to a real business problem, which was exactly what the MBA program aimed to teach us – to solve problems in the workforce.

Our visit to Bank of America was one of the project’s highlights, with amazing food and breathtaking scenery. The fireside chat between Kieth Cockrell and Steve Boland of Bank of America was memorable, with discussions on leadership and business strategy. When Keith asked Steve what advice he would give his younger self, Steve responded, “to be patient”. He stressed the importance of learning and remaining patient in our career journey, even as we experience surprises in our career journeys.

Earlier in the day, Keith shared his passion for excellence, stating that he wanted the next person to join his team to raise the bar. The capstone project was a fulfilling experience that exceeded our expectations and taught us valuable lessons about problem-solving, innovation, and patience in our career journeys.

What surprised you the most about business school? I was surprised by the significant role of case studies in my business school education. In contrast to my undergraduate program at the University of Ghana, where lecturers primarily relied on slides and case studies were rare, almost every course in my MBA program included a relevant case study. This was an enriching experience and a more effective way of learning.

In addition to case studies, the MBA program also emphasized group work, breakout sessions, research papers, and presentations. These activities helped me understand the importance of workplace collaboration, teamwork, and presentation skills. Through these activities, I gained valuable insights into the intricacies of working with different personalities and learned how to communicate effectively in group settings.

Furthermore, the emphasis on research papers and presentations challenged me to sharpen my critical thinking skills and articulate my ideas more clearly and persuasively. I learned how to present my ideas succinctly and confidently, which has proven to be a valuable asset in my professional life.

Overall, the MBA program exceeded my expectations and provided me with a holistic education that equipped me with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary to succeed in the ever-evolving business world.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I learned a lot from my classmates, but one of my most admirable MBA classmates is Ammar Kinkhabwala. In our first year, he exhibited remarkable selflessness when he provided tutoring sessions to students preparing for accounting exams. Even while traveling, he conducted a session on Zoom, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to helping others succeed. It was no surprise that he emerged as the President of the Student Executive Board.

Throughout the past year, I have had the privilege to work with Ammar on the Board and witnessed firsthand his unrelenting support for different initiatives. He has demonstrated an incredible level of leadership and collaboration, working tirelessly to promote the student body’s interests. Ammar has an exceptional ability to bring people together and inspire them towards achieving a common goal.

In addition to his role in the Student Executive Board, Ammar has also participated in several case competitions, showcasing his impressive analytical and problem-solving skills. His commitment to volunteerism is commendable, as he has volunteered in several community service projects, reflecting his deep empathy.

Ammar’s selflessness, leadership, collaboration, and volunteerism are truly admirable qualities that make him stand out as an exceptional classmate. He is an inspiration to many, and I do not doubt that he will continue to achieve great things in his future endeavors

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

1.One of my professional goals is to launch a corporate consulting firm with my good friends, Abigail Okyere and Deborah Oppong-Asumang. Our primary objective would be to provide guidance and education to individuals in Ghana who are interested in pursuing different MBA pathways.

2.Another priority is to attain a C-suite position within a company I am passionate about and utilize my experience to mentor and support young women who share similar aspirations.

What made Pearl Doe such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“I have had the privilege of knowing Pearl throughout her time at the Katz Graduate School of Business as she pursues both her MBA and MS MIS. Over the last 18 months, I have watched Pearl not only take on new challenges but excel at everything that has come her way. All while adding to our culture of community and leaving behind a legacy that ensures a better Katz for future generations.

To say that Fall of 2021 was an interesting time to enter graduate business school is quite the understatement. There were so many unknowns as we were all still navigating hybrid education and recruitment cycles. When I first met Pearl, she acknowledged all of this, but still had a passion and fire inside of her that gave her a calming sort of confidence. Pearl knew exactly what she wanted out of her MBA experience – to make her way into Corporate America as a young, African woman. She also knew that the first step to get there is an amazing summer internship. Pearl truly hit the ground running when it came to both her internship search and her academics. Never one to shy away from a challenge, she switched into our dual MBA/MS MIS to better understand the technical side of business and make her better candidate for a company she had already started interviewing with. Microsoft went on to make her an offer for their highly-coveted summer internship program later that fall term. Step one of her long-term goal could be checked off the list.

We pride ourselves on a strong sense of community here at Katz and Pearl is a true embodiment of that. As one of our few African students and only one from Ghana, it was important for Pearl to create a strong community for herself both at Katz and in the larger city of Pittsburgh. At Katz, she joined the Student Executive Board in her first semester where she remains a member now in her second year of the program. Her work there has centered around organizing school-wide events while also ensuring that all Katz students know what is available to them and when. Pearl’s focus as a member of the Katz community has been to help create an environment where folks can feel heard, seen, and validated.

Pearl Doe was truly an invaluable addition to the Katz MBA Class of 2023. You would be hard pressed to find someone who was not positively impacted just by knowing her. Her positivity, work ethic, and passion make her truly extraordinary. Pearl set out with a particular goal in mind – to be an African woman in Corporate America. She is well on her way to achieving that goal as she will begin her full-time role at Microsoft this June. What makes Pearl one of the Best and Brightest MBAs of 2023 is her dedication to ensure future generations of African woman will be able to achieve even more.”

Simone Jurinko
Associate Director for MBA Programs
Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business
University of Pittsburgh


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