AKUA OBENEWAA DONKOR: INDIANA UNIVERSITY, KELLEY SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
“I am passionate about women entrepreneurship. I believe in personal growth, positivity and social impact.”
Hometown: Adjemesu, Ashanti Region, Ghana
Fun Fact About Yourself: For my work, the Ghanaian media popularly refers to me as “The Chocolate Lady.” Perhaps, you should expect some delicious chocolates at Kelley.
Undergraduate School and Major: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Advertising and Packaging Design
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Founder & CEO, DecoKraft Limited (a chocolate manufacturing company in Ghana)
In the second half of the year, you will be completing an Academy devoted to areas like Marketing, Finance, Operations, Digital Enterprises and more. Which Academy interests you the most and why? I am most interested in the Consumer Marketing Academy. As a leader in a food manufacturing company, I am curious to learn more about what informs customers’ decisions to consume goods and services. I am also eager to work with global companies to tackle real world challenges.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Indiana Kelley’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The course structure and curriculum of the Kelley MBA program was very important in my decision to attend the school. I realized I could have all that I need to build my career. I plan to major in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, with a minor in Finance, and then take part in Consumer Marketing Academy. I also saw the curriculum as a way to rediscover myself and my strengths in business management.
What course, club or activity excites you the most at Indiana Kelley? I am drawn to the 1Kelley experiential learning. I have experienced the challenges as a female small business owner. I will be combining my MBA and entrepreneurial experience to help women and minority-owned businesses in the Bloomington area to pave a path for their growth.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: As a chocolate maker, I am most proud of improving the learning experience for underprivileged children in rural cocoa farming communities in Ghana. In many cocoa growing communities in Ghana, access to basic education and learning materials like textbooks, storybooks, exercise books, and writing tools is largely limited. Many children drop out of school at an early age as a result of this. To remedy this problem, I launched the “I Love to Read” project as part of my company’s corporate social responsibilities. Our fund-raising methods include mounting chocolate sculptures at shopping malls to request for donations. With the support of the urban and corporate communities for this project, we raise enough money to reach many communities with books and school supplies every year. At other times, I celebrate my birthday with these children. In 2018, the project finished the structural facility in one of these schools. I was elated to see the first students that occupied this facility graduate from Junior High school in September 2020. Impacting the cocoa farming communities in Ghana positively always reminds me of how much I enjoy social work and I am proud to say that children in these communities now have better learning opportunities because of me.
How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? As a business owner, I learned to be quick to adapt to change. All the plans and strategies that my team and I had put in place for 2020 had to be reviewed and new strategies were put in place.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? As a founder and chief executive officer of a confectionary company that envisages its next major strategic plan to expand into other African countries, I believe this is the perfect time for me to acquire a quality academic education in entrepreneurship and business administration. Upon completion, I intend to utilize the knowledge, network, and resources that I will acquire in a business school to lead my business towards its long-term growth potential.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, Cornell SC Johnson, D’Amore-McKim School of Business
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Indiana Kelley’s MBA program? Connect and speak with current students. Do a lot of research before your application and attend as many admission events as possible. Remember to apply early!