Michelle Kogolo, GABELLI ’23, got her first taste of marketing when she was working in finance administration at an ophthalmology insurance firm in New York City. She was invited to participate on a team to brainstorm ideas for a philanthropic marketing campaign for hearing aids.

“I was blown away about the psychology of it, the science of it, knowing what target you’re going for, and what you want the brand narrative to be,” Kogolo said. “I thought it was super interesting and tied back to my undergraduate minor in psychology. And then I just couldn’t get it off of my mind.”

After doing some research, Kogolo, who earned her bachelor’s degree at Rutgers University, decided to pursue an MBA in marketing. She chose Fordham partly because her older brother graduated from Fordham College at Rose Hill, and also because the Gabelli School most closely aligned with her values. “It checked all the boxes,” she said. “I resonate with the culture, the community, and the Jesuit values, and how [the school]is a change maker at the forefront of ESG. All of that meshed with what I want to do.”

Now, with graduation around the corner, Kogolo will soon take what she’s learned in the full-time MBA program to her position as a marketing associate at Morgan Stanley. The opportunity materialized after she completed a summer internship in the firm’s global brand marketing division.

“I was so thankful and honored to have the opportunity to complete a summer internship with Morgan Stanley,” she said. “I worked with an amazing team and I’m so excited to go back.”

As Kogolo reflects on her years at the Gabelli School, she said she is grateful for the experiences she had to develop leadership skills, including serving as the vice president of the Black & Latinx MBA Association and as vice president of events for the Student Advisory Council.

Traveling to London for her capstone project was especially memorable as it was Kogolo’s first trek outside of the U.S. In addition to gaining consulting experience with Shopify, Kogolo enjoy sightseeing with her classmates.

“It was so much fun, I didn’t want to leave London!” Kogolo said. “As a marketer, it was instrumental to my career to see a different culture and to meet different people and understand their mindset.”

Kogolo works with the Office of Academic Advising and Student Engagement as a graduate assistant and volunteers with Girls Inc. of New York City and She Runs It, a mentorship program for women. She said she admires the women leaders at the Gabelli School, including Dean Lerzan Aksoy, Ph.D. “She is an inspiration to all of us. You can tell by her passion that she really cares about her students.”

One of four children, Kogolo and her siblings are first-generation college graduates. She credits her mother, a Nigerian immigrant, for making her academic success possible.

“My mom is an extraordinary woman. As a single parent, she worked three jobs just to make sure that all of us got a proper education because she wanted the best for us,” she said. “She’s the one who gave me the drive and ambition to discover my purpose and my calling.”

—Claire Curry for Fordham Business Magazine