By Anelle Mensah
Agatha Patterson, originally from Kumasi, Ghana, attended Pomona College where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2009. Prior to enrolling at Darden, Agatha worked at Whittier and Associates in New York for three years as a Senior Account Executive, where she interfaced with nonprofit clients and managed their marketing campaigns. Additionally, she previously spent a year working in the Office of the President in Ghana in the capital, Accra.
Agatha knew that she wanted to attend business school and after conducting research on potential business school options, she came across Darden. As she learned more about its renowned case study method and its welcoming and supportive community, Agatha knew that Darden would be the right decision for her.
As she prepares to enter her second year, Agatha will continue her involvement in extracurricular and global academic programs here at Darden by serving as President of the Darden African Business Organization (DABO), a student club that provides cultural opportunities and events for the Darden community to engage students in African business and culture. After joining DABO at the beginning of her first year, Agatha immediately took advantage of the opportunities available to her through the club by participating in the International Food Festival. “I cooked Ghanaian food — kelewele, chicken, and rice and stew for the International Food Festival. Beyond that, whenever they had events, I would go,” she said.
As her involvement grew in DABO, Agatha saw opportunities to not only create positive and sustainable change within the organization but also to develop her skills as a global leader. “I tend to see ways that I can change the organizations that I’m in. I ran for President because I want for DABO to be more visible and to have more of a presence – most folks who aren’t African don’t know about the club. I want it to be a club where if you want to learn about career opportunities on the content or are just generally interested in Africa, you can join,” she shared.
As President, Agatha remains focused on fostering and expanding the sense of community among the members of DABO. In addition, she hopes to increase alumni engagement, establish a mentorship program, and further develop events featuring prominent African business leaders. Agatha also hopes to see an increase in the number of case studies featuring African protagonists and the complexities of African business. “I want people to have an understanding of Africa beyond what they see on TV. There’s a lot of excitement in going back to Ghana and getting conversations going at these communities would be really interesting to do. In the future, I want to build a foundation that future DABO leadership can take to the next level and I’d like to see more international African students coming to Darden,” she stated.
Agatha’s global Darden experiences extend beyond her involvement in DABO. This past January, she traveled to India on a Darden Worldwide Course where she became exposed to the technology industry and its impact within the country. “I’ve been to a few countries in Latin America, Africa and Europe but I’d never been to India – India is such a dynamic place! This DWC was a data science trip where we saw how they utilized data science and technology to improve businesses,” she explained. While in India, the DWC group was also able to meet an executive from Coke India, during which Agatha gained insight into Coke’s distribution model, the various factors that must be considered as a multi-national company in a developing country, and how Coke India strives to make its products affordable and accessible to its customers. After a successful DWC experience in her first year, Agatha plans to partake in more of Darden’s global programs in the future. “I knew coming to Darden that I wanted to do a DWC; I think global experiences are really important! I want to travel all the time and I’d love to go to Argentina, Uganda, or even do my own global consulting project,” she said.