Kofi Boakye is a self-styled Afropolitan and an MBA candidate at EMLYON Business School. He is using the French business school's entrepreneurial environment to generate business ideas, and taking advantage of Lyon's proximity to other key European cities to assist his personal growth and development.
Kofi, 27, coined the term “Afropolitan” to describe his diverse and international upbringing and his love of travel. He is of Ghanaian heritage and was born in Lagos, Nigeria. He lived briefly in Ghana before starting elementary school in London but completed it in Queens, New York City. He attended a Quaker Boarding School outside Philadelphia, and did his undergraduate study in Finance at the College of William & Mary in Virginia.
Since he arrived in France, Kofi has attended lectures in Geneva, Milan and Finland. He also plans to go on exchange to both Dubai and China. Kofi also considered an exchange to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil but was afraid that particular trip might involve too much fun at the beach and eventually break the bank!
Kofi, who comes from a very entrepreneurial family, knew during his college days that he would eventually go into entrepreneurship. He spent time researching successful business people to discover how they had done it and even “daydreamed about it often at work”. He considered business schools in the Boston area but decided on EMLYON because the "Afropolitan" in him wanted new experiences.
“Where I was working was all about finance and everyone thought in the same way. There was no growth. Lyon has easy links to other European capitals. Here people all think different. There are people coming from industry, arts, teachers... All the different outlooks help me grow”.
During the first session Kofi acted as an advisor to the co-founders of S&M Consultancy as they conceptualized and executed Re-Connect Ghana 2011, a forum for young entrepreneurs or business people in Ghana to meet and create platforms for collaboration. He is now working to perfect his French as he has plans to do business with French-speaking West Africa. He’s set a target to become fluent by September so he practices with language exchange groups on campus and in the city.
From the very first group assignment at EMLYON, Kofi was hooked. They worked on women's shoes that were similar to Jimmy Choos. “Starting with lots of energy and on a high was incredible. It has kept me going,” he says.
This term Kofi is working on a year long project with Ahimsa Partners organized by EMLYON. This project is linked with the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and aims at creating business models that will revolutionize the way the private and public sector work together on health issues.
He will also be heading to London in February with four other students to represent EMLYON at the Hult Global Case Challenge. He is very optimistic that by the end of his MBA program, he will have garnered enough entrepreneurial abilities to take on his own international start-up.