Derrick Paa Kojo Dadzie
“A passionate detail-oriented individual, who learns about life through sports, music, and travel.”
Fun fact about yourself: I was pushed down a 4-storey building.
Hometown: Kumasi, Ghana
High School: Akosombo International School, Ghana
Major: Business Analytics
Favorite Business Course: Principles of Marketing
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:
Head of Public Relations for the African Business Club, 2020-2021
Portfolio Manager for the Undergraduate Investment Group, 2021
7x Deans List Student
Winner of InvisaWear Marketing Challenge, 2019
Winner of EquitySim Trade Simulation, 2020
Where have you interned during your college career?
Hult International Business School; Cambridge MA; Student Enrollment Co-Ordinator, (Nov.2019-Aug.2021)
Gilder Gagnon Howe & Co; New York, NY; Research Analyst (Sep. 2021- Nov. 2021)
Where will you be working after graduation? Goldman Sachs, Salt Lake City, UT; Global Markets Division Client Onboarding and Configuration Analyst
Who is your favorite professor? Dr. Dean Mo Willan.
I first encountered Dr. Willan as a mentor. However, it was only after I enrolled in his Principles of Marketing class when I learned why he is the most loved professor in my university. His passionate, caring, and exuberant personality, was echoed throughout each lesson, pushing students out of their comfort-zone, and tapping into innate abilities previously not recognized. If I had one more class with Dr. Willan, I would have ended up with a Marketing major.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The success of a business, or a business leader is heavily dependent on who you surround yourself with. Knowledge and wisdom are key, but your network is invaluable. “It isn’t what you know, but who you know that matters.”
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Be open-minded, explore the different aspects of business, and find what you enjoy the most. You may be technically gifted in an area, but not enjoy what you do. However, in the long run, you’ll understand that it is more important to enjoy what you do because it will be the only thing that will keep you going. To add to that, I’d advise you to respect each person you interact with, because you have no clue who they are and who they may become. Integrity and respect should always be prioritized.
What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Coming from Ghana, my perspective on business was very lopsided. Thankfully, after enrolling in the most international business school and interacting with over 50 different cultures/nationalities, that perspective has significantly changed for good. The way business is done globally, though it has similarities, is very dependent on the culture, beliefs, language, and political landscape of the specific country. Hence, it is important to be aware of this before entering any new global market.
Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? Although I am one who genuinely believes that everything happens for a reason and shapes who we become, I would say I would have spent more time with people and be even more involved in community and schoolwork. Knowledge gained from the classroom is valuable, but knowledge gained from the interactions we have with people is invaluable. Different perspectives and mindsets encourage thought-provoking discussions which shape long term decision-making. Hence, I would have love to be more involved in on-campus and off-campus networking events.
What business executive do you admire most? Seni Hazzan
Mr. Hazzan is a Nigerian business professional based in Boston, Massachusetts. He began his post-grad career in arguably the two biggest financial firms, Goldman Sachs, and Arthur Anderson, before starting his own company focused on serving people. He is also a writer, with his most notable book being Rebuilding from Ground Zero. I was lucky enough to have met Mr. Hazzan as a professor in my final semester in college where we built a teacher/student bond like never before. What I admire most about Mr. Hazzan is not just his professional achievements, but how he never forgets his humble beginnings. He also has a very strong spiritual relationship with God, which are two things that resonates heavily with me.
Which academic, extracurricular, or personal achievement are you most proud of? An achievement I am significantly proud of is in relation to my extracurricular endeavors, as Head of Public Relations for the African Business Club. I took on this position at the dawn of the pandemic, when there seemed to be no future or continuity for the club. However, Bemboli Mozagba (President of the club at the time) and I decided to take on the reigns and keep the club going to support our community.
Two individuals running a club of over 100 members was a big struggle and with time we were able to add new members to the executive board. Nonetheless, why I am so proud of keeping the club going is in relation to the award we received at the end of the school year: Best Global Event Award. This was to commemorate our outstanding achievement of setting up a virtual workshop event by connecting the schools Boston and London campuses.
Preparing for the event was stressful, especially considering all the logistical barriers you could imagine were involved in running such a global event. An even bigger challenge was presenting and leading the event, which I oversaw. Looking back, I am so grateful for the challenges because it genuinely made me appreciate what an achievement we were able to pull off. Six months prior to the event, the club did not have a leg to stand on and was on the brink of defaulting. Now the club is one of the most active and followed clubs in the university, thanks to the dedication of my peers and I.
Which classmate do you most admire? Tinotenda Heri, Class of 2021.
Anyone who has interacted with Mr.Heri would refer to him as “Mr. President”. He is a well-spoken, career-driven and arguably the most hard-working individual I have ever come across. He is always focused on the long-term and is willing to sacrifice it all to achieve that success. I was lucky enough to undertake my first internship with him and move in together as roommates. We are also on course to both start our careers at the prestigious investment bank, Goldman Sachs.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? Selecting one individual is somewhat cruel and tough. Hence, I would like to thank my parents for my success. To have even had the opportunity to attain a business degree in the United States was amazing enough, let alone to support me and continually push me to be the best version of myself. My dad is an entrepreneur/marketer and my mom is a banker, so it is no-surprise I ended up loving business as much as I did. However, what inspired me most was their attitude and resilience in times of struggle, and I honestly can’t be more appreciative to anyone. Thank you dad and mom!
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
My top two items on my professional bucket list would be;
* To be promoted as a VP of the asset management division within five years of starting at Goldman Sachs and a Managing Director by year ten. The timely achievement of these is significant, due to the close relation it has to the second item on my professional bucket list.
* Start investment management company in Ghana, West Africa, with a primary focus on ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) investing. It is my responsibility to give back to my community and I believe the best way I can do that would be to combine my skillsets and promote a better society by starting a firm which invests in green initiatives.
What are your hobbies? In my free time, I aim to remain active, through involvement in soccer, basketball and running. I also enjoy catching up on news regarding the financial markets, because I believe the world revolves around it. On weekends, I spend time with my friends travelling, playing games and site-seeing. I also commit a significant portion of my time in church and its related activities.
What made Derrick such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?
“Derrick has always proven to be a conscientious, ambitious, and high achieving student who has made a hugely positive impression on me in my capacity both as a professor and dean. He is very active on campus and is respected, well-liked and admired by fellow students, staff, and professors.
A testament to his exemplary character and attitude is his recent job offer from Goldman Sachs and I am certain that this is just the beginning of a very successful professional career for him. Students never forget about the great professors who helped shaped them in their studies. It’s the same for us professors who never forget the great students we helped guide and Derrick certainly is a student I forever cherish having been part of his journey.”
Dr. Mo Willan
Dean of Undergraduate Program
DON’T MISS: 100 BEST & BRIGHTEST BUSINESS MAJORS OF 2022
Comments or questions about this article? Email us.