Loic Fokou aspires to enroll at Columbia Business School. In the meantime, he decided to bridge the gap between his undergraduate business administration studies at Northeastern University and applying to an M.B.A. program by signing up for the summer Business Edge intensive. Driven to excel, Fokou is using his summer to network with professors and his cohort while extending his business knowledge. We spoke with him about his favorite aspects of Business Edge, the professors whom he has met, and what psychology has to do with business.

Why did you apply to Business Edge?

I graduated from Northeastern University almost a year ago. I recently moved to New York almost a year ago for work. I intern on Wall Street. I told myself that I wanted to get my M.B.A. eventually, but I thought, "Why not sooner rather than later?"

So I was looking into different programs, and obviously Columbia University has a very good reputation. Because I live so close to campus, I figured I would check out the different programs at Columbia first.

I stumbled upon Business Edge quite randomly. I was looking for something during the summer, and the Business Edge program was the right fit. Not only because I have a business background, but I also wanted to fine-tune certain skills that I might not have had the chance to develop as much as I wanted during undergrad.

I applied, and the rest is history. I wanted to network here as much as I can.

So you wanted to take Business Edge ultimately to apply for an M.B.A.?

Yes. There are plenty of other summer programs I could have applied to, but the reason I applied to Business Edge was because of the networking; many of the Business Edge teachers are also professors at Columbia Business School. Plus, it's a good preview of the experience that I'll have once I get into the M.B.A. program.

You said you have a business background. Did you major in business as an undergrad?

Yes, business administration was my major, specifically management and entrepreneurship. There was a little bit of finance thrown in there, but my minor was in psychology as well. At first, I wanted to minor in law, but somehow my priorities changed. I realized that psychology has a lot to do with business – not only understanding how your employees think but how to motivate them and how to approach customers. I liked that more than law. That's why I changed gears.

What have been the highlights of the Business Edge program so far?

One of the first people whom we met was Prof. Bob Kulhan, President & CEO of Business Improvisations. He organized an icebreaker, and I never thought that the CEO of a company could be that amicable. Afterwards, I talked to him a lot more, and he basically told me that CEOs are like any other guy or girl: As long as you are interested in what they do, you can connect with them.

Another highlight is the quality of the professors. One of my current professors – Prof. Amir Ziv – he's a vice dean of Columbia Business School, he has a Ph.D. from Stanford. Everything on his résumé is top notch. He's the type of person I aspire to be.

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