Executive MBA Graduate Realizes 'Full Leadership Potential'
Fatoumata Gakou had a full plate professionally as manager of Banque de l'Habitat du Mali’s (Malian Bank of Habitat) New York City branch. Taking into account her minimal spare time, when she decided to pursue an MBA she searched for programs that not only offered a comprehensive education in advanced management, but a course schedule she could tailor to her own calendar. The Executive MBA (EMBA) program at NJIT’s Martin Tuchman School of Management fit the bill.
“The content of the program and class flexibility put NJIT at the top of the schools I considered for my EMBA,” said Gakou.
Since earning her degree in 2009, Gakou has put her EMBA experience to good use: “The program has helped me develop new frameworks for critically assessing and solving problems.”
A few months after graduating from NJIT, she joined Bank of Africa (BOA) headquarters in Bamako; Group BOA has banking affiliates in 17 countries, primarily Africa. In 2012, the headquarters moved from Bamako to Dakar and then, in 2013, participated in the launch of BOA Lome in Togo, where today Gakou serves as both chief financial officer (CFO) and chief risk officer (CRO).
In her role as BOA Lome’s CFO, Gakou is responsible for strategic planning, financial reporting and controls, and regulatory compliance. She also partners with other domains in the bank, including human resources and legal.
“I partner with the CEO [Chief Executive Officer] of the bank to define long-term vision, medium-term plans and short-term budgets, and track the overall direction the bank is pursuing,” she explained. “And I formulate and tactically execute the bank’s financial strategy, policies and procedures.”
As CRO, she compiles, assesses and reports risk information to the CEO and the board, and ensures that bank activities comply with relevant legislation and regulation. “I develop, manage and refine qualitative and quantitative risk reporting, which meets the needs of the board, in order to support effective decision-making,” Gakou added.
“My NJIT EMBA degree has strengthened my managerial skills and helped with the realization of my full leadership potential,” said Gakou, whose fondest memory of the program is the study abroad trip to Vienna and Prague. “It has helped broaden my global network and reach.”
The Martin Tuchman School of Management’s Executive MBA Program is designed to provide both STEM and traditional management professionals with a “bridge to leadership.” The 16-month accelerated program is AACSB-accredited, available fully online and begins with an introductory session at the United Nations’ headquarters in Manhattan. It features a three-module curriculum with global awareness and relevance at its core, five immersion/integration “boot camps” and a nine-day international study tour. The program’s success is marked by alumni’s employment with a variety of prestigious companies.