Tolulope Komolafe, a native of Newark, Del., is pursuing her MSc finance degree and is expected to graduate in May 2024. Tolulope shared why she chose Lerner for her grad work and how she is able to balance her career with her studies.
Lerner: Why did you go back to pursue your graduate degree? Why did you choose the Lerner College for your studies?
Komolafe: I decided to go back and pursue my graduate degree because I wanted to deepen my knowledge in my field and enhance my career opportunities. After careful research, I chose the Lerner College for its reputable faculty, strong curriculum, commitment to innovation, supportive learning environment and emphasis on practical experience through internships.
Lerner: What did you learn through this opportunity that you wouldn’t have learned anywhere else?
Komolafe: I learned how to adapt to new culture and a new way of doing things, and time management. I also learned that mental health matters, so it’s important to take care of oneself while chasing one’s goals.
Lerner: Please share an example of a course or concept that you were able to apply directly to your life and/or career.
Komolafe: Investment analysis and portfolio management.
Informed Investment Decisions: Understanding these concepts help me to make more informed decisions when investing my personal savings or managing investments for others. I am able to assess risks, evaluate potential returns, and choose investments that align with my financial goals.
Risk Management: These concepts provide tools to analyze and manage risk, which is essential for both personal finances and business endeavors. Understanding how to diversify and manage a portfolio help me to know how to protect my investments from market fluctuations.
Lerner: Describe an important connection you have made through your graduate program (personal, professional, peers, mentors, professors, etc.)
Komolafe: Dr. Terry Campbell has been helpful from the beginning of my program; he makes himself available and accessible to not just me alone but to every other person. I can easily walk up to him for academic advice and career decisions. For example, there was a time he helped me with selecting my course choices to help me align with my career path.
Lerner: If you were to describe your classmates in one word, what would that be and why?
Komolafe: Diverse. My classmates come from various backgrounds, cultures, and experiences, creating a rich and dynamic learning environment. This diversity fosters unique perspectives and enriches our discussions, enabling us to learn from one another and broaden our horizons.
Lerner: How do you balance your career with your studies?
Komolafe: Time management and prioritization – I create a structured schedule that allocates dedicated time for both work and study.
Also because of the limited time I mostly have, I learned to prioritize my time and resources to ensure maximum returns.
Course selection – I select courses that push me along the career path I’ve chosen, this has helped me switch seamlessly between both as I’m able to apply the knowledge from my courses to my career.
Organization – I leverage tools like task lists and calendar reminders to stay organized and track progress in both areas.
Lerner: Fill in this sentence: “My graduate program helped me become…”
Komolafe: A better all-around human, more culturally aware, with more developed skills – soft and professional skills including but not limited to, critical thinking, problem solving etc.
Lerner: What was the most impactful hands-on project or case competition that you were able to participate in?
Komolafe: I personally worked on a project where I analyzed a real-world business scenario and proposed innovative strategies to reduce environmental impact while maintaining profitability. This sharpened my analytical skills; it also deepened my understanding in business management and sustainability which continues to influence my approach to problem-solving in my career.
Lerner: What are your plans or next steps for the future?
Komolafe: I won’t say I have the future all figured out but one thing I do know is that I want to get a job after school, so I’m currently applying for jobs. I believe securing a job will set the tone for every other plan.