Spring 2023 Graduate Student Commencement Speaker Finds Joy in New Adventures

Olukoye (Koye) Sogunro will address his graduating class along with their friends and families this Saturday, May 13, at the Kogod School of Business’s Commencement Ceremony.

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Kogod School of Business MBA student Koye Sogunro.


MBA student Olukoye (Koye) Sogunro was named Kogod’s spring 2023 graduate commencement speaker after showing exemplary focus and providing coaching and feedback to his peers through his involvement with Kogod’s Center for Professionalism and Communications (ProComms Center). Senior director of the ProComms Center, Caron Martinez, shared a few kind words about Sogunro.

Koye has a smile and a presence that instantly puts our student clients at ease—but don’t be fooled. His approach to presentation feedback is 'tough love,' where he combines praise and high standards into a coaching package that motivates his peers to achieve excellence—and they do! Most recently, he helped prepare first-year MBAs for their global projects in Germany, and judging from the client feedback, these students embodied confidence and impact thanks to Koye!”

Caron Martinez

Caron Martinez

Senior Director, Center for Professionalism and Communications

Kogod: Congratulations on being chosen as the commencement speaker for Kogod’s spring 2023 graduate class. From what I’ve learned about you from professors and leadership at Kogod, you’ve really made the most of your time here! Can you tell me about some of the organizations you’ve been involved in and the special recognition you’ve received as a student at Kogod?

Olukoye (Koye) Sogunro: Thank you! It has been a rewarding experience thus far. As a first-year MBA candidate, I had the opportunity to become a Kogod student ambassador and peer consultant for Kogod’s Center for Professionalism and Communications. In each role, I had the pleasure of shaping prospective student’s perspectives on what is possible by attaining their MBA at the Kogod School of Business and following my passion for mentorship by preparing undergraduate and graduate students with the presentation and business writing skills needed to achieve at high levels in the modern work environment. It is always exciting to hear from current students that not only did they decide to take a risk and attend AU based on our conversation, but they’ve thoroughly enjoyed their experience at Kogod as much as I have.

That’s amazing! So, what was it exactly that solidified your choice to attend AU’s Kogod School of Business for your graduate education? Did it hold up to or exceed your expectations in setting you up for your future?

There are three main reasons…One, as an undergraduate transfer student, American University challenged me to produce my best work every semester. Without AU, I do not believe my early career would have been as valuable as it has been so far. Two, the idea of international experiential learning was all too enticing for me as much of my career and education has been within the US. Without a doubt, I can say that the opportunity to consult a Panamanian-based supply chain organization, traveling there to visit their campus and deliver insights to their executive leadership team exceeded my expectations. I would do it again if I could! And three, for some reason, DC cannot get rid of me, and I cannot get rid of my love for the district either!

DC can’t seem to get rid of me either! Does this mean you will remain in the district post-graduation? What is next for you?

I am taking the summer to visit friends and family and travel as much as possible. I am especially excited about my trip to Nigeria this August. As for my career plans, I have tried to contain my excitement since accepting my full-time offer back in October, but I am still thrilled to rejoin E. and J. Gallo Winery in California as a Senior Supply Chain Strategy Analyst, where I hope to continue my work from last summer on new product development (stay tuned). Sadly, I will be leaving DC, but I will be back to visit soon enough!

Since you’ll be heading out to explore more of the world soon, let’s reminisce about your time at Kogod. What are some standout moments from your graduate education? 

As I mentioned earlier, the global consulting project that led me to Panama was the highlight of my business school experience so far. I’d also like to shout out my 2023 MBA class and the professors that taught us along the way. There are some very talented people in Kogod, and I attribute my success and lessons learned to them.

Since you’ve had experience chatting with prospective students, many of whom decided to attend Kogod, what advice would you give prospective students choosing between AU’s Kogod and another university? 

When you graduate, ask yourself what you want to do—follow your passion! Identify the university you believe will get you there and reach out to recent graduates to understand their journey and how they landed in the career they currently find themselves in post-grad school. You will learn a lot about yourself as you reflect, will be able to fine-tune your selection of schools, and will create a valuable network of peers to reach out to in the future if you play your cards right.

To my graduating peers, your journey does not begin or end here. This chapter is simply closing, but the next one will be written after May 13.

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Olukoye Sogunro

MBA Student, Kogod School of Business

Without any spoilers on your speech for this weekend’s commencement ceremony, what wisdom do you wish to impart to your fellow graduating peers? 

Use your newfound knowledge to secure your dreams and help others attain theirs. You were a changemaker yesterday, you are one today, and you will forever be one tomorrow.

Well said. I know you have plenty to prepare for between now and May 13. Before we wrap up, is there anything else you would like to add?

It takes a village to succeed, so I want to thank all those from my time as a career preparation fellow in Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) to my leaders and peers at Vanguard, and my family for shaping my story up to this point. Also, a special shout-out to the associate director of career and professional development at Kogod’s Office of Career Engagement, Kecia Hansard, who remains dedicated to ensuring all students achieve their career goals. Without her help, I would not be moving on to work for a great company like E. and J. Gallo Winery.