Ashley Mackel

Ashley Mackel
Full-Time MBA
Hometown or Country
Shaker Heights, Ohio, United States
Previous Education
BA in Comparative Women’s Studies with minors in Public Health and Sociology, Spelman College, 2008
Previous Work Experience
I worked for Ogilvy & Mather in New York developing marketing strategy for clients and charting brand development for the marketing and content of the agency
Post-CBS Goals
Working in a brand management role for a global company
CBS Activities
VP Conference, Retail & Luxury Goods Club; VP Partnerships, Marketing Association of Columbia; board member, CBS Reflects; member of Black Business Students Association, Columbia Women in Business, General Management Association, Gourmet Club, Hermes Society, Innovation + Creativity in Business Society 
Favorite NYC Activities
Trying new restaurants with friends throughout the city, reading on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and walking the distance of Central Park to head to Midtown.


Why did you choose to pursue an MBA?

I spent seven years working in a New York advertising and marketing agency. I fell in love with the field, and by the end of my time there, I was working directly with the chief marketing officer around marketing strategy for the agency. On one of my work teams, I was surrounded by a team of MBAs, and in working with them, I realized I wanted to be able to think and ask questions like they did. I talked to them about the impact of their degrees and decided that I wanted the same for myself.


What attracted you to Columbia Business School?

After I decided that I wanted to get an MBA, I set my sights on identifying schools that focused on retail and luxury goods. I wanted to combine my professional experience in marketing and strategy with a new focus on the brand side. As a prospective student, I attended Columbia Business School’s Retail and Luxury Goods conference, and I was blown away by how professional it was. Also, I recall walking out of the School’s library thinking, “I have to be here. This is the place for me, and this is the type of work I want to learn how to do.”


What has surprised you the most?

The most pleasant surprise is the strength of the community. The community welcomes you with wide-open arms, if you choose to participate in it. Students live throughout the City, but that doesn't mean there isn't a fabric of community here for those who want to participate in and contribute to it.


How are you using electives to complement the core curriculum?

Although I worked in advertising and marketing before business school, I didn’t study it as an undergrad. A lot of the elective courses I’m taking now are focused on marketing, branding, and strategy. I love these areas, and it’s good to encounter them in the classroom, where I can tie the learnings to my professional experience.


What’s it like to be a student in New York City?

The power of Columbia, married with our location in New York City, gives those of us interested in retail and luxury goods a huge amount of access. We have alumni across those industries. There are also innovative startups focused on retail that are only a subway ride away. I’m using this access to plan our next Retail and Luxury Goods conference. It really energizes me.


Fall 2015 Cross-Registration Dates

  • A-term, B-term, and Full-term electives: 10:00 am on Thursday August 20th until 4:00 pm Tuesday September 8th.
  • B-Term electives: 10:00 am Wednesday October 21st until 4:00pm Wednesday October 28th.