C-Suite in the City: Aicha Ly’s Co-op at Urban Inc.

When Aicha Ly moved here from Rhode Island to pursue her MBA full time at Drexel LeBow, she immediately had her eye on the prize: a C-Suite Co-op.

She studied hard and gave the program everything she had. And it paid off when she was offered a strategy co-op at Urban Inc. (owner of brands Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Free People among others).

“Urban is awesome. I love how focused they are on their customers. People don’t just go for the clothes; they go there for the atmosphere, the experience, the acceptance, the freedom to dress how they want.”

Her co-op required her to do lots of research into different products and geographical markets, and create presentations for top-level management, including CEO Richard Hayne.

She says she loved the culture at Urban for several reasons, including the feedback she got during her presentations. “We would sit family style around a table, and the presentations were inclusive in nature, which is representative of the entire company. Questions are always encouraged. I was considered fully a member of that team.”

Ly says the single greatest thing about Urban Inc. is that management really works with employees to help them find their niche. “They seek to develop and nurture your strengths and interests. I met several people who were transitioned from one area to another, where they were a better fit.”

Highlights of her co-op included traveling to places such as Chicago for a conference and New York City for research, giving her a chance to see more of the U.S. Ly was born and raised in Senegal (West Africa) before emigrating to Rhode Island, where she attended Rhode Island College for her undergraduate degree.

She singles out Benjamin Lev’s statistics class as being especially helpful in preparing her for this co-op. “Dr. Lev’s statistics class was grueling, but I loved it. It was probably the most challenging class I’ve ever taken in my life, and I learned so much. It was especially helpful in terms of learning how to think conceptually and tackle a problem analytically.”

Ly is currently finishing up her last quarter as an MBA student at Drexel, and taking the full-time MBA capstone course, strategic management, where students examine case studies on strategy. “Now, after my C-Suite Co-op, I have quite a bit to bring to the table.”

She hopes to return to Urban Inc. after graduation, where, she says, “They’re just as cool as their brands are.”