We are excited to welcome the Oxford MBA Class of 2021-22 to Oxford this September. Get to know our incoming students in this blog post series as they prepare to join Saïd Business School.
Tell us about yourself:
- Sector/Industry you worked in pre-MBA: Finance
- Sector/Industry you are hoping to work in post-MBA: Technology/consulting/social impact
- Country of residence before coming to Oxford: Nigeria
- College: Linacre
In one word, how would your best friend describe you and how would your manager describe you?
- Best friend: Honest
- Manager: Ambitious
Tell us about where you have come from and what has led you to Oxford and, more specifically, the Oxford MBA
Growing up as a child, my parents set high expectations for me as their first because they believed my siblings would take after me and that became my reality. I always aimed higher than my peers. When I didn’t measure up by my standards, I realised in hindsight that I would’ve still achieved something remarkable. This wasn’t different in deciding to study at Oxford. I wanted to set a good example for my siblings and prove to them that, whatever they put their minds to, they could achieve.
Having spent the past eight years in the banking sector of Nigeria, I discovered that I was drawn to youth capacity development activities through volunteering and an innate capacity to offer career advice and mentorship to young professionals. Inspired by my personal experience with unemployment, I co-founded a career accelerator initiative that connects youths from disadvantaged communities to their dream jobs through skills development. However, it didn’t seem like something I could make a career out of and so I sought the skills that could transition me to a career in social impact by leveraging technology.
I chose the Oxford MBA programme because of its focus on developing the talent that will accelerate Africa’s economic development and its resolve to promote African representation within the programme. While its world-class reputation and rich history were notable considerations, I longed to belong to its elite alumni association and connect to its vast professional network across the globe, something I’m certain my siblings would be proud of.
What have you done to prepare yourself for the MBA?
I have waited for this opportunity for a long time, so I feel ready to immerse myself in the experience, having understood the pros and cons of it all. Getting married to the love of my life is one step I’ve taken to prepare for this experience because, as a family man, I believe that the stability of the home front is crucial to outward success.
I am taking time to streamline my goals for the programme so I can avoid distractions. From my engagement with past students, I understand that it is easy to be pulled in different directions because the programme offers so many opportunities that can become distractions from one’s ultimate goal.
Finally, I’m spending time with my family as much as I can because I will be away from them for a while. Therefore, I cherish every opportunity we get to spend together while praying as a family for a successful time during the programme.
What do you hope to gain from completing your MBA?
The MBA offers a plethora of opportunities and I hope to leverage every one of them that aligns with my career goals. I hope to build lifelong friendships, explore life in the UK and have a great time.
I hope to represent my country, Nigeria, as much as I can through things I’m passionate about, such as food, fashion, and music. Hopefully, this will allow my cohort to fall in love with this country that’s arguably home to some of the most creative, beautiful and hardworking people on the planet.
Ultimately, I hope to discover innovative ways to drive the career acceleration of African youths from disadvantaged backgrounds and create opportunities for them in collaboration with stakeholders focused on job-creating industries in Africa.
What is the best advice you received before commencing your MBA?
The best advice was to spend quality time with family as much as possible before the programme commences. While it sounds scary, I think it speaks to the rigour of the programme, which isn’t strange to me since I am a skilled multi-tasker. However, every moment I spend with my family is greatly cherished because I strive for success because of them.
Do you have any advice about the Oxford MBA application process for candidates thinking of applying?
My first advice would be to start early and seek help from people who have walked in the shoes you’re about to walk in. Mentorship is a hack for success during the application process, and every candidate should seek it.
Secondly, you don’t need to have figured out your career path entirely before applying to the programme. However, your applications should speak convincingly about where you hope to arrive at and what you have been doing to get there. Ensure that your essays address a unique problem and demonstrate your understanding of that problem and the realistic ways you are fixing it with the resources at your disposal. It helps if you have had a personal experience dealing with this problem as it serves as motivation for why you seek to solve it.
The Oxford MBA programme is for professionals who are running but seek to fly so, if you’re not on that journey, then the MBA might not be a good fit for you.
Lastly, be relatable. Your experiences might be unique to you but they are not entirely unheard of. So, be honest and don’t forget to ‘toot your horn’ where necessary because you’re special and the world deserves to know it.
Best of luck!
What part of the programme are you most looking forward to?
The part I am most excited about is connecting with my cohort from more than 60 countries globally. I am thrilled by the opportunities that this experience presents and the learnings I will get from them. I am convinced that my life will never remain the same, and I am very fortunate about that.
What do you think will be the most challenging part of the programme?
Being away from my family and friends. I will miss the food, events, parties, weddings, church services and the craziness of living in Lagos (not so much lol). But I am comforted by the thought of meeting new people and exploring new cultures.
How do you plan to take the learnings from the MBA to influence positive change?
My career interests are underscored by years of leadership experience ideating and executing social impact initiatives for the private sector and civil society organisations. As a social entrepreneur, that is focused on supporting the next generation of African leaders.
So, I hope to strengthen my leadership skills so I can better amplify the voices of impact leaders, leading the charge to deepen access to quality education and the creation of decent jobs across underserved communities in Nigeria.
I plan to build long-lasting and meaningful networks and connect with action-oriented professionals within and outside the MBA community who share similar interests in the development of Africa.
Are there any sports teams, societies or clubs you’re hoping to become a member of?
There is so much to explore here at Oxford and, that is a fascinating thing, so I’d take my time to decide on the ones I would eventually get involved in. I picked up cycling earlier this year. So, I would be looking to explore that sport. However, rest assured that I plan to take full advantage of every opportunity this school has to offer.