Chinedu Okeke
Chief Operating Officer, Azura Power

Why did you choose to study the Full time MBA and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?

I was keen to undertake a one year programme, hence my decision to stay in Europe rather than studying in the USA. Deciding on Imperial College Business School was quite easy after that as I wanted a business school that would help me transition from my purely engineering background to a more general management position. I subsequently chose Imperial knowing that its reputation as a top Engineering university attracts like-minded students, thus helping me to achieve my goal.

What is your fondest memory from your time at the Business School? / What do you miss most from your days at the Business School?

The networks. Even though we came from different parts of the world and had diverse cultural backgrounds, we all came together and bonded so well that the year passed very quickly – far too quickly in fact! We still do our best to keep in contact, mainly through social networks as the international nature of the class means that we are all scattered in different parts of the world.

How has the Business School helped develop your career?

I would say that I achieved 100% of what I set out for when I came to the Business School. I managed to transition from a purely engineering role to a more business management role. On the completion of my MBA, I took up a role as a Strategy and Development manager which helped me apply all that I learnt in a more strategic role rather than the operational one that I was used to. The rest is history as I have moved on from there to now be a business leader for a major global organisation.

What do you enjoy most about your work and what are the main challenges that you face?

The part of my work I enjoy the most is knowing that I am helping my customers, in this case governments and utilities, solve their infrastructural problems. I get a real sense of joy when a part of a country that until now didn’t have electricity suddenly gets connected, and I know that I played a part in it. Another thing is the travel. I hardly spend a two week period in any one country. Being exposed to different cultures has enriched me greatly.

Building power plants is capital intensive and the financial crises of recent years haven’t helped at all, especially when one considers governments and utilities in Africa that are my customers. The main challenge I therefore face is how to creatively structure projects to ensure financial closure.

How do you stay connected with others from your Business School alumni network?

I follow up with the large range of events that are organised at the Business School and I participate where possible. I also recently joined the Alumni Advisory Board which has brought me closer not just to fellow alumni, but also to the Business School itself.

I also regularly use Facebook and LinkedIn.

Which book/website would you recommend alumni read/visit and why?

I would recommend two books: Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne and The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid by C. K. Prahalad. These might initially seem interesting only to those that work in developing countries but they are indeed really relevant to every entrepreneur out there.

Role
Full-Time MBA 2003
Nationality
Nigeria
Undergraduate :

Electronics Engineering, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Employment prior to studying at the Business School :

Field Services Manager – Vietnam, Schlumberger

Employment after studying at the Business School :

West Africa Region Manager, GE Energy