Programme: Weekend MBA 2019
Nationality: UK, British
Undergraduate education: Law LL.B. (Hons), Kingston University & LL.M. International Finance, King’s College London
Job prior to Imperial College Business School: Accenture Strategy & RSM Corporate Finance LLP
Job after studying at Imperial College Business School: Private Equity Investor, MBU Capital
Studying Weekend MBA
Why did you choose to study your programme and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?
The three main reasons why I chose to study at Imperial College Business School were:
1. During my short time in the City, I quickly learned that the best investors had a holistic grounding in business. Imperial offered the platform to truly extend my knowledge base through my interactions with the best lecturers and the programme was structured to ensure that fundamental business skills were in place, while providing the opportunity to experiment with electives.
2. I wanted to build a network which was sector agnostic. My cohort had vast experience across multiple sectors and geographies which was useful for cross-pollination of ideas and experience sharing. This was enhanced by the Business School’s ongoing symbiotic relationship with the University’s STEM subjects which brought together innovators and business-minded individuals.
3. The programme was structured in a way that was highly conducive to fulfilling my demanding work obligations as a strategy consultant. The weekend classes were convenient to attend and significantly the teaching was directly relevant to the work I was actively undertaking.
What was the most important learning point you took with you from the Business School?
The most important thing/learning point that I took with me was the ability to think more broadly and not lose sight of the bigger picture. The frameworks I have learned have since changed my approach to problem solving and assessing the commercial viability of respective investments. These learnings were especially pronounced during case studies, which effectively acted as an arena for formulating hypothesis and testing them against real life experiences.
What was the most surprising thing about the programme?
The most surprising thing about the programme for me was the willingness of my peers to impart knowledge outside the classroom. This was a recurring theme throughout the programme and it all started when one cohort member who specialised in decision analytics kindly condensed his class notes for a particular module and circulated it across the MBA class.
I considered this to be a massive gesture of goodwill and it influenced my attitude moving forward, making me spontaneous with sharing materials, experiences, and contacts. The willingness to co-operate and share somehow complemented the competitive environment producing a healthy balance which ultimately was beneficial to all.
Career & professional development
How was your career transformed following your programme?
The programme has significantly contributed to my career success. I was able to transition from my role in strategy consulting to corporate finance during the programme and thereafter move directly into a private equity fund. The programme enhanced my technical capabilities while simultaneously inspiring confidence in a deal-driven environment.
How do you plan to use the skills and knowledge you gained during the programme within your career going forward?
The skills and knowledge I gained during the programme will be used in end to end VC/private equity transactions. The skills include LP fundraising, deal origination, market research, deal structuring, financial modelling, financial due diligence and commercial due diligence through to execution. The various skills are fundamental building blocks for a career in private equity, inspiring confidence to lead transactions and engage in negotiations.
What do you enjoy most about your current work and what are the main challenges that you face?
I enjoy the variety of my work. I am involved in various activities across multiple investment initiatives (technology, education and healthcare) and so far have travelled to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Nigeria.
The fund’s philosophy is entrenched in social impact investing. The investments made at the most basic level will improve technology, education and healthcare especially in parts of the world that are underdeveloped.
Like any PE fund, there is the challenge of achieving prescribed hurdle rates for investors, enhancing carry and ensuring minimal dry powder without compromising the quality of investment.
The alumni network
In what way is remaining connected to your alumni network important to you?
Remaining connected to my alumni network has proven to be important both professionally and personally. At a professional level, working in private equity means it’s helpful to have a strong bank of knowledge to leverage as and when the necessity arises. In the acquisition of a Nigerian university I worked on, I was able to speak to a cohort member working in Digital Innovation at First Bank Nigeria. I was able to discuss the competitive landscape and education trends which otherwise would have been difficult to ascertain by conducting desktop research back in London.
In a personal context, I have made some very good friends and useful contacts, who I have also been able to support.
Have you volunteered at the Business School since you graduated? Why do you feel it’s important to volunteer your time and experience?
I recently appeared as a panellist at an MBA induction class. In particular I answered questions about the programme structure, best ways of working and how to optimise the experience at Imperial College Business School.
I believe it’s important to volunteer time and experience because ultimately, it is important to give back something to the community. My position as a member of the board of trustees at the Mama Youth Project Charity enables me to help young adults from the BAME community upskill themselves and realise their potential. Conversely, my role as a Non-Executive Director at Sandstone Recruitment provides the opportunity to operate in an advisory capacity, applying my legal, strategic, financial lens in a commercial environment.
Advice for future students
What advice would you give to a prospective student considering studying the same programme as you?
Spend time focusing, identifying and understanding what you are aspiring to achieve through the MBA. Ultimately, all my decisions were career-led which influenced the amount of time I spent improving perceived weaknesses or strengths, the electives I selected and the extracurricular activities I engaged in.
Be aware that combining full-time work with study can be onerous and requires careful planning of time. The demands of work, class assignments and examinations call for dedication and perseverance.