Programme: Weekend MBA
Education: Bachelor’s of Law, Nigerian Law School. LLM in International Taxation, NYU
Role: US Tax Consultant
Career history: from Nigeria to New York
Prior to Imperial, I made a career transition as a litigator in my home country to a US tax advisor. In 2015, I started a graduate programme in International Taxation at New York University and became a qualified New York Tax Attorney in 2017. In New York I worked with a Fortune 500 company as a Tax Advisor. My company invested a lot in innovation. During that period, I worked with our agencies to ensure we claimed qualifying research and development credits which positively impacted our profitability.
We had a $2.3 billion acquisition in 2018 and I was proud to be involved in the post-acquisition planning and integration for one of the European operations of the acquired business. In 2019 I joined the UK subsidiary of my parent company, which is now my current role. I look after our European operations to ensure we stay compliant with European directives targeted at multinational corporations and how they generate value in their jurisdictions. I also ensure that as part of a US tax group we structure our transactions in a way that benefits our parent company.
Choosing the Weekend MBA at Imperial
Personal development is a key focus area for me. Once I moved to London for work, I was very interested in understanding the business ecosystem here and building a network. I chose Imperial because of the calibre of students I knew it attracted, the brand, the flexibility of the Weekend MBA programme, and its innovative module offerings designed to address in-demand skills in our fast-changing professional world. In my line of work, I review financial statements a lot. So far, the programme has helped me improve my understanding of the financial positions of the companies I deal with and how I should be relating with finance managers.
For me, the most unique part of the Weekend MBA is the flexibility. During my MBA search within the London area, I didn’t find a business school that gave enough flexibility to work while studying the programme. It was important for me to continue working during and Imperial’s Weekend MBA programme was designed to fit this need.
Overcoming the challenge of working and studying
Initially starting the programme at the beginning of the lockdown was a challenge. The challenge came from balancing work mode with school mode in my little office at home. However, I am getting on track with my routine and how to allocate my time between work and school. I find that waking up very early to study before work has helped. Also, I formed a reading group with a few other students in my cohort, and it helped a lot during Block 1 of the programme. One thing I found necessary was designing a schedule that clearly defined the time I should spend on work, school, and my personal life. I can’t say I stick with that schedule 100%. However, it’s a way of helping me remain accountable.
Financial and Management with Accounting taught by Michael Wells has been one of my favourite modules because of the close relation between the content and my current personal and career interests. His lectures provided a detailed view of financial analysis necessary for day-to-day strategic decision making. I also love Corporate Finance with Professor James Sefton because it is helping me to understand the technical analysis that goes into decision making when finance managers decide on allocating capital to different projects. I also appreciate the technical skills I am acquiring in analysing the stock market.
My philosophy in life is that anything is possible with willpower and deliberate actions towards achieving a goal. I found the Weekend MBA programme invaluable during the lockdown because it provided a meaningful way to build myself outside of work. I also appreciate the new connections I have made within and outside my cohort, which wouldn’t have been possible without the Weekend MBA programme.
Building a network in London
I work in London. So the location of Imperial was a very important part of my decision. When I realised I would be here longer than I previously imagined, I thought it was important to build a network of likeminded persons in the city.
The Weekend MBA cohort
One thing I noticed about my cohort is the diversity of their backgrounds. A good number of the cohort have backgrounds in engineering, IT and consulting and this reflects in the quality of class participation, how students contribute in class and their perspectives in resolving problems when we work in teams.
In my syndicate group, before starting our projects we focused first on understanding our personalities. We went as far as matching our personality types to understand our approach to getting tasks done. This first step helped us a lot in various group projects. When we notice someone is better at writing, research or analysing, we take advantage of that strength within the group in completing any project.
Student leadership roles at the Business School
I am the Co-Chair for the Weekend MBA for the Student-Staff Committee and a member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council. Having the opportunity to act as a bridge between my cohort and the programme has been a rewarding aspect of my Imperial experience.
In the group there are people with different personality types, and I have learnt to be less assuming because we all come from different backgrounds and thus have different ways of interpreting situations. As a person who is focused on leadership in the business world, the role has helped me appreciate the importance of listening to the voice and perspective of others even when they contradict mine. Within my group there are instances where I changed my view on a subject because I realised that my classmates offered a better view, and that this is okay.
Sharing experiences of being a woman and an African MBA student
I am excited to be part of a strong network of MBA women who are focused on personal development. Occasionally, members share opportunities and it means a lot having this network of likeminded women who are open to helping each other grow professionally. I am also part of the Africa Business Club with students from different programmes within the Business School. At the start of the programme I found this network very useful knowing that I have a place to go when I have questions unique to my experiences as an African MBA student.
I hope to become a CEO of a valuable brand or to manage a VC fund someday and be instrumental in bringing innovative ideas to life. For now, I am focused on building my knowledge and expertise in the Financial Services industry. The Weekend MBA programme has a lot of innovative module offerings which are relevant for my personal and career goals. Modules like Data Analytics and Marketing Management have helped me build technical skills on interpreting data about a specific subject. Also, Corporate Finance and Financial and Management Accounting have helped me improve my financial skills. I am looking forward to taking elective offerings like Banking and Fintech and Venture Capital Finance next year.
Advice to prospective Weekend MBA students
It’s important to have a clear vision of what you want for your career or personal development. An MBA is an expensive investment and not one you just do for the sake of having the degree. If you think in terms of return of investment, once you have a vision in mind, you can easily measure how much value the programme brings in helping you achieve it.