MBA Applicant Voice: Fashion Entrepreneur Seeks Global Exposure
Fashion start-up founder Oladapo Ajayi hopes to join a business school in Europe that will support his entrepreneurial spirit.
Oladapo Ajayi had always dreamt of starting his own business. So he co-founded Orange Culture, a fashion start-up based in Africa, at a young age.
But after establishing the business he felt the need to pursue his other interests, and started working with a boutique asset management firm as a financial analyst.
He hopes to pursue an MBA – which he describes as an “elite course” – to seize business opportunities and raise investment capital for his ideas.
Oladapo wants to find a business school that will nurture his entrepreneurial spirit, help build a wide network, and allow him to pursue his passions.
How has your career progressed since graduating from the University of Lagos?
While in school, I co-founded a fashion business – Orange Culture. It had been my dream since I was 15 to start a company that would gain international notoriety.
While I have had loads of fun, I decided to take a non-executive role and pursue other interests, [and] learn as much as possible about the world, and work in interesting places.
I decided to take up a role as a financial analyst at Cowry Asset Management, a boutique investment bank.
Why pursue an MBA at this stage in your career?
I love knowledge and I am a voracious reader. I would love to develop my capacity for future growth opportunities.
An MBA program is more or less an elite course for business minded people. It confers life skills that allow me to seize opportunities and also seek investment or approval for my ideas.
People also tend to respond to you if you have got an MBA degree. Just the options, networks and access it confers [are attractive].
What do you hope to gain from an MBA?
International exposure; a cutting edge curriculum; career strategy; and the capacity to engage complex problems.
How will you fund your MBA?
My family is helping to foot the bill, and I hoping to get loans and scholarships as well.
Which business schools are you planning to apply to, and how did you select them?
I am planning to apply to IE [Business School], London Business School, Rotterdam School of Management and SDA Bocconi.
IE has a fantastically designed program, [and] many options, with a lot of respect for time. I love the way entrepreneurship is woven into the fabric of the entire program, rather than as an option or elective. Also the dual degree options and exchange program [is attractive]. I have also taken a Mooc from this school and its delivery was awesome.
London Business School is a competitive and also very flexible program, especially if you are looking to work in London. It actually focuses a lot on practice and fitting the course of study to strengthen your technical capacity.
Rotterdam School of Management [was] a recommendation of a friend of mine. I had not heard about it until then. The dual degree option [MBA/MFM Masters in Financial Management] is reasonably priced.
SDA Bocconi is in the magical city of Milan. It has got a focused program with entrepreneurship, and also a very strong background in finance. The luxury brand management track sounds like something I would love to be part of.
What has been the hardest part of the application processes?
The biggest challenge is farming out time to study. There is just so much to do.
You have taken the ieGAT (an exclusive admissions test for IE Business School), and are planning to take the GMAT. How did you, and do you, plan to prepare?
Preparing for [the] ieGAT is not a conscious thing per say. It tries to measure your mental capacity, so you are preparing every day.
For the GMAT I am getting a study partner, so [that] we can prepare and keep each other focused.
What are you most looking forward to, and what’s that one thing that makes you nervous?
Meeting new people is what I most look forward to. Nervous? Well I thrive in these scenarios, so I would say I am not nervous.
What advice do you have for others who are considering an MBA?
Choose a set of schools that have a program design that resonates with you. Its good if the school has an excellent reputation, [but] don’t be a fish out of water.