Meet IE Business School’s Class of 2016


Kolawole Adeniyi

IE Business School

Hometown: Ila-Orangun, Osun State (Nigeria)

Undergraduate School and Major: Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Bachelor of Pharmacy.

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: Medical Representative at Boehringer Ingelheim and Roche Products Limited; Regional Sales Lead at Servier Pharmaceuticals.

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? Whilst there are several approaches to test taking, a common denominator to achieving high GRE/GMAT scores is the true understanding of one’s self. As a GMAT/GRE test taker, you need to have a good grasp of your strengths, weaknesses, and your best reading time. First rule of the thumb is to maximize your best reading time, markedly improve areas of weakness while consolidating on areas of strength.

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply? First things first: A prospective MBA applicant needs to take a moment to self-reflect. You need to understand what you really want out of business school, your preferred post MBA job location and functionality, the companies you would like to work with, and how much time you can afford to take off work. The real work starts after this moment of self-reflection. The more time you spend understanding yourself and what you desire in a business school, the easier the next step of making a final choice will be.

Prospective career switchers might want to focus on programs that give ample time for an internship during the program.

In the meantime, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have specific areas of self-development? Then find schools that allow you to customize your program might be a better fit.
  • How long can you afford to stay away from work and family? Would an intensive one-year program or a two-year program work best?
  • Where will you like to work Post MBA, Europe, Asia or the US? A business school in your preferred post MBA location might suit you better.
  • Do your companies of interest preferably recruit from certain schools? You might want to narrow your search to these schools.

After careful consideration of all these, it’s time to become a networking ninja. Talk to alumni and current students of the schools on your list via LinkedIn, local alumni events, local information sessions, and virtual sessions. Clarify questions that might have arisen from your hours of research, do a final working list, and start applying!

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? Now that you have decided on your school(s) of choice; you have one shot. Make it a good one!

Have your MBA Application resume ready and critiqued by trusted professional colleagues and some of these new connections (alumni or current student) you have made. You will be glad you did.

Dedicate ample time to writing your essays. If your research in drawing up a list of target schools was paintaking, this will reflect in your essays. Your passion for your school of choice will show through and the admission committee will see this and love you as a candidate.

It is important to inform your would-be recommenders of your MBA plans. This sounds clichéd, but a weak recommendation letter can truly turn a great application into an okay application. Your recommenders should be those who know you professionally and can specifically highlight qualifications and experiences that are unique to you; big titles do not a great recommendation letter make!

Congratulations on getting to the admission interview stage. It is time to go through your application materials, essays, resume and practice your dragon-slaying stories. Interviews can either be in person or via Skype. Reduce gesticulations to a minimum, be very friendly, and make your handshake firm if in person or set up your Skype in a serene location to avoid distractions and background noise.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I attended the QS MBA Tour, 2014 in Lagos after which I attended an information session by IE Business School in August. Having learned about the diversity and prestige of the IE IMBA program from my months of extensive research, the warmth and valuable support offered by the IE alumni I was fortunate to chat with during the session made IE Business School my first, and eventually, only choice for business school.

During my research, I was particularly impressed with the flexibility of the curriculum, and the strong link the Faculty members (permanent and adjunct) maintain with the corporate world; IE faculty members are not only ‘talkers,’ but ‘doers’ as well!

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? Sub-Saharan Africa remains one of the few regions in the world where cervical cancer (caused by the vaccine-preventable Human Papilloma Virus {HPV}) is the leading cause of cancer-related death in women. I intend to nurture my pet initiative of raising HPV awareness and its relationship with cervical cancer beyond delivering educational lectures about HPV to actually vaccinating Nigerian and Sub-Saharan African high school girls against HPV in a bid to be instrumental in reducing the incidence of cervical cancer. I plan to return to Nigeria during the course of the IMBA program with few classmates and some in-country volunteers to make this a reality.

Growing up in Gbongan, I had the good fortune of climbing lots of trees, but such opportunities have been few and far between. For fun and to stay true to my hobby of surmounting heights, I intend to climb a few mountains across Europe.

Asids from these personal goals, I expect to have established deep, long-lasting relationships with my IMBA cohort in readiness for a collaborative post-MBA career.

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