2016 Best MBAs: Fona Osunloye, Yale

Fona Osunloye Yale

Fonahanmioluwa (Fona) Osunloye


Yale School of Management

“When I was much younger I would complete my homework and then rip it into multiple pieces. I was different from most children my age as I actually wanted to have even more homework, and was working under the misguided belief that more pieces of paper equaled more homework to complete.”

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria


Undergraduate – Fairleigh Dickinson University, BSc. Electrical Engineering

Graduate – Cornell University, MEng. Engineering Management

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Business Process Management Consultant, Perficient Inc.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, IL.

Where will you be working after graduation? Associate, McKinsey & Company

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School

  • Co-President, Education Club
  • Co-President, Africa Business & Society Club
  • Admissions Co-Chair, Women in Management
  • Graduate Liaison, Yale World Fellows program
  • Volunteer Coordinator, 2015 Yale Education Leadership Conference
  • Content Co-Chair, 2015 Yale Africa Business Practicum
  • Admissions Interviewer
  • Class of 2017 Student Orientation Leader
  • Forte Foundation Fellow

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? In the time I’ve spent at SOM, I’ve been privileged to be involved in so many very different initiatives and all of them have been fulfilling learning experiences for me for a host of reasons. If I had to pick one that I am most proud of, it would have to be serving as one of the Admissions Co-Chairs for the Women in Management (WIM) Club.

As part of the committee’s goals this year, we piloted the WIM Applicant Mentorship Program to provide female applicants who are typically underrepresented in the MBA applicant pool with more targeted guidance throughout the application cycle. The efficacy of the pilot program became even more apparent during the past admissions interview period where I got positive feedback from prospective students who had been connected with SOM student-mentors.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Being selected to establish and manage global affiliate operations in Nigeria and Ghana during my time at Boston Strategies International (BSI). This responsibility was given to me very early on in my career at BSI, and despite my comparative lack of experience, I successfully navigated the challenges of doing business in an emerging market.

Favorite MBA Courses? Nonmarket Strategy with Dean Bach, Integrated Management Perspectives (now Executive), Innovation in Govt. & Society with Eric Braverman, and Competitive Strategy with Fiona Scott-Morton.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose SOM because of the community of people. I knew very early on in my application process that I wanted to join a small close-knit community that nurtured in me a sense of belonging and responsibility for leaving the school a better place than I when I joined it.

What did you enjoy most about business school? I’ve enjoyed becoming more comfortable with the idea of failure as a means to stretch myself and my abilities in ways that I didn’t think possible in the past. Even more important, I’ve enjoyed being a part of a community where I can be my genuine self without the fear of constantly being judged.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? With my technical Electrical Engineering and Mathematics background, I came into business school expecting to thrive only in the quantitative courses. It has thus been pleasantly surprising to see that the classes I have especially enjoyed, where I’ve learnt the most (and which I have then gone on to serve as a teaching assistant in) have been the ones that are more qualitative in nature. This just goes to say that we should never pigeonhole ourselves in our minds as we oftentimes don’t even realize the extent of our abilities.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? My advice would be to really take the time to understand yourself and your true motivations for going to business school. This clarity of purpose seeps through in everything, from the application to your interactions/opportunities that you pursue while at school, and for me it helped serve as a North Star that kept me focused on my ultimate goals.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I realized that my then current job wasn’t leading me any closer to achieving my long-term career goals.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…attempting to start my own elementary school catering to children in underserved/low-income communities.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Mellody Hobson, current President of Ariel Investments.

What are your long-term professional goals? To play an active role in reforming the education landscape in Nigeria and across the African continent.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I’d like to thank God for filling me with this passion for education that led me to business school, and then blessing me with the best fiancé, family, and friends who never stopped believing in me – especially when I didn’t believe in myself.

Fun fact about yourself: When I was much younger I would complete my homework and then rip it into multiple pieces. I was different from most children my age as I actually wanted to have even more homework, and was working under the misguided belief that more pieces of paper equaled more homework to complete.

Favorite book: So many different books appeal to me for so many different reasons, and I’d be lying if I claimed to have just one favorite book. Some of the more recent books that I have read and loved include: The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, and The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey Into how the World’s Poorest People are Educating Themselves.

Favorite movie: A Few Good Men

Favorite musical performer: Asa, a Nigerian singer & performer

Favorite television show: The West Wing

Favorite vacation spot: Thailand

Hobbies: Visiting new cities and reading/collecting books

What made Fona such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Fona is a student from Nigeria who earned a BS in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University and an M.Oth Engineering Management from Cornell University prior to Yale SOM. Fona has been an instrumental student in shaping the co-curricular and extracurricular experience for her classmates at Yale SOM. She has helped leader positions in two student clubs, Education and the Africa Business and Society Club. These are professional clubs each hold large conferences attended by a significant number of students and professionals.

Fona was the driving force to start the Africa Business and Society Club. This is a new club that engages students from across the university who are interested in exploring professional and entrepreneurial opportunities, and discussing societal issues that face the many nations of many of the world’s fastest growing economies. Fona’s natural leadership skills have activated networks across all graduate programs at Yale (in particular MPH and Jackson) in order to make this club successful.”

Fona was actively engaged in the launch of the Yale Africa Business Practicum (2014 and 2015). This event focuses on bringing together graduate students from Yale SOM, other business schools and our GNAM partner schools in a full-day workshop, utilizing the raw case approach to provide solutions to real challenges faced by a business in Africa. The approach is distinct within the group of well-established Africa focused conferences and was designed to reflect the distinct approach of Yale SOM in solving complex problems. Fona’s strengths in team management made her the natural lead for marketing and engaging students around Yale and other northeast located business schools to join in this new initiative.

Additionally, Fona is one of the leaders of the Education Club. Her interest in the education sector runs deep. She is so dedicated to this industry that she’s taking an urban education class that is based out of NYC and requires her to commute back and forth every week.  While she has spent most of her post-secondary education in the United States, she was raised in the primary and secondary educational systems in Nigeria and these cross-cultural experiences have provided her with a unique insight into improving education in Africa.

Fona was also chosen to serve as a teaching assistant for a Yale SOM International Experience course that travels to South Africa. The central theme of the course is entrepreneurship and involves projects with local entrepreneurs. Income inequality and the legacy of Apartheid as also explored on the trip. Fona’s efforts to assist in exposing our students to these important topics in today’s South Africa has been much appreciated by her classmates and faculty.

Lastly, Fona has also been an outstanding mentor to the classmates following her in the MBA and MAM programs. She served as an orientation leader working with the administration to assist in the delivery of the orientation programming. Fona’s stewardship of the programming set an outstanding example to the new students of leadership and dedication to the curricular, extra-curricular and extracurricular aspects of the MBA experience.

Fona is off to join Mckinsey. She chose to work at McKinsey post-graduation because of its thought leadership on societal issues on the continent, including education.”

Sherilyn Scully

Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Student Life

Tiffany Gooden

Director of Community and Inclusion


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