Meet Columbia Business School’s MBA Class Of 2020

Olamide Bada

Columbia Business School

A London lawyer-turned-businesswoman who dances to the beat of her own drum.”

Hometown: London, U

Fun Fact About Yourself: I used to be a R&B music producer!

Undergraduate School and Major:  Law, School of Oriental and African Studies – University of London

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Managing Director, Jumia Food Nigeria

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Leading my team to deliver triple-digit topline growth within a year at Jumia Food, by redefining customer experience as the core pillar of the business. The icing on the cake was having my work awarded through the Future Awards Africa Prize for Professional Service in December 2017!

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Kindred spirits. I was in NYC for a weekend in June and messaged the incoming Black Business Students Association (BBSA) group to find out if anyone wanted to meet for drinks. About 15 of us met over beer and the rest was history – I felt like I had known them forever!

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Location. I often joke about the fact that I’ve lived in NYC (in my head) for as long as I can remember, but it was very important for me to be “at the very center of business.” I have diverse interests from media to tech, spanning continents including Europe and Africa – where else would I be able to tap into my many interests, if not NYC?

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school?  The Entrepreneurship through Acquisition Group – I would love to run and scale a business again in my career, but unfortunately don’t have a treasure chest of awesome ideas from which to choose from!

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I’ve tried to challenge myself in everything I do for as long as I can remember. Through this, I’ve learned what is important to me as well as the kind of environments in which I thrive. Right now, I intend to solidify my end-to-end business knowledge through an MBA, learning how other companies have tackled their most complex problems and, in turn, apply this to the cross-section of need that I am tasked to solve.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? This is a tough one – it was never (and still isn’t) a guaranteed investment, but ultimately the onus is on me to make it one! I have a list of three things that I want to achieve by the end of the MBA… I can let you know how I did in May 2020!

What other MBA programs did you apply to? None. I knew I wanted to be in NYC, and I identified with CBS alumni the most. If it didn’t work out, then I would’ve continued on in the African entrepreneurship space.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Handing in my resignation letter at the law firm that gave me my first professional opportunity without knowing exactly what I would go on to do next. At that point, I knew I had outgrown the legal profession and was firm in the belief that I had a lot more to gain from, as well as offer to, the world through my career. Coming from an inner-city council housing estate, making it to a profession in the City (of London) was an amazing feat in itself, so I really questioned whether I was making the right decision to walk away from my “big break.” Fast forward three years and it was the battery that powered me to believe in myself, my vision, and my impact on the world!

What do you plan to do after you graduate? In the long term, I would love to build a portfolio of media businesses designed to amplify diverse, lesser-known narratives. I first became aware of the ways in which the world is shaped by the media through my media studies class in college, and dreamed of changing this one day. Emboldened by my CBS MBA, I hope to make this dream a reality!

Where do you see yourself in five years? Starting to specialize, either in industry or through a strategy consulting firm, in the media and entertainment space. Oprah Winfrey is my life and career idol and, through her story alone, I know that the kind of ambition I intend to realize may take time.

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