Meet The MBA Class of 2022: Nimi Ajayi, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

Nimi Ajayi

Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management

“I am a problem-solver who wants the global business environment to take Africa seriously.”

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Fun Fact About Yourself: When I’m not studying or working, I am a professional DJ and saxophone enthusiast.

Undergraduate School and Major:

Undergraduate School: University of Minnesota Twin Cities – B.Sc. Human Resource Development

Graduate School: The University of Akron – M.Sc. Information Systems Management

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Strategic Business Analyst at New Innovations

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school, and why was it so important to you? It was the size of the class. I came to business school to form new life-long relationships with people with different backgrounds from myself. I needed to attend a program where I stood a chance to make my way around getting to know every person in the program before I completed business school. Owen’s collaborative culture would also ensure that the people I was getting to know would be people I would be okay being friends with for life. The warm weather in Nashville is a plus as well.

At Owen, you are part of one of the most dynamic business environments in the country. What has made Nashville such a great place to live and learn for you? Nashville’s young demographic, strong healthcare community, and vibrant music scene have provided me with a sophisticated yet fun learning environment.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? For the most part, I would say that most of my classmates at Owen are humble. Everyone is open to learning about the next person and approaches problems with humility and the understanding that we are all smart. Still, we need to work collaboratively and lean on our strengths to achieve the best results.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I was part of a team that worked to change how medical students in Africa approached studying for their board exams. At Doksta, we created an app that provided medical students with virtual collaboration tools, educational content, question banks, and performance-tracking features, which helped increase their chances of passing their boards, bringing them closer to their goals of becoming medical doctors.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? Serving on the student senate has been a privilege. It has allowed me to connect with so many of my classmates to learn about them and what would make their MBA experience more worthwhile and exciting despite the current challenges. In working with the other student senators, I learn a lot about leadership and what it takes to steer and guide a ship through a storm such as the one the pandemic has created.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I look to continually improve myself. In doing that, my focus is always on gaining skills I can use to solve important problems. Prior to starting business school, I worked in niche industries where I did meaningful work, but the scale of impact of work that I did was limited. I wanted to use the skills that I had and would pick up in business school to drive large-scale impact and improve people’s lives extensively. Getting an MBA is going to help me do that.

What was your defining moment, and how did it prepare you for business school? My defining moment was when I visited Nigeria in 2015 and was undergoing a procedure to extract some teeth. This procedure required that my jaw be drilled to expose the roots of my teeth. A few minutes into the procedure, the drill malfunctioned and stopped working while I lay there with my jaw cracked open, and there was no other drill within that section of the hospital. The hospital could not afford equipment redundancies for situations like these even though raw materials to create this equipment are sourced from countries like Nigeria.

It made me think about everything wrong with global healthcare systems and the economic factors that create these disparities across the world. I realize that there are opportunities for multinational companies to expand their footprint to emerging economies to help solve some of these pressing issues. It also helped me see first-hand the need for the development of cost-effective local solutions to healthcare challenges around the world.

Fortunately, they were able to fix the machine within 10 minutes, and I was able to complete my procedure. Still, I left feeling very lucky to be alive and retain my mouth and jaw’s functionality. Another person might not have been so fortunate. I left with a determination to pursue a career in healthcare and, ultimately, an MBA to gain the skills to help healthcare companies rethink how they serve emerging economies.

DON’T MISS: Meet Vanderbilt Owen’s MBA Class Of 2022

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