Meet The MBA Class of 2022: Efosa Uwaifo, Columbia Business School

Efosa Uwaifo

Columbia Business School

“I’m passionate about improving access to energy in Africa. I’ll try anything once, except rollercoasters.”

Hometown: Benin-City, Nigeria

Fun Fact About Yourself: I once won a termite eating competition.

Undergraduate School and Major:

  • University of Benin, Chemical Engineering
  • University of Pittsburgh, Masters in Petroleum Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Sahara Group, Strategy & Commercial Manager

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?  Columbia’s MBA program has an Energy and Climate Change specialization and these are two areas I am passionate about and plan to dedicate my career to. The Executive-in-Residence program was also a big motivation because of the first-hand exposure to global leaders in energy and other sectors.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? An eclectic mix of high achievers. My learning team of six is made up of a United States national chess player, a former professional baseball player, a real estate broker, a marketing and brands expert, an investment banker and an engineer.

What is the best part of coming to New York City for your MBA? I love that New York City is cosmopolitan and business-centered, but also has a deep heritage in culture and the arts.  It’s also a city where community and service are important and that resonates strongly with me.

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at Columbia Business School? The world is at the start of an epochal change that is redefining the requirements for success for individuals and businesses. I can’t think of better time to be in the world’s best leadership factory to prepare to solve the new challenges tomorrow will bring.

What makes you most nervous about your MBA? The risk of my class not being able to get as much out of the experience as we ordinarily would because of the pandemic.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Advising on the world’s largest oil refinery expected to eliminate fuel shortages across West Africa.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Having worked as an engineer, management consultant and business manager in the energy industry, my career has taken a few interesting turns over the years. These experiences had given me clarity on what I really want to do career-wise and more importantly, what areas I need to develop in to achieve my goals. The MBA program was the best opportunity to address my development areas and take the next step in my career.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Yale School of Management and Kellogg School of Management

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “Who is a leader you admire and why?” helped me discover the one attribute all good leaders possess: the ability to inspire others beyond their natural capabilities. Overall, I found the application process very illuminating. The level of introspection it required, gave me a huge boost on my journey to self-discovery.

What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? It has been a lot of self-evaluation to map out the key skills I want to leave the program with, and what steps I should take to develop them. I also found Wall Street Prep very useful in brushing up on my knowledge of finance. 

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? During my Masters in Engineering, I completed my graduate thesis and published research papers in an area of science I previously knew very little about, all in under nine months. This experience gave me a lot of confidence and was an anchor for me that I could learn and succeed at anything if I invested myself in, including business school.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? NextEra Energy. I admire their integrated approach to energy (traditional oil and gas, nuclear, solar, wind, batteries, and hydrogen), and how their application of technology has set them apart in the energy market. They also have my vote because of their high Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings, as I’m a big believer that a good business is one that is concerned about the society it operates in. I’ll given an honorable mention to Deciwatt, the creators of GravityLight. I spent most of my childhood doing my homework with kerosene lamps so I know how much of a blessing their gravity-powered lamps are to people in areas with inconsistent power supply.