“Ambitious British-Nigerian who loves finance and is committed to building a society with equal opportunities.”
Hometown: London, UK
Fun fact about yourself: I have once played football on the same pitch as Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard
Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Bath, Economics
Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Fenchurch Advisory Partners, M&A Associate
Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Bank of America, London
Where will you be working after graduation? Bank of America, London
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Co-Founder and Co-President of Black in Business, Senior Treasurer of Sports Business Club, Borrows Scholar
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Founding the Black in Business Club (BiB) and the ongoing work with the LBS administration on racial equality is my proudest achievement at LBS. One of the reasons I came to business school was to give myself more time to fulfil one of my other passions in life: diversity and inclusion. Creating the first Black-focused student club at a leading business school in Europe has the potential to provide opportunities for Black talent all over the world, so I am very pleased to be leaving a legacy that will last well beyond my time at business school.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? It was completing my first M&A advisory transaction at Fenchurch Advisory Partners. I made a seemingly risky decision to join Fenchurch after only a short period at my previous role and so I felt a real sense of vindication when my first transaction signed. I guess I could also say that once I accepted I probably would not make it as a premier league footballer, becoming an investment banker was my new career aspiration. Signing my first transaction made me feel like I was on the right path.
Why did you choose this business school? It was the diverse nature of the class. Building a global network was one of the main reasons I decided to do an MBA. For me personally, LBS made complete sense as it is a school that comes with a guarantee of a really diverse cohort of students to connect with from all over the world.
Who was your favorite MBA professor? Christopher Hennessy. It turns out he is the only lecturer that I chose to take more than one class with so we clearly have similar interests! On a serious note, he did a great job of keeping the classes engaging despite the enforced virtual medium. He is also an expert in distressed investing, which is a discipline I am particularly interested in, so it was great to have the opportunity to pick his brain on the topic.
What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Tattoo. This was an easy choice, not least because it was the last event I attended pre-pandemic. Tattoo encapsulates everything that is great about LBS. It was a great opportunity to sample the awesome traditions brought together by the LBS student body. The dance competition is also a memory I will never forget, despite the Africa Club being robbed of a well-deserved victory by the South Americans.
Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would have taken more courses outside of the Finance and Private Equity concentrations. There are a lot of really great courses to choose from. In the end, I probably decided to choose the courses I knew I would enjoy rather than the ones that would broaden my knowledge and skillset the most.
What surprised you the most about business school? The humility of the student body. I expected there to be a lot of people with big egos and an overly competitive streak, but the reality was completely different. Even throughout Investment Banking recruiting season, there was a very collaborative culture whereby people were keen to work in groups in order to achieve our individual and collective goals.
What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I got to know the people behind the application decisions. I always say that it is real people that make the decision. In order to give yourself the best chance to get what you want, you have to show them you are more than what is written down on the application form.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Ricardo Martinez Pavon. He has all the right skills and attributes to be successful: articulate, hard-working, and intelligent to name a few. However, he has a level of genuine humility and selflessness that I have never come across before. I really admire that about him. Without trying to steal a cheesy line from a movie – “He makes me want to be a better person”.
How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? From a learning perspective, it was not disruptive at all. LBS really invested in the online and hybrid technology so it was a pretty seamless transition. As you’d expect, the primary disruption was to the social side of the MBA. We had several periods of severe lockdowns in London, which made it impossible to continue the types of social activities that are core to the value proposition of an MBA.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My father. Growing up, my earliest memories were of my dad in his suit and with a briefcase. I didn’t know what his job was but I knew I wanted a job that required me to wear a suit and have a briefcase. By the time I got to sixth-form, he was the one that really encouraged me to study economics, which in the end I really enjoyed and it led me to the job with the suit and a briefcase.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Diversity and Inclusion
What made Cole Agbede such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?
“Cole Agbede is co-founder of the School’s Black in Business club. He has demonstrated superb strength, focus and tenacity during his time at LBS. In every (virtual) meeting, he patiently explained issues around race and diversity. He worked with LBS faculty and the Marketing and Communications team to create essential new content that challenged our audience to think harder and have better, more open conversations about race – within the LBS community and in the working world. He is an incredibly smart, purposeful individual, collaborative and generous with his time. He has attracted high-calibre Black business and finance leaders to events, forging links and connections with existing students and alumni and working to attract Black students to the School.”
Senior Managing Editor, Think at London Business School
Member of London Business School’s Inclusion & Diversity Committee
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