Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Njideka Okeke, Washington University (Olin)

Njideka Okeke

Washington University in St Louis, Olin Business School

“Consultant yearning to make the world a better place through social impact organizations.”

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Fun Fact About Yourself: I play the drums, and I have completed three consecutive half-marathons in two countries.

Undergraduate School and Major: Imo State University; Accounting

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: PwC United Kingdom, Assistant 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? I was attracted to WashU Olin’s MBA because of its focus on experiential learning. I wanted a business school that would help me build my leadership skills and expand my abilities to challenge rather than simply identify with existing norms. The WashU Olin MBA program has an excellent reputation for producing business leaders who create positive social and environmental impact on a global scale. As a first generation MBA, I believe that my personal values align with the values of Olin in my quest to become an adaptable leader who finds ways to lead through uncertainties.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Energetic and smart. Working closely with my classmates on various cases and group assignments was both engaging and demanding. You have to be ready to provide undeniable facts to back up your position on matters, plus we do it in a very fun way.

What club or activity excites you most at this school?

Olin Cares Club: Being a keen advocate for social impact organizations, I am looking forward to actively participating in this club and the various activities as a way to impact our community for good.

Olin Women in Business: This is a club that I am very excited about as it provides a community-building platform that supports women and promotes gender equality in leadership.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment in my career is starting my own business. My professional and volunteer experiences inspired me to collaborate with two brilliant young women. We founded a company that provides virtual consulting services to underserved and economically disadvantaged businesses in Africa with a focus on women-owned businesses. I work with these businesses to obtain concessionary financing from the government, financial institutions, and international organizations that are focused on Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) as a way to bring purpose to their businesses.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? With over seven years of experience in the consulting industry, I have been fortunate to live and work in two continents—Africa and Europe—working across clients and industries for businesses at various stages of their lifecycle. I decided it was time to harness my management skills with the aim of pivoting into the tech or pharma industry.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The most challenging question asked how do I plan to combine a career in business with my passion for being actively involved in the social impact space.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? The strategy I deployed for finding the right school was to engage with current and past students as I believe they have firsthand experience and have walked the path that I was about to embark on.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I spent most of my career in consulting, moving from one completed project to another. My defining moment was when

I got a much-needed break in the summer of 2019 when I was selected for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI). I studied at Georgia State University in Atlanta, where I worked on a capstone project and completed course work in leadership. Being in the university environment once again – and the insightful conversations I had with the professors and other students – exposed my mind to thinking in a different way from how I have been thinking for the past six years as a consultant. It re-ignited the hunger in me to learn new and effective ways to problem solving.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? My favorite company will be a company that builds its business plan in a way that just only seeks to maximize shareholders wealth, but to do so in a way that causes the least impact on the environment and the community in which it carries out its business activities. In the event that some level of damage has been done in terms of environmental pollution, this company seeks out ways to adequately minimize the direct impact on human life and livelihood. Business students can learn equity and social justice from companies that promote corporate social responsibility.


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