2021 MBAs To Watch: Manny Fadahunsi, Yale School of Management

Manny Fadahunsi

Yale School of Management

“I’m an ex-engineer who seeks to use finance and strategy to shape a sustainable energy future.”

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Fun fact about yourself: I wanted to be a professional soccer player when I was a kid

Undergraduate School and Degree: B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, University of Lagos; M.Eng. in Energy Systems, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Operations Engineer at Egbin Power Plc. in Lagos, Nigeria

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Amazon, Seattle WA

Where will you be working after graduation? Investment Banking at CohnReznick Capital

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Career Advisor: Worked with the Career Development Office with a team of second-year students to lead recruiting and career events for the first-years, and helped provide insights into crafting strong resumes and compelling cover letters. I facilitated behavioral and technical mock interviews for students interested in the tech and energy industries. This role gave me the opportunity to leverage my recruiting experience to serve as a useful guide for the first-years and be a resource for career concerns.

Energy Club Leader: Served as one of the club leaders who provided students with resources and networking opportunities with SOM alumni and practitioners in the energy sector. I worked with other leaders to organize a speaker series to keep Yale SOM’s Energy Club members abreast of business, economic, policy, and regulatory issues in the energy industry.

SOM United Soccer Club Leader (Captain): I began to serve as club captain from my first year. I have had the pleasure of organizing and leading weekly soccer practices, budgeting and planning the club’s finances, and organizing soccer tournaments such as the Yale Cup where we invited other business schools to compete, network, and have fun. The soccer club has played a key role in strengthening communities at Yale. I’ve worked with other captains to organize soccer events such as the first-years vs second-years game; the Yale World Cup, where students from different parts of the world come out to represent their region; and the Cohort Cup, where students in different cohorts settle their rivalry once and for all on the football pitch.

Class of 2022 Welcome Weekend Committee Member: As part of the committee, I was responsible for providing accommodation for the admitted students with the help of current students during the Welcome Weekend. This is a tradition at Yale School of Management. When I attended the Welcome Weekend as an admitted student in 2019, I was blown away by the hospitality of my generous hosts. In fact, by interacting with my hosts, I realized my decision to go to Yale was further reinforced. Thus, serving on the committee gave me an opportunity to pay it forward.

Yale SOM Student Ambassador: As a student ambassador, I served as a point of contact for Yale SOM to prospective MBA students. I have had the privilege of speaking with bright and impressive candidates from across the globe, listening to their questions and sharing insights.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I was proud of leading the Yale team to win the 2020 Kellogg Energy Case Competition out of 27 teams from schools across North America, Europe and Asia. It brought me a great satisfaction to assemble a team of people with different backgrounds and skillsets to tackle a pressing energy issue within a short timeframe, and come up with the highest quality work. I was most proud that even when COVID hit, and the entire competition was made virtual, I figured out a way to keep the team motivated and navigate various challenges brought by the team’s inability to meet in person to craft the deliverables.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? When I was working as an operations engineer at Egbin Power Plant, which was the biggest power station in Nigeria, I had the privilege of working with a team of engineers to bring back to service a plant unit that had been shut down for nearly a decade following an explosion. I led part of the operations workstream to try to bring the plant back to life, and we did it. That unit now generates enough electricity to power an additional 200,000 homes in a nation where only about 40% of the people have no access to stable electricity.

Why did you choose this business school? When I decided to go to business school, I was looking for the following attributes in a school: (a) moderate class size—not too big that I would get lost in the crowd, and not too small that networking is limited; (b) strength of the academic curriculum and school reputation; and (c) connection to the parent university and access to wider resources beyond the business school. Yale School of Management ticked all the boxes for me. Nevertheless, I realized that there were still many schools that would fit the descriptions above. When I began to interact with students across various target schools, I felt more at home with the Yale students. People that I spoke to were passionate about their goals and embodied Yale’s mission of “educating leaders for business and society.” So I wanted to be part of the Yale’s program.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? A.J. Wasserstein was my favorite professor. He taught me “Rollups, Consolidations and Programmatic Acquisitions,” and I thought he was great at dissecting course materials and bringing out deep insights. He poured out his heart to the subject, and he was incredibly passionate and engaging. He did all that through Zoom. In additional to his pedagogical abilities, he was interested in his students. He challenged me personally and dared me to push the limits of my abilities.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? I always looked forward to the Closing Bell event every Thursday evening. It was always a great avenue to usher in the weekend at business school, grab drinks with classmates. and interact with students from different cohorts and programs.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Looking back, I wish I had taken classes outside the School of Management and interacted with the broader Yale community to enrich my Yale experience. My classmates who went outside of the School of Management to take classes have shared how great their experiences were, and I wish I had done the same.

What is the biggest myth about your school? People often think that Yale School of Management is a school for the not-for-profit folks. This misconception may have resulted from the misinterpretation of the school’s tagline, which is “Educating leaders for business and society.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, just 2.5% of the class of 2020 went on to work full-time for a nonprofit.

What surprised you the most about business school? Business school is intense. One can get by doing the bare minimum, but to get the most value out of the experience one has to put in a lot of work.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? One thing that gave me an edge during the application process to Yale School of Management was figuring out why I would be a good fit and the value I could bring to the school that nobody else could. I articulated this value proposition clearly in my application in terms of how I would deliver it and where. Since applicants tend to look alike in terms of stats, I think it is crucial for applicants to think further about the value they would bring to the table and express clearly why they would be a great fit for the school.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Stephanie Wayne served as the student life chair at Yale School of Management. She is a good friend and classmate. In her role, she planned all the major community events at the school. Just to name a few, they included the annual Yale-Harvard tailgate and the Dinner Around the World, where international clubs submit their home recipes and prepare them in a multi-course dinner at SOM. Stephanie pours her heart into everything she does. I think she has excelled in her role because she cares deeply about people and always thinks about how to make people have the best experiences, even at the expense of her personal comfort. She simply gives and expects nothing in return, and I admire this trait in her.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? In terms of the quality of academic instruction, I don’t think there has been much disruption, but the real struggle has been with staying engaged virtually; Zoom fatigue is real. On the positive side, the virtual setting has made it easier for professors to bring to class discussions more external speakers such as protagonists in case studies. Nevertheless, social and networking events are not what they used to be. Technology has not caught up with that yet. Yes, Zoom happy hours are not fun to me. At Yale School of Management, my plan was to go to Japan for the International Experience, which used to be an integral part of the MBA experience. VR/AR can’t replicate the experience of stepping on Japanese soil and interacting with the country’s people and culture.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? The person who influenced my decision to go to business school was Philip Obi, my mentor and friend. We met at a Toastmasters meeting eight years ago, where he was one of the speakers. At that time, he had obtained an MBA from a top institution, and I was fascinated by his quality of thoughts, speech and poise. I asked him to mentor me. He graciously agreed. He has since been a profound source of career advice for me. He inspired me to go to business school and supported me in the application process.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. As an energy-focused investment banker, I want to work on renewable energy deals up to the cumulative amount of $5Bn in 5 years
  2. I want to lead an investment of at least 5GW capacity solar power in Nigeria, my home country, in the next 10 years

What made Manny such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

Manny Fadahunsi chose Yale SOM to pursue a professional business path to energy, but it’s his energy that has left a lasting impression on his classmates. Whether engaging with students through his role as a Career Advisor, Admissions Ambassador. or Club Lead, Manny’s maturity and passion for helping his classmates stands out among his peers.

During the pandemic, Manny and his co-leaders of SOM United, Yale SOM’s Soccer Club, arranged their yearly Cohort Cup, an athletic competition among student cohorts. Seeing an opportunity to bring students together in a socially safe way, the committee moved forward with the tradition, but added socially distant games and activities for students to participate in rather than a traditional soccer match. The daylong event provided an environment for students from all classes to interact, rally as a community, and show their resilience in a year where business student networking is more difficult than ever.

What I’ve personally been most impressed by with Manny has been his own resilience throughout his recruiting process. With each twist and turn he’s faced, Manny has reflected, pivoted, and found success—leading to a summer role with Amazon and a full-time role with CohnReznick Capital Markets Securities in their energy sector. His maturity and calm demeanor allowed him to gain supporters throughout.

Manny is a talented student with a big smile and an even bigger heart. Whether advising current students on their own recruiting process or answering questions from prospective students, Manny holds a strong hand in both the current and future community here at Yale SOM.”

Michael Minutoli
Deputy Director, Career Education and Coaching
Yale School of Management