2021 MBAs To Watch: Dolapo Ojutiku, Washington University (Olin)

Dolapo Ojutiku

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

“Lifelong learner and traveler fascinated with the links between business, society and government.”

Hometown: I consider both Port Harcourt and Lagos, Nigeria, as my hometowns.

Fun fact about yourself: I’m an avid traveler. I graduated from Texas Tech a year early—after three years of being in school, I was ready to see more of the world. I’ve visited five continents since then so far, only two left!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Texas Tech University, BBA, Information Systems

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Cummins Inc., IT Project Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Liberty Mutual, Summer Associate – Corporate Development Program; I had a great experience and will be interning there again in the spring.

Where will you be working after graduation? Liberty Mutual, Senior Business Consultant – Corporate Development Program (Boston, MA)

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:


  • Consortium for Graduate Studies in Management Fellow
  • Olin BIG IdeaBounce Competition Finalist
  • Olin Business School Student Speaker & Representative at Dinner with WashU Board of Trustees Event

Leadership Roles

  • VP, Clubs and Engagement, Graduate Business Student Association
  • Co-president, Consortium @ Olin
  • Co-president, Adam Smith Society
  • Admissions & Diversity Ambassador

Center for Experiential Learning

  • Consulting Team Lead, MySci (Entrepreneurship Consulting Team)—Growth strategy project for a nonprofit client in the education sector
  • Project Team Lead, South Africa (Global Management Studies)—Immersion course exploring one of Africa’s biggest economies
  • Venture Advising Team, Israel—Spent a week in Tel Aviv working on a market-entry project with an Israeli-based company looking to expand and raise funding in the USA

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I was a project lead for the Global Management Studies course. With the help of my team, we were able to develop a curriculum on key industries in South Africa, recruit speakers, coordinate travel, and plan industry visits and cultural immersion activities. The pandemic limited us from visiting South Africa at the end of the course, as initially planned during spring break 2020. Still, I had the opportunity to build an experiential learning experience for my peers that highlighted one of Africa’s biggest economies was one of the proudest opportunities I had the honor of leading.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I’m proud of my work with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). I served on the board of the Minneapolis Professionals chapter and the regional board of NSBE Professionals. We were able to grow the chapter and create social and career development programming that benefitted young professionals in the area, ensuring that students at the university were well-prepared for career fairs and navigating the business environment post-graduation.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose WashU Olin because of its global focus and experiential learning. These aspects were important to me as someone who has lived and worked in different countries and plans to be a leader at a multinational firm. Our global immersion program was a great experience. I’ve also had opportunities to consult and travel for companies locally (St Louis) and internationally (Israel and Spain).

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Doug Villhard. My first interaction with Doug was during the platform seminars in my first year. I remember him sharing his entrepreneurial journey, and one of my takeaways was that it’s never too late to start. I’ve enjoyed the classes I’ve taken with him. The wealth of experience and advice he has from starting and selling multiple successful companies has been invaluable.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? The Olin Women In Business (OWIB) auction event is one of my favorites so far. It’s an annual event that draws students, alumni, faculty, and St. Louis community members together for an evening to celebrate the progress towards advancing the representation of women in business. It’s a festive gala that raises money to support the programming and impact of OWIB.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? One thing I would do differently is to launch a startup while still in school. I was able to be a team member on a startup idea during my second year and enjoyed the team-based learning environment. Business school is a safe place to experiment on different ideas, and there are many opportunities to pitch, get feedback, and source funding.

What is the biggest myth about your school? One myth is that Washington University is relatively isolated geographically. However, I concluded that St. Louis is a bit underrated. While it’s not a huge city, there are about eight Fortune 500 companies headquartered here. St. Louis also has a thriving startup environment with the Cortex innovation hub and T-REX development center. WashU was recently named the top MBA program for entrepreneurship, and I think that’s a testament to the city.

What surprised you the most about business school? It goes by fast. There’s a lot to take in, especially during the first year with balancing the core semester, recruiting, and social activities. After going through business school, you become much better at prioritizing and managing time.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Attending WashU Olin’s Diversity & Women’s weekend allowed me to visit the campus and get a feel for the community. The events and speakers that weekend gave me insights and clarity into the school in a way that I could express in my essays.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Kendra Kelly is an inspirational leader who will leave a great legacy behind at WashU Olin. She’s dedicated many of her efforts to improving the student experience at WashU Olin, especially around diversity, equity and inclusion. I also have a lot of respect for Irina Grekova. She’s an overall positive person and has been a prime example of balancing work, school and social life.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? It took some time to adjust to the new environment, especially since all the social and networking events are virtual now. My professors have also done a good job being flexible and accommodating, especially considering all the things that went on in 2020. The university has provided a range of options for students to choose from—limited in-class learning, fully remote and hybrid learning.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I sourced inspiration from a few different places: Both of my parents have MBAs, so I’ve had an appreciation for gaining higher education beyond my undergraduate degree. As I started my career and networked, I realized that I didn’t want to stay in a “technical” role for too long and would eventually transition into management. At the beginning of my career, the people I admired seemed to have MBAs from top universities, and I saw the impact it had in advancing their careers.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? In the short term, I’ll be sponsoring a scholarship at WashU Olin that can support minority students. In the long term, I plan on starting a business that impacts the African continent positively.

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

“Students like Dolapo are why I love my job. Of course, I also love my MBA students who come to WashU laser-focused on entrepreneurship. Students like Dolapo discover a passion for innovation, curiosity, and solving problems while they are at WashU Olin that continually make me smile.

Dolapo dove right into all we have to offer at WashU Olin, accepting leadership roles with student clubs and also helping his fellow MBA classmates with their business ideas. But he also became a quick student of entrepreneurship and innovation by taking three classes with me, including one in which he led a team to develop a plan for an existing STEM educational program to spin out of its nonprofit as its own for-profit startup.

I have no doubt Dolapo will eventually start his own company, but in the meantime, larger companies will be lucky to have an entrepreneurial mind like his aboard, helping them to continually innovate and think differently given the special set of skills that Dolapo possesses.”

Doug Villhard
Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurship
Academic Director for Entrepreneurship




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