Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Sowa Imoisili, Stanford GSB

Sowa Imoisili

Stanford Graduate School of Business

“Curious and globally-minded innovator,  passionate about building and investing in new ventures.”

Hometown: Ellicott City, Maryland

Fun Fact About Yourself: Right after graduating from my university, I moved to Hong Kong for a year and became a Lecturer at Shue Yan University through a Princeton in Asia Fellowship. I also have a goal of visiting as many countries as years old I am, and just caught up earlier this year!

Undergraduate School and Major (Include Graduate School if Relevant): Northwestern University | Major(s): Economics and Psychology | Minor: Creative Writing

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Management Consultant/Innovation Specialist at Accenture; Business Design and Strategy Consultant at Fjord (acquired by Accenture)

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Stanford GSB’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I came to business school to invest in a community that builds. While not everyone ends up going into entrepreneurship, it’s always in the air here. There is a sense of venture that is built into so many courses here, whether its Formation of New Ventures, Creating a New Venture in a Developing Economy, Managing Growing Enterprises, or the renowned Lean LaunchPad. There are so many angles and opportunities with which one can learn what it takes to build a great enterprise. Whether one decides to walk the entrepreneurship journey or not, there is a lot of power in understanding what it takes to grow and scale an idea.

What has been the most surprising thing that you’ve learned about Stanford GSB so far? Stanford provides an extraordinary level of access to leaders and organizations – far beyond what I expected. It’s not uncommon to have to decide between hearing a talk by a Nobel Laureate and having a small group lunch with a serial unicorn founder. The GSB network is incredibly powerful and the faculty members proactively help connect the dots, whether that’s making an introduction or leveraging their networks to help launch new ventures.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Bold. While my classmates represent a myriad of backgrounds and goals, when they want to go for something, they fully go for it. That baseline of determination builds on itself because when you see others working hard to create a world that they would be proud to be a part of, it inspires you to do the same.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: A few years into my career in consulting, I was selected to pilot my company’s new Innovation Explorers program. I was one of twenty “Explorers” in the Northeast region. Through the position, I was licensed to define the parameters of work for myself, focusing on maximizing impact and value through innovation. In my role, I led Accenture’s innovation strategy for a $53B pharmaceutical client, built a prototype medical device to counteract counterfeit vaccines internationally, and created an emerging technology upskilling learning campaign (which won an internal company award). By having the flexibility to define the work that needed to be done, I could capitalize on my user research background to clearly define client problems and priorities that my team could then work to solve. My work as an Explorer taught me the importance of end-user centrality and digging deep into the problem before creating a solution.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? I ran for, and was elected as, Co-Student Body President of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In my role, my team and I have an incredible opportunity to curate what we intend to make an impactful student experience that will create connections that last a lifetime. Our platform is focused on belonging with the goal of building and growing intersectional communities.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Wharton, HBS, MIT Sloan, Berkeley Haas, Yale SOM, Kellogg, NYU Stern

What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program? Don’t limit yourself. Always remember that we tend to downplay our strengths because they come naturally. Remember that you bring so much to the table – own that and walk confidently. No one will believe in you until you believe in yourself.

What advice would you give to a prospective applicant looking to join the Stanford GSB Class of 2024?
Invest time in connecting with people who are different from yourself. The GSB has an incredibly rich fabric of people from not only all over the world but from such a wide array of backgrounds and cultures. There is always so much to learn. Lean into that. Make it a point to challenge yourself to leave your comfort zone behind.


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.