2022 MBA To Watch: Folasade Owoeye, HEC Paris

Folasade Owoeye

HEC Paris

“Frenchified Nigerian, introverted extrovert, always in search of the next adventure.”

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria / Saint Cloud, France

Fun fact about yourself: I started experimenting with creating digital art in 2020 out of pandemic boredom and I’ve currently sold over 700 art prints online.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Lagos, BSc Accounting.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? KPMG, Manager, Risk Consulting

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? IX Acquisition Corp, France (Remote)

Where will you be working after graduation? AlixPartners, Vice President

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: 

– Class of 2022 Leadership Award for outstanding contribution and leadership

– President, HEC MBA Women In Leadership (WIL) Club

– Advisor, HEC Consulting Club

– Member TEC on Campus

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am particularly proud of being elected as president of the HEC WIL Club, serving as editor-in-chief for the WIL magazine, hosting 8 impactful career and networking events, and securing a club sponsorship with a global tech company within the 5 months of my tenure. It was a real privilege to lead a team of 10 amazing MBAs who are passionate and dedicated to promoting the cause of gender equity and representation.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Leading a 20-person team on an IPO readiness project for one of the largest NYSE listings for an African company. It was a project that stretched my leadership and technical skills and I am better off for it today.

Why did you choose this business school? Living in France, and being married to a Frenchman, I wanted a business school that had a strong reputation and rich legacy in France, as well as a good ranking. The bonus with HEC is the strength of its alumni body, corporate partnerships, and its leadership development program. I’ll definitely say that my expectations were well met.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? We are spoiled for choice at HEC, so this is a tough one! My Corporate Finance professor, Denis Gomb, will take the top spot. He genuinely enjoys teaching and this reflects in the ambience he creates in his classes. Plus, he got me interested enough in finance to land an internship with a US-based SPAC focused on data infrastructure investments in emerging markets.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I will probably be the thousandth person saying this: HEC Paris is NOT in Paris. It is in a beautiful, quiet, and charming (a polite way of saying boring) town called Jouy-en-Josas, which is roughly 33km from Paris. So, anyone hoping to study in HEC while fulfilling an “Emily in Paris” fantasy will have a reality check on arrival.

What surprised you the most about business school? The diversity of the cohort was a huge and pleasant surprise. I got to learn so much about other cultures; appreciate the similarities, dispel stereotypes and taste foreign cuisine (I’ll miss the hot-pot nights with my Japanese classmates).

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Speaking with many alumni and current students gave me an insight into what made a strong candidate profile. One particular tip I received was to emphasise my “capacity to contribute” that is to illustrate how my past professional and personal accomplishments will impact the cohort as a whole. I will advise every MBA applicant to leverage the experience of their target school alumni to find out what the school looks out for in an application.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Jose Diaz is one classmate I truly admire. He is one of those people that are always engaged, always present, living in each moment. He is a good listener, a fantastic ally, and a great friend. He doubled as the president of the Arts Media and Entertainment (AME) Club and advisor with the WIL Club and exceeded expectations in both roles, organising curated visits to art exhibitions, museums tours, and movie nights.

I’ll sneak in a honorary nod to JingJing Sun, a colleague who happens to be one of the smartest, most confident and outspoken candidates in the cohort. You can never miss her in class. She is that student that asks questions that makes the lecturers take a double pause. She is also a mum to the cutest toddler on campus.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My mum has always been a constant inspiration. She always pushes me to take a step further in bettering myself. When I made Manager in KPMG, she encouraged me to take on the next milestone and advance my educational qualifications, in her words “you can’t become a finance minister with just a bachelor’s degree”.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The first (which is already in the pipeline) is to create an independent consulting practice focused on African start-ups in the retail, healthcare, and education sectors.

The second is to serve my country, Nigeria in a ministerial or advisory capacity, either the finance or education sector. I know it is a long shot but I am putting it out there into the universe.

How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? The pandemic has shown that a corporate career doesn’t have to be made within the walls of an office building. Remote work has provided unprecedented career mobility and flexibility. More than ever, I am aware and in tune with my life priorities and less tolerant of career paths or opportunities that impinge on my personal aspirations and priorities.

What made Folasade such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Folasade has been very active in her support for the diversity activities of the school. Under her leadership, the Women in Leadership members actively supported the Women’s Forum G20 meeting in Milan by volunteering their time. They contributed to a white paper that the Women’s Forum published. Again, for the Women’s Forum Global Meeting in Paris, Folasade rallied the members of her club to support the Women’s Forum. Finally, in collaboration with the HEC Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center she produced a benchmark of women’s entrepreneurship programs and incubators that has provided the Center with very valuable data.”

Emma Cochrane
Associate Director
HEC Paris Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center


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