Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Akindamola Akinola, University of Chicago (Booth)

Akindamola Akinola

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

“Ambiverted AI enthusiast, Pan-African at heart, Afrobeat lover and proud Chelsea FC supporter.”

Hometown: Osun state, Nigeria

Fun Fact About Yourself: Even though I might qualify for the title of “World’s Worst Dancer,” you can bet I’ll still be on the dance floor at parties. Because when the music plays, my enthusiasm outshines my dancing skills every single time!

Undergraduate School and Major: Obafemi Awolowo University

B.Sc. (Hons) Industrial Chemistry

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Product Manager (Tesco Plc, UK)

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Chicago Booth’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? What stands out for me at Chicago Booth is its flexible curriculum. It’s not just about a one-size-fits-all curriculum; Booth appreciates that every student has their own career trajectory. This translates to a curriculum that can be adapted to match each student’s unique objectives. This flexibility means I can choose courses that resonate with both my immediate goals post-MBA and my long-term career plans.

The Booth MBA is also known for being highly data driven. Why does the program’s focus on quantitative analysis and decision-making appeal to you? How have you been able to leverage this approach in your career so far? In my role as a product manager, every phase – from identifying solutions for users’ needs to idea validation and feature prioritisation – heavily depends on data-driven decision-making. I’ve witnessed the clear advantage of these data-driven decisions over ones based merely on instinct. This experience solidified my desire for an MBA program that not only appreciates, but champions quantitative analysis in decision-making. Booth’s emphasis on quantitative analysis and decision-making meshes perfectly with my belief in the power of making decisions backed with data, further equipping me with analytical tools required in the next phase of my career.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Chicago Booth? I’m particularly excited about the Private Equity Group at Chicago Booth. Its objectives align with my dream of addressing the financial hurdles that hinder many promising innovations in Africa. I see it as a platform to deepen my understanding of private equity and foster connections to assist visionary African entrepreneurs.

What has been your first impression of the Booth MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Booth story so far. My first impression of the Booth MBA students and alumni I’ve encountered is that they are exceptionally supportive. During my application, I received immense support and guidance, making the process smoother. My pre-MBA summer internship at a start-up, founded by a Booth alumnus, further emphasised the supportive Booth culture. This nurturing experience explains the “pay it forward” culture intrinsic to Booth. Both students and alumni seem deeply committed to reciprocating the support they’ve received by extending it to other members of the community.

What makes Chicago such a great place to earn an MBA? Beyond its iconic architecture and the captivating Lake Michigan, I grew up with a prevalence of Chicago Bulls jerseys in my hometown. It painted an image of a dynamic city I wanted to be a part of.  Completing an MBA in Chicago isn’t just about academic rigor; it’s about experiencing the city’s cultural vibrancy, from attending a Bulls game and relaxing on the city’s beaches during summer to soaking up its architectural beauty. It’s this blend of learning and living that positions Chicago as the perfect backdrop for an MBA journey.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: One of my most significant accomplishments was spearheading the digitization of the commerce-supply chain-finance recovery process of packaging material, a major revenue stream at my former company, Nigerian Breweries PLC. I led a team to build a solution that revamped the customer and warehouse credit process. This reduced the asset conversion cycle for our distributors by 14.5 days unlocking approximately 3 million euros every month for order creation and boosting revenue generation. This also improved process efficiency across the value chain by 55% through process automation and replacement of obsolete technologies with cutting-edge products.

What do you hope to do after graduation? Post-graduation, I plan to transition into management consulting. In the long run, I envision establishing a private equity firm with a focus on nurturing tech startups in Africa.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Harvard, Stanford GSB

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Chicago Booth’s MBA program? My advice would be to embrace originality and stay true to your personal journey. While it might be tempting to craft your application to fit a mold, remember that your unique experiences, passions, and aspirations are what set you apart. The admissions team truly values and respects applicants who present their authentic selves.

So, as you prepare your application, focus on the experiences that have truly shaped you and the ambitions that genuinely drive you. Reflect on your journey and envision how Chicago Booth can complement and elevate your aspirations. Your authenticity will not only resonate with the admissions team but also guide you to a program that truly aligns with your goals.

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