Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Mubarak Alliyu, Stanford GSB

Mubarak Alliyu

Stanford Graduate School of Business

“Finance & energy professional, aspiring public servant and the best football player that never was.”

Hometown: Ede, Nigeria

Fun Fact About Yourself: I learned how to ride a bike for the first time at Stanford.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Lagos & Imperial College London, Chemical Engineering

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Governance, Risk & Compliance Division

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? GSB’s emphasis on community building was a significant draw for me. The intentional focus on fostering connections, both inside and outside the classroom, sets it apart. From the smaller class size to faculty-student mixers, the emphasis on community creates an enriching environment for learning and networking. I craved an MBA experience that transcends the classroom, facilitates meaningful connections, and offers a holistic educational experience. GSB met all these criteria, especially with its strong connection with the broader Stanford community.

What has been the most important thing that you’ve learned at Stanford GSB so far? The most transformative lesson I’ve learned is the power of embracing setbacks. Surrounded by accomplished peers sharing personal struggles, I’ve realized how often success stories gloss over setbacks. Witnessing this vulnerability has opened me up to new ideas outside my comfort zone. GSB provides a safe space to fail, learn, and grow, which is an invaluable opportunity for personal and professional growth. Success is seldom linear.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Stanford GSB? The weekly TALK sessions, where classmates share their journeys, have become a highlight of my GSB experience. It’s like listening to concise yet captivating autobiographies delivered with humor and authenticity. I’ve enjoyed them because they remind me that despite our different backgrounds, we share common hopes and dreams. They have helped me develop stronger connections with my classmates and an appreciation for their stories. I hope to give a TALK before I graduate.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far? Give an example why this is true. GSBers are independent thinkers. Everyone seems to have a unique vision for their future, unconstrained by conventional paths. They challenge the status quo, evident in the diverse career paths they take. Even within popular career themes like entrepreneurship, there’s a spectrum of aspirations, from startups to search funds to early-stage ventures. This diversity of thought and interests fosters collaboration rather than competition, creating a supportive environment and driving innovation and creativity within the community.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My proudest accomplishment is evolving from a pure engineering professional to taking on diverse roles throughout my career. At Nigeria’s national company, NNPC, I started as a safety engineer and transitioned to maintenance and process engineering, where I later managed a gas distribution zone. I then shifted gears to internal audit, driving system improvements, and ultimately landed in corporate governance and regulatory compliance. Contributing to the smooth transition of an NNPC subsidiary following landmark legislation in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector was particularly rewarding, allowing me to directly impact the company and contribute to positive change for Nigerians.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? I co-founded a new student club at GSB, overcoming initial hurdles in the process. I am excited about its impact in further strengthening the GSB community while also contributing to the future students’ experience. Additionally, I’ve also rekindled my love for soccer and tennis, hobbies I previously neglected due to time constraints. By graduation, I aim to add three more sports to my repertoire: golf, skiing, and “inbox zero”!

What has been your best memory as an MBA so far? The most memorable aspect of my GSB journey is connecting with people from diverse backgrounds. I’ve met individuals from far-flung corners of the globe, pursuing careers I never knew existed and with aspirations I erstwhile thought impossible. Engaging with classmates through coffee chats, group dinners, and trips has broadened my horizons and challenged my perspectives in the best way possible. Every week, I typically take a walk around Stanford’s beautiful campus with a new classmate and chat about everything and anything, with past topics ranging from startup ideas to playlist recommendations.

What advice would you give to a prospective applicant looking to join the Stanford GSB Class of 2026? Have three plans for your MBA journey focusing on admission, goals during the program, and work-life balance. For admission, invest time in introspection to create a compelling application that reflects your unique story and aspirations. Pour your heart into your essays, even if they feel deeply personal. Many classmates say their essays are so personal they couldn’t share them with some family and friends. Once at the GSB, leverage the multitude of resources available to explore new paths. GSB offers countless opportunities, so having a clear direction helps you navigate the program and make informed choices while remaining open to new possibilities. Lastly, the program can be intense, so plan how to stay connected to loved ones and maintain a healthy balance between academics and personal life. Most importantly, have fun and embrace the journey!


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