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INSEAD Alum talks about his MBA experiences and returning to Africa

Prodigy Finance - July 29, 2016

INSEAD Alum talks about his MBA experiences and returning to Africa

Ighodaro, from Nigeria, graduated from INSEAD with the 2013D class. Since completing his MBA, he has done an internship in private equity and joined Bain and Company in South Africa. Read about how INSEAD gave him the opportunity to re-launch his career into strategy consulting in Africa which was a target for him when he joined the programme.

What were you doing before you went to INSEAD?

I was working as a strategy implementation officer in a top 8 commercial Bank in Lagos, Nigeria. I had previously worked as a consultant with KPMG and had a stint at an asset management firm.

How was INSEAD an important experience for you?

INSEAD was a definitive year in my life. It gave me a deep appreciation of the diversity across the many countries where my colleagues came from. Today, I have acquaintances living in and from all parts of the world who I met, worked and had fun with at INSEAD. I also had a rather steep learning curve on subjects of interest including private equity, project finance and emerging markets.  INSEAD also gave me the opportunity to re-launch my career into strategy consulting in Africa which was a target for me when I joined the programme.

What does life as an INSEAD MBA student look like?

I guess it’s not the same for everyone. Since I am married and my wife was not with me at the programme; life as a student was split between time on campus - having classes running from about 9am till 5pm (especially in earlier periods), having some chats and group meetings, attending a school event (especially during recruiting!) - and then heading home to skype with my wife and catch up on the home front. Many of my colleagues spent weekends traveling around Europe but I didn’t get to do much travel as I had a limited budget.

What opportunities has Prodigy and getting your MBA opened up for you?

I would say that Prodigy Finance was ‘God-sent’! It was the sole platform that funded my MBA besides the little savings I had previously. In Nigeria, there were no financing alternatives that were near viable and so I would not have been able to secure my admission without Prodigy's support. Like I said earlier, I had wanted to re-launch my career and was considering private equity and consulting. The MBA allowed me to have an internship opportunity in private equity and join Bain and Company in South Africa full time which did exceed my expectations for the programme.

You’ve previously said that, since finishing your MBA, your interests in the “African story” and its potential have grown even further than before. By moving back to Nigeria after completing your MBA, have you been able to pursue this interest further and if yes, how?

I am a firm believer in the African story despite the current commodities crisis stalling economic growth in key countries. I worked with Bain to help set up its Lagos office having the opportunity to influence investments, corporate strategy and national development in Nigeria in the process.

What are your thoughts on the community model of Prodigy Finance, in particular, that Alumni are investing in MBA students?

I think it’s a powerful model. Alumni understand the challenges of funding an MBA and the different backgrounds which translate to different levels of access to finance. It would be nice to see more engagement from Alumni though.

What was your experience like with the Prodigy application process and the customer service you received?

I had a very positive experience. I remember that I always got same day or next day feedback and updates on the status of the application. I also experienced a very good level of engagement when I asked questions on the process. I will say to Prodigy to keep this up!

What are the three tips you would give to incoming business school students based on your experiences?

My top three would be: to be sure you make friends across each continent (you will need this for life!), pursue the passion that brought you to b-school and open your mind to learn different views of business and life beyond your previous experience and exposure. Have fun!

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