After college, I worked as an electrical engineer in the Chicago area for a German company. After two years, I moved back to Nigeria and worked for General Electric, and that’s where I saw the need for an MBA to take my skill set to the next level. I went to IE Business School in Madrid, where I had a global experience daily. In my class of 400 people, we had students from everywhere: you could get into a debate about the best solution to a problem, and eventually all sides see there isn’t a “normal” solution—it’s whatever you collectively decide. You get the best of each person’s background.
I came to Yale for the Master of Advanced Management program because I wanted to take my business skill sets and that cross-cultural work and go deeper into the energy sector. Last semester in my Corporate Environmental Management Strategy class, I was able to work on a personal project: how to decarbonize the Nigerian electrical grid.
I worked with a team of students from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, with one from Mexico and another from China. Our solution incorporated a bit of China’s energy policy, since they have experience working with Nigeria, and some project finance solutions that have worked well in Mexico. We pooled our different experiences—geographic, personal, and professional—and came up with something that bridged all of the potential gaps.
Yale hands a microphone to people you might not otherwise get a chance to hear from. I had a chance to meet with Andrew S. Winston, who co-authored the book Green to Gold with Professor Daniel C. Esty. It’s been cited in many of my classes as a book that executives follow to make their companies more sustainable.
We met with him after a talk. There were about eight students in the meeting, and we had the opportunity to pick his brain. I got to ask him all of the questions I had about his concepts and how they could relate to Nigeria. Our paths crossed again later on, and he recognized me in the crowd, paused, and said “You’re that guy working on that project in Nigeria.” It’s amazing to get the chance to build that kind of connection with people in your industry.