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Real Humans of Accenture: Mogbekeloluwa Koye-Ladele, INSEAD ’18, Strategy Consultant

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Accenture is a leading professional services company, with operations in over 200 cities in 51 countries, and employing just over a half-million people.  The organization is comprised of five businesses: Accenture Strategy, Accenture Consulting, Accenture Digital, Accenture Technology and Accenture Operations. The INSEAD MBA alumnus profiled in this edition of Real Humans: Alumni joined the Accenture Strategy division, at the crossroads of consulting & tech with a dash of consumer goods.  Read on for Mogbekeloluwa’s story from Nigeria to Fontainebleau and beyond.

Mogbekeloluwa Koye-Ladele, INSEAD ’18, Strategy Consultant

Mogbekeloluwa Koye-Ladele, INSEAD ’18, Strategy Consultant at Accenture

Age: 28
Hometown: Ibadan, Nigeria. Ibadan is this absolutely lovely old town in the South West of Nigeria. It is famous for its seven hills, its sea of brown roofs, and delicious street food.
Undergraduate Institution and Major: I studied mechanical engineering at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria. I graduated in 2011.
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration: I graduated from INSEAD in 2018. While it’s a general management MBA, I skewed my electives towards strategy, brand management, and marketing

Pre-MBA Work Experience: I had six years of work experience before the MBA, all of which were with P&G. P&G is a great place to work with many amazing people and I really loved it there!
Post-MBA Work Experience:
It’s now just over a year since I graduated from INSEAD and I have spent the past 11 months in consulting at Accenture Strategy.

Why did you choose to attend business school?
I decided I would attend business school about five years before I applied. The choice was initially based solely on a desire to learn more about business as a vehicle for change. Growing up in Nigeria, a level-2 country with average daily incomes ranging from $2 to $8 (I prefer Hans Rosling’s approach where countries are split into four levels by average income to the developing-developed world approach), I thought a lot about how things would get better if more people could start and run businesses easier. I spent a lot of time doodling my thoughts and independently developed a version of Paul Samuelson’s Circular Flow diagram, which describes the flow of income through economies. (Imagine how disappointed I was when I found out my new ‘discovery’ was older than both my parents!)

When I eventually applied to INSEAD in 2017, I had three additional reasons. I wanted the strong global network, a credential that signaled the learning I had been doing on my own and would continue at the program, and to pivot careers.

Why INSEAD? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
It could only have been INSEAD!  First, I wanted to do a great program in as little time as possible and INSEAD’s one-year MBA colored inside that box perfectly!

Second, I had always wanted to see the world through the eyes of people who had grown up elsewhere (and hopefully spent their adolescence doing more fun things than thinking about income flows!). With students from 74 countries (in my class) and no hyper-dominant culture, INSEAD was the perfect melting pot. My perspective was broadened beyond what I had imagined to be possible!

Third, would you pass on the chance to live in a lovely French village just outside Paris and on the edge of an idyllic forest?

There was also the fact that I had three senior friends who went to INSEAD before I did, and I was very taken by their descriptions of the place. By the start of 2017 it had become an obsession! I recall having what felt like an out-of-body experience when I finally saw the campus for the first time early in 2018.

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
Speaking broadly, one of the more important things I left INSEAD with was a different and more structured approach to thinking. While that is useful in almost every line of work, I think it is especially useful in strategy consulting. More specifically, many of my courses in strategy and brand management have been useful in the projects I have done since switching into consulting.

On the personal side of things, the MBA experience helped me identify some of my self-limiting behaviors and take concrete steps to address them. One of the most difficult and yet most beneficial things that happened during the MBA was this discussion with my study group where we talked honestly about our experience working together. You could tell that these were all people who deeply cared about each other sitting down and describing their frustrations working together. It was an uncomfortable few hours for everyone, but it was very useful to sit there and take the feedback. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but every time I am sitting in a meeting and starting to zone out because someone is taking too long to get to the point, I hear Eliseu (from my study group) saying “Koye, be present.”

What was your internship during business school?  How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I did not do a traditional internship as I had to spend a few weeks back in Nigeria for personal reasons. Instead, I did a Study Project alongside a few classmates with Google to develop a guide on implementing Agile methodology in large marketing organizations. It was something to do flexibly over summer and had no bearing on my post-MBA career choice.

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
I chose Accenture Strategy for a few reasons. First, I wanted to do consulting for a while but I wanted to focus on consumer goods. Most consulting firms prefer consultants to start out as generalists, but I wanted to continue working in consumer goods and immediately leverage my relevant pre-MBA experience. Second, I wanted to work at the intersection of business and technology, and Accenture is a leader in that space.

There were a host of other factors that figured prominently into my decision and now I’m just reeling off a list from my aptly-named ‘Decision Matrix’ spreadsheet. “Exit exit,” which was a phrase my career coach at INSEAD used in reference to your next job after your immediate post-MBA job. Learning opportunities. Ease of reversibility J. Language. And a few other personal reasons.

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
I’m going to dig a little deep so I don’t say something obvious like “prepare well for interviews” LOL. Maybe this: I would be as selective with my applications if I was job-hunting at INSEAD again.

One of the decisions I made heading into full-time recruiting was that I was only going to apply to firms I could actually work at and where I was a strong fit for the culture and position. That meant there were many attractive positions at great companies I did not apply to, but it also meant my conversion rate from applications to offers was pretty high because I had a strong selling proposition for most positions I applied to.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would skip even more networking events and spend all that time reaching out via LinkedIn instead. I am an introvert and I am much better at creating connections one-on-one than in the crowded setting of a networking event.

Except for the team from a certain consumer goods company where we really connected over a chat about the industry, hardly anyone I met at a networking event remembered me afterwards. That is unsurprising because I found the events uncomfortable and struggled to get a word in among so many brilliant extroverted colleagues.

What really worked for me was reaching out over LinkedIn! Writing thoughtful notes to people and connecting one-on-one is something I excel at – so if I were doing this again – I would ignore the herd and play to my strengths.

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
After six phone calls with people I cold-emailed on LinkedIn? No! I knew exactly what to expect at every stage.

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
I got a lot of very useful advice so I honestly don’t think I was missing any advice. I think the bit that was most helpful was about challenging myself and constantly trying to advance the boundaries of my comfort zone. For example, this bit of advice (which first came from a senior friend and INSEAD alumni – Deji Adesina MBA 16J) resulted in me pushing myself to try for being valedictorian at the France campus graduation. That worked out, and it ended up being the best way to end the amazing year!

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.