The London Business School had the international student base, burgeoning London tech sector, and flexible program that Tobi Ogunsanya was looking for in an MBA. In this edition of Real Humans: Alumni, Ogunsanya describes how learning balance, resilience, and creativity at LBS prepared him for his consulting career at Bain.
Tobi Ogunsanya, LBS MBA ’22, Consultant at Bain & Company
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Warwick, Politics and International Studies
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): London Business School, 2022
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 7 years, Management Consulting
Post-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Bain & Company, 8 months, Management Consulting
Why did you choose to attend business school?
I had got to a stage in my career where it seemed the natural thing to do for my career progression
Why LBS? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
LBS was the only programme I applied to for 3 key reasons:
(1) the international student base; it was important for me to attend a programme with a strong international student base. As someone who aspires to have a truly global career and is open to living abroad in the future, the prospect of building a network with other students from a range of countries appealed to me as well as the prospect of learning from students from a range of cultures and working experiences. With ~90% of the student base being international, this was a differentiator for me.
(2) the burgeoning tech scene in London was also a key factor for me as I knew this was a career path that I wanted to try out as part of my MBA experience. Having spent ~7 years in Consulting prior to the MBA, I relished the opportunity to try my hands in a new industry in a new role. LBS bucks the trend when it comes to career paths that graduates go on to with nearly ~30% of students going into the technology sector vs just the traditional path of consulting. Having got the chance to spend a summer internship working at Google in their Cloud practice, this was a unique experience that I was able to obtain because of the LBS MBA programme.
(3) Last, but not least, the flexibility that came with the 2-year programme was very important to me. Given the crossroad I was at in my career, it was important for me to have time to be able to explore, experiment, and decide the best course of action for my long-term ambitions. The flexible nature of the programme meant that I was able to work across numerous sectors, from big Tech to even a start-up. This gave me confidence in making informed decisions when it came to what I wanted to do post-MBA.
What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
The ability to balance so many competing demands is something which I didn’t expect to learn but has helped me in abundance with my current career.
The MBA is a fast-paced experience with many ups and downs. From staying on top of my academics to taking advantage of the many social / networking opportunities to taking ownership of my career path with recruitment, you quickly learn how to become resilient, proactive, and driven towards your goals.
These skills have stood me in good stead for my consulting career, where consultants need to exercise resilience to deliver results for clients, be proactive (and creative) in solving problems, and remain goal-oriented to drive sustainable success for our clients.
What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
I did 3 internships during my time at LBS – one at Bain in their private equity group doing tech-focussed due diligences, a second with Google in their cloud practice helping to drive the re-use of technical assets to minimise rework when engaging new customers, and lastly, working for a fintech start-up that is helping to address the challenge of liquidity in highly illiquid markets such as Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) investing through diversification.
Ultimately, my decisions post-MBA were a sum of these experiences and the lessons I learned through practical internships.
Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
I chose to go to Bain & Company due to the accelerated learning path that it allowed both in terms of skills and content knowledge.
It was important to me to choose a career path that would challenge me intellectually and allow me to continue the journey of growth that I had enjoyed on the MBA. The nature of the consulting industry, which allows you to work across multiple industries and a wide range of topics solving the most pressing challenges for clients, meant that this was ultimately the career path that I chose to pursue.
How has COVID impacted your industry/career plans?
Negligible, there are trade-offs in every decision, and this is no different in terms of the impact of COVID on the consulting sector and my career plans. However, nothing was materially different in how I would have approached my career plans.
Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search
The MBA is the best key in the world to unlock doors for networking conversations with employees in your target companies. I took full advantage of being able to network with people through company presentations and even platforms like LinkedIn. I was surprised at how many of my cold reach-outs typically resulted in a coffee chat either with the respondent or someone else who they put me in touch with.
–One thing you would change or do differently
Strive for better balance. I leaned into student life a lot, and sometimes this was at the expense of relationships I had outside of the MBA. For sure, it is important to make the most out of the MBA experience, but it is also just as important to know when you need to “reset” and step out of the bubble sometimes!
–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
No – the only nuance was online interviews, which again was a trade-off. The opportunity to build a good rapport in person was missing, but Zoom interviews were also less stressful, so I like to think that everything balanced out in the end regardless of COVID.
–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
“The truly free individual is free only to the extent of his or her own self-mastery.” The MBA is what you make of it and is your experience to own. Be clear on what your priorities are, and be deliberate in building your mastery.