Real Humans of the York University Schulich School of Business
Kike Oyerinde, York Schulich MBA
Why business school? Why now? After an LLM in International Commercial Law, I moved back home to work in the energy sector. Three years after, I began to get restless and needed a challenge to propel my career on a trajectory that would allow me explore other sectors and interact in other cultures. I also craved a challenge that would force me out of my comfort zone and stimulate professional growth. The time is right because I had outgrown my previous role and was at point in my professional journey where the experience could be more easily conceptualized and appreciated.
Why the York University Schulich School of Business MBA program? When I made the decision to go to business school, I wanted something that would build on my training as an ‘international’ lawyer and my goal of being a global professional. I wanted a program that would not be so narrow that it explored business practices within a singular market or continent but one that was exploratory across the globe. So my first search was for a program that had a wider curriculum and focused on training business professionals who had the skills to better integrate across business cultures. I was searching for an International MBA (IMBA) experience and research turned out only two business schools, of which Schulich was a no-brainer. The IMBA program required multilingualism; a mandatory International Work Term, allowing students to gain work experience in a country they most likely would never have worked; and its location in one of the most diverse countries/cities in the world was certainly an International professional’s dream.
What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend? The culture at the school and its position on sustainable business practices. Schulich fortifies my belief that the world is only better when we embrace and integrate diversity and understand that our core strength lies in our differences. Most importantly I wanted a school that was a family, that not only taught Sustainability but imbibed it in its very fibre. As a bonus, i was pleasantly surprised at how much the school continued to invest and support in its Students and Alumni network across the globe. Of course, its ranking as the Number 1 Business School in Canada was a ‘cherry on the cake.’
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to your MBA class? I am the only lawyer in my class and as such I am able to bring to my class a critical and logical perspective to discussions. Also, being well traveled I am able to share insights on certain cultures that are not common knowledge within my cohort.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application? I went parasailing in Cancun and the next item on my bucket list is to conquer the great wall of China to celebrate my graduation.
Post-MBA career interests: My career interests after my IMBA revolve around an integration of my Legal background and Strategy Consulting. I seek a career that will allow me interact across business cultures and environments and gather experience across different sectors. My utopia would be a role within which I am allowed to bring about change and see the impact my work makes.
Advice to Prospective MBA Applicants
One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process? I would certainly reach out again to the recruiting team and speak with as many of the staff as possible. This allowed me to get a glimpse into the culture at the institution as my expectations were adequately managed. This provided insight for me as an applicant in figuring out whether the school would be a good fit for me or not. This was one of the distinguishing factors with the process at Schulich. The team was very helpful and truly interested in applicants, both on an academic and social level. Proof of this is that even after recruitment, the team still remains involved in our progress and provides all sorts of support towards ensuring that we maximize our individual experiences here. My recruiter remains a dear friend, who in sharing his professional journey has helped me overcome hurdles in providing insight on crucial issues.
One thing you would change or do differently? If I had the chance to go through the process all over again I would make sure to attend a Schulich Open House, not minding that I was living in Nigeria at the time I decided to get an MBA. A few weeks ago I was privileged as a Schulich Graduate Ambassador to attend the Schulich Open House. Forty-eight hours after the event, I received two messages from individuals I had interacted with; both of whom had swiftly moved from being prospective students to applicants, and potential members of the Schulich class of 2021. It seemed to me that viewing Schulich through my eyes, was the deciding factor for these applicants and that in itself was humbling and a true reflection of the culture here: at Schulich everyone is collectively invested in your success. My colleague and fellow Ambassador on the IMBA had shared how attending Experience Schulich last year had inspired her decision to come to here. Being a part of the program put her comment into perspective and convinced me that I had missed out on the best part of the recruiting process at Schulich.
Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it? If I could, I would have skipped the GMAT. Coming from a strictly Arts background I had never been comfortable with numbers and unsuccessfully looked for ways to avoid taking the test. However, what taking the test taught me is that with the right attitude, consistency and motivation, there is no mountain one cannot overcome. I am better off for it.
Greatest highlight so far at Schulich/York? My greatest highlight came when I successfully created a set of Accounting Books. When I saw the curriculum at the start of the term, I had a meltdown and in panic emailed the professor. She was most helpful and accomodating of the novice accountant in her class. A month later, including over 20 hours of work and a sleepless weekend spent looking for $9000, I not only created a set of Financial Statements but I actually balanced my every ledger/journal and produced a complete set of accounting books. At Schulich you can count on getting the support you require for growth.
One thing about Schulich/York that you didn’t expect before arriving? I am still overwhelmed at how invested and supportive the faculty here at Schulich are. They constantly go out of their way to mentor, guide, educate, support, motivate, and most of all communicate their confidence in our abilities. They are a significant part of our success both in and out of the classroom not to mention their world class credentials. Only at Schulich will professors make cold calls to anyone and everyone in propelling the attainment of a student’s dreams.
Thing you were most anxious about in your first year? I was most anxious about the quantitative aspect of the course which was also contradictorily the reason why I was convinced that Business School would be one of the greatest challenges of my professional career. However I realise now that my fear had been holding me back all these years as with the right mix of substantial hard work; dedication; and inspiring professors, Quants became quite intriguing.
Thing you were most excited about in your first year? I was most excited about the diversity of my class and all the amazing people and experiences I would be exposed to. Months into the program I am still surprised at the ‘AHA’ moments I get and how much I am learning from the Schulich Community. Just being here has been the best decision of my life and certainly an MBA will propel one’s career and stimulate growth, however a Schulich MBA will change your life in more ways than you could ever imagine, in the process.