Damilola Oyedele is in the third and final year of a double master’s program in Business Administration and Public Policy (MBA/ MPP) at the University of Chicago, after which she will be joining a tech company as Senior Product Manager. She got her BSc in Economics from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.
CN: What other work experience do you have?
After graduating from OAU I worked for a year at Red Media Africa as editor for the internet newspaper YNaija.com when it first launched. I then moved to KPMG Advisory Services, where I worked for two years as a management consultant. I’ve also taken shorter consulting and business operations roles in technology, non-profit, and education organizations.
CN: What are your primary responsibilities daily?
I am a full-time student right now. At school I also serve as a career advisor for first-year MBA students, and as a co-chair for the Chicago Africa Business Group. My typical work week involves classes, studying, running programs for CABG, reviewing resumes and cover letters, and helping first-year students figure out their recruiting strategy.
CN: What do you consider to be the best career decision you’ve ever made?
The best career decision I ever made was moving from my parent’s home in Ibadan to my grandparents’ home in Lagos barely a month after graduating from university. I moved to pursue my passion for writing by taking a course for young writers with Red Media Africa. That unexpectedly led to a paid and fulfilling job with Red Media well before I was done with NYSC, and it gave me the confidence to pursue the many opportunities that I have continued to seize and build upon.
CN: What do you like most about your work?
I’m a big picture thinker/ person. Looking back on past jobs and internships, I’ve always enjoyed diving deep into business challenges, breaking them into small parts, and figuring out how to solve those, whether the challenge is getting relevant content to readers, improving a banking client’s customer service channels, or figuring out which countries a tech company should launch its next operations initiative in. I also enjoy analysing data, finding patterns, and telling stories with numbers. Here at graduate school I love being a career advisor- I derive joy from helping students figure out what they want to pursue and how to go about it.
CN: What do you like least about it?
I get bored when I’m doing routine tasks that don’t engage my creative side, but I’ve come to accept that they are a necessary evil.
CN: What is your personal philosophy?
“Bloom where you are planted”. It is a quote by Hillary Rodham Clinton which aptly describes my life approach and trajectory.
CN: What advice do you wish someone had given you as an undergraduate?
Build solid relationships with the most unlikely of your classmates. Be aggressive about finding internship opportunities during school breaks and strikes. Travel to cities and states you’ve never visited around the country! Try out a lot of extracurricular activities and pursue opportunities outside your department or faculty.
CN: Who are your role models?
Biola Alabi, for her impressive career path and her enduring, pan-African impact.
Yanbing Li, for being a leader in the male dominated high-tech industry and doing it in the highest of heels.
Misan Rewane and Issa Rae are closer to my age, in different continents, and working in vastly different industries, but they both inspire me endlessly with their vision, drive, and creativity.
CN: Which books have really made a difference in the way you think and live?
The Bible is always relevant with fresh lessons for me.
Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe is a beautifully written novel whose lessons ring true today, over 50 years later.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini taught me about love, forgiveness, and second chances.
Spirit-Controlled Temperament by Tim LaHaye helped me understand myself better.
Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado was a great read as an undergraduate trying to figure out what to do with my life.
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