Monday, March 18, 2019

Five Teachers Who Shaped My Life


I saw The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Netflix) today, and it got me thinking about the many brilliant teachers I have had. While I often give my parents most of the credit for raising me, they were helped by some fine men and women who have dedicated their lives to feeding young minds.

I wrote up a quick post about five teachers who have played important parts in my ongoing journey through eternity.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Why are Goodbyes so Hard? An Amateur Theory


For many millennia, homo sapiens lived in small bands that foraged and lived together (1). Every once in a while, a small group would splinter off in search of better conditions, to avoid or resolve conflict, or after natural calamities, but it is safe to assume many of our ancestors lived most of their lives in the company of people they had always known.

Why am I telling you about unnamed people who lived all their lives in small groups thousands of years ago? Because I theorize that this might partly explain why it is so hard to say goodbye in 2019.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Thoughts On Nigeria's 2019 Elections


I have felt very detached from Nigeria’s elections this year. I remain passionate about the country and committed to its development, but it has been difficult to engage on social media or canvass votes for my preferred candidate.

There are many reasons for this. I was away from Nigeria studying when most of the campaigning started last year, so it was more difficult than in previous election cycles to get involved. Importantly, I am still scarred from my disappointment with Buhari's first term. I was a big fan in 2011 and 2015, thinking he would lead the war on corruption and terrorism and provide a facilitating environment to fuel economic growth and build lasting institutions.

I was wrong, it seems. The war on corruption seems to have been prosecuted selectively; the President defended Ganduje publicly despite video evidence of bribery and remains close to Orji Uzor Kalu who has been accused with a N7.7billion fraud. Court orders have been ignored and there have been attempts to weaponize the judiciary, such as in the cases of El-Zakzaky and Sambo Dasuki who remain in detention despite multiple court orders directing their release. The economy has fared poorly under Buhari’s watch and his administration has missed many opportunities to make tough choices in the best interests of Nigeria.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

INSEAD Class of December 2018 Valedictory Speech



After the incredible year I had at INSEAD, I also had the good fortune to be Valedictorian at the graduation in Fontainebleau, France. (INSEAD holds graduation ceremonies at two campuses: France and Singapore).

The video is available above (embedded YouTube), and I posted the text on Medium here.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

IBADAN - A Poem

A view of Ibadan from Bower's Tower. I took this picture.

Ibadan is good memories,
Of growing up with impish siblings and devoted parents,
Of walking around Iwo Road handing out flyers for church programs,
Of the delicious amala and gbegiri you could find on every side street,
Of brown cardboard boxes that arrived from the United States with loads of books,

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

INSEAD Class of December 2018: One Year to Change my Life



We packed up our lives in Lagos one year ago to go on an adventure in the sleepy old town of Fontainebleau
It is over, just like that. There was one final weekend, one intensive push to chart a path to growth for a digital company in China, and it was over. The most challenging and the best year of my life so far had come to an end.

It felt like a lifetime; it felt like a few weeks. It felt like one beautiful experience after another; it felt like an obstacle course. It felt like a gusher of learning; it felt like drinking from a fire hose.

But all good things come to an end, and when this goes up - I’ll be taking the stage as valedictorian at the INSEAD graduation in Fontainebleau and trying to sum up this amazing year in a few minutes.

I thought I would post this here, for myself, my community of friends and family, and the people who say my stories inspire them. The content is different from what I say in the speech in that it is much more personal.

All my objectives for this year were exceeded.

Friday, November 30, 2018

On Michelle Obama's Becoming...


I finished Michelle Obama's Becoming earlier this morning, and I totally recommend it.

Among other things, she wrote about:

  1. Her professional journey that took her off a more traditional Law path in pursuit of work she loved.
  2. An enthralling ringside account of Barack Obama's meteoric rise to the US Presidency.
  3. A candid take on the difficulty of raising two young daughters in the public eye.

She also wrote powerfully about the challenges she faced in trying to balance career and family, and as I read those - I thought of the many choices men (traditionally) have not had to make. As an aside, I'm glad the conversation about gender roles is advancing. We must accept that humanity cannot achieve its full potential if half the population is held back by various 'norms'.

It's my most highlighted book this year. Again, I recommend it!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

2019 Elections: Why the Third Force Will Not Win, and What We Should Do After They Lose


Idea in Brief: The chances of a third-force candidate emerging President in 2019 are slim. Winning the presidency in Nigeria is expensive and the field is crowded. In the unlikely event of a third-force victory, governance would be near impossible. This does not mean we will be led by the current crop forever. We must support the brilliant new Presidential candidates and continue to engage with a view for the long term.
In 1992, Ross Perot, an independent candidate for President of the United States, won 18.9% of the popular vote. Despite winning no electoral votes, his campaign is described as one of the most successful third-force bids for presidency of the United States. No one has been elected to the US Presidency without running on the platform of one of the six major parties the US has had throughout its existence.

It is exciting that brilliant people like Oby Ezekwesili and Kingsley Moghalu are running for President and articulating a fresh vision for Nigeria. What is unexciting is the reality that the chances of a third-force victory in 2019 are infinitesimally slim. In the highly unlikely scenario of a third-force victory, it is difficult to see how they could successfully govern without representation in the National Assembly.

First, winning the Presidency in Nigeria requires machinery – lots of it. Candidates must campaign across the country, as they need to win the most votes and at least 25% of the votes in 24 of the 36 states. This requires a lot of money and resources. They must also solicit votes from the many Nigerians who don’t have Twitter and require engagement offline. This will require them to rent venues and audio equipment for campaigns, and run TV, radio, print, and billboard adverts in different languages.

Monday, October 22, 2018

How Many Years of Work Experience Do You Need Before an MBA?


People applying to business school often reach out to me with questions. The number one question by a wide margin is "how did you prepare for the GMAT?". I wrote this to answer that.

Recently, I have been seeing an increase in people asking how many years of experience I think they should have before applying to MBA programs. While I enjoy meeting new people, I thought writing and sharing my answer would be more efficient. I put it on Medium so it is easier for people who don't know me to discover it.

My answer is somewhere between three to five years.

Here's a link to the full post.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

INSEAD Africa Business Conference 2018 - Harnessing Africa's Potential: From Ideas to Action

Participants during networking cocktails at the INSEAD Africa Business Conference 2018
Nigeria does not generate enough electricity to power the country around the clock and providing your own power is expensive, so many retailers cannot refrigerate products overnight. As a result, dairy products such as yoghurts cycle between chilled and warm states repeatedly before they are sold. This sometimes causes yoghurts to go bad, as I often found out to my horror as a child.

So, what do you do when you’re Danone and you’re looking to sell your yoghurts in Cameroon? You have to reformulate it. You can’t just sell the same formulations that work in France. You have to design something specifically for your target market in Africa.