2021 Best & Brightest EMBAs: Taiwo Oyewole, London Business School

Taiwo Oyewole

London Business School

“I am extremely hardworking, empathetic, sincere, loyal, true to myself and fun-loving!”

Hometown: London, United Kingdom

Family Members: Four Siblings / Parents

Fun fact about yourself: I come from a Nigerian family with two sets of twins, of which myself and my sister make up the first set, and brother and other sister are the second set.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Imperial College London, Chemical Engineering, MEng.

Where are you currently working? Shell, Strategy Advisor, Decarbonising our downstream businesses.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles: I engage in active fitness three times a week, including running and gym sessions (prior to the lockdown). Another passion of mine is adding value through mentorship. I currently mentor three ethnic minority women who also work in the energy sector.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? During the course of my EMBA, I am most proud of the two panel events I co-organised and hosted with an EMBA colleague, Florian Charles. The first showcased a panel of diverse senior business executives aimed at empowering women and providing fit-for-purpose advice to the attendees. The second was a panel session featuring senior executives from the energy sector discussing the energy transition.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? As I reflect on my career, I am most proud of my ability to adapt and remain resilient, whilst working in various roles within the Upstream, Downstream and Trading businesses. Through managing multiple large and complex projects, I have been able to transition from a technical leader to the commercial side of the energy business.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? I particularly enjoyed Professor Ian Cooper’s Corporate Finance class, as he encouraged dialogue and debates, and used real life examples to explain theoretical topics.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I chose to study at London Business School, given it is a world class institution with a strong global brand, not to mention a widely diverse cohort membership and a phenomenal alumni network. I also wanted a program that would give me exposure to leading professors and industry experts. LBS has fulfilled all of these criteria and more, right from the onset. The breathtaking LBS campus that is located right at the heart of the cosmopolitan and commercial city of London was another appealing factor.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? The EMBA has been an invaluable tool of self-reflection and I have learned a lot about myself during the course, including my ability to multitask by being organised. Prior to participating in the EMBA, I was unaware of the many “unknowns” present in managing a corporate business. However, through the core courses and electives, I now leave LBS with a firmer appreciation for the “known unknowns”. At work, I am able to probe deeper and ask the right questions to various departments from finance to marketing, which has been liberating.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? The EMBA has taught me to be very intentional about my priorities and maximizing the hours during the week. As I have a very demanding job, I made intentional decisions on what I would spend my time on to generate the greatest long-term value. During certain periods of high workload, I delegated certain activities to my team members.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Definitely take the step to invest in your future. What you invest into your MBA is proportional to what you will get out of it. Therefore, learn and participate in class. Do not be afraid to speak up and ask questions. Be supportive to your classmates – chances are you will need someone’s help during the course. Take time to get to know your classmates; network with your cohort and with those outside of your class to form strong relationships. The social events are the biggest bonding opportunities – this is where you get to let your hair down and meet people in their most relaxed state.

Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things. Be open to exploring a new and better version of yourself to discover the new you! You can’t do everything you would like to, so be strategic about the activities you engage in. Finally, avail yourself of all the tools that the program has to offer, from the case studies, student campus groups, industry panel sessions and, after graduation, the alumni network.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? Doing an EMBA later in life is impossible or too much work. On the contrary, it is definitely manageable if you organise your time effectively. There are many senior female executives on my course who have kids, who were able to manage their time and partake in many networking events. Therefore, I would advise prospective students to be ready for that and not be caught off-guard.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Kemi Akinluyi. Throughout the course, she has supported me both academically and personally. Her contributions and insights are invaluable, and I definitely feel my cohort experience has been enriched with her presence. She is an inspiration to me and the other women in the class.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? The Executive MBA offered the greatest value and is best suited to my preferred learning style. Compared to other forms of programs, we are able to have vibrant in-class discussions and also network outside of the classroom.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I am committed to being part of the energy transition and imparting a positive contribution to society by reducing our net carbon emissions. The energy transition is the most complex challenge facing industrialised societies in my generation. My technical engineering expertise coupled with my newly acquired commercial skills will be very useful as we go through the decarbonization journey.

What made Taiwo such an invaluable addition to the class of 2021?

“Taiwo has a professional background at Shell, where she’s recently been promoted into a Strategy Advisor role. She has been very supportive of the recruitment and support of women on the programme at LBS. Taiwo hosted a Women In Business panel event for current students with senior female leaders on their pathways to success. She has also contributed to panel sessions on Green Energy and for women considering an EMBA programme.”

Fiona Lennoxsmith
Director, EMBA programmes:

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