2021 MBAs To Watch: Joshua Eniola, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

Resilient problem solver, passionate about people and learning.”

Hometown: Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria

Fun fact about yourself: I am a food connoisseur and spend my free time cooking and exploring new dishes alongside my wife

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Lagos, Bsc (Hons), Civil and Environmental Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Nestle, Category Development (Brand) Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Freedom Mortgage, New Jersey

Where will you be working after graduation? TBD

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: Co-President Adam Smith Society, Board Member, Technology Club and Owen Black Student Association

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? It was my decision to pursue 3 MBA concentrations in Finance, Marketing, and Strategy. Finance concentration was a major push for me, and after months of struggling, I have been able to accelerate my learning curve. 

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I led cross-functional teams through the product innovation phase to successfully launch three new products at Nestle. This helped to provide affordable nutrition to millions of households in Nigeria.

Why did you choose this business school? Personal touch – I wanted to be part of a Business School that was not too big and prioritized close engagement with faculty and students. Aside from learning, expanding my network was a top priority driving my desire to attend Business School.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Steve Hoeffler. He is a great Professor of Marketing and has been more of a mentor to me. I had my first teaching assistant role with Steve, and it was a great experience.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Closing Bell – a weekly event where students and faculty get to interact over drinks. It was yet another way that Owen demonstrated personal touch. I didn’t know how much I enjoyed it until COVID happened.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Relax more. It was an intense experience for me, but I think being more relaxed about the experience is important. I would definitely have more fun!

What is the biggest myth about your school? Competitive but not cutthroat. I feel its way more competitive than we all like to admit, but then I agree that it’s not cutthroat.

What surprised you the most about business school? Academic intensity. I certainly didn’t expect business school to be that intense.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? Going to a school’s admissions event gave me an opportunity to meet and engage with the Admissions Team. This not only personalized me to them but made the application process more personal for me.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Travis Welwood. He is authentic and an exceptional leader. He went out of his way to engage with the international student community.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? The full online switch was initially uncomfortable. That’s because a big part of my MBA experience was engaging with classmates and using the amazing facilities that Owen offered. The switch to hybrid was a lot better, because it addressed some of my concerns.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Both my parents have MBAs from Nigeria, and they inspired me to pursue a world-class MBA.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I want to be a subject matter expert in my chosen field and have the opportunity to support others to grow professionally.

What made Joshua such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“I have interacted with Joshua as both a professor (in the Marketing core class as well as a Healthcare Marketing class), and he served as a Teaching Assistant for me this past fall. As a student, Joshua is clearly one of the best and brightest in his class – and willing and able to share his experiences marketing consumer goods in a different culture with the rest of the class. Even though he had ample experience, he was willing and eager to tackle new concepts and to come up with creative solutions to problems. For example, in the Healthcare Marketing class, he was a leader of his team in finding relevant and interesting data for a project about a national hospital system that was looking to enhance patient centered care while being more attractive to physicians in a growing market. The data he uncovered was pivotal in supporting the team recommendations, and the outside client was extremely impressed with the approach suggested.

As a Teaching Assistant, Joshua was a joy to work with and a great help, as the core marketing class was modified due to the hybrid nature of the class (with half the students in person and half remote). Joshua came up with great ideas that helped with the pedagogy of the class. For example, with Joshua’s urging, I modified the discussion of some case issues by breaking out both groups of students (in-class and online) into teams to discuss the issue and then bringing everyone together to share their group’s ideas. This really helped integrate the two groups of students and was just one example of how helpful and what a great resource it was to have Joshua as a TA.”

Steve Hoeffler
Professor of Marketing

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