I didn’t want a continuation of “work” but a hard shift that gave me the time to reconnect and rediscover my whole self; while tangibly advantaging myself on my return.
Kudirat Olateju

Kudirat Olateju

Nationality/Passport: British Year of graduation: 2024 Current Role: Emerging Markets Investment Research at T. Rowe Price

Could you share something unexpected about you?

I have visited over 36 countries. 38 after the next two weeks!

Tell us about yourself, and how you got to where you are today both on a professional and personal level?

I’m a “throw my hat in the wind and see where it takes me” kind of person, so the specifics of my career and life to date have never been a part of my planning, but my conscious approach has always been to give myself maximum optionality. That means if I want to explore / access / achieve / buy X I can, but I don’t have to.

I’ve worked as hard as I can simply to make sure I have that opportunity, more often than not, to go wherever, whenever. That said, more personally, on another level it was just always enjoying the journey so much it was reflected in the outcome: After all, I share a joke my mum once told me, “How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans”.

What motivated you to choose the INSEAD MBA, and how do you envision it aligning with your future goals, even at this early stage?

I didn’t want a continuation of “work” but a hard shift that gave me the time to reconnect and rediscover my whole self; while tangibly advantaging myself on my return.

INSEAD was the only business school that appealed to that entirely, being half way across the world; a big proponent of authenticity; and deeply reflective of my entire spectrum of values including global citizenship, business as a force for good and excellence in all.

What were your impressions of campus life so far and how did you navigate accommodation, and sorting out all the admin? Any tips for incoming students?

I started the programme in Singapore, and I could never have imagined being so glad to choose somewhere close to the campus for accommodation. Breaks are pretty spacy and it’s extra-convenient after gym in the middle of the day. That said, move as early as you can to start the process. There was both lots of demand and lots of supply, so you had to move fast if you liked somewhere, but your chances were okay of getting it if you did.

We weren’t clear on our “must haves” at first, so by the end we’d looked at maybe 30 places in what felt like a very short and intense time. But trust you will find something, just be very picky about your preferences so you don’t drain yourself considering all that’s on offer.

Could you share a little about your application process, securing financing, and making your way to Singapore/Fontainebleau?

Luckily applying in the second round means I had what felt like lots of time to secure financing because Lendwise were very used to the INSEAD timeline. The application was very simple and only a soft credit check until the contract was signed shortly before coming to Singapore. 

The visa process was also pretty straight forward, but as a natural source of uncertainty I would advise being open to spending time on either campus because if there is a delay, INSEAD are very accommodating and can change your home campus. 

The Singapore campus is everything I’d hoped it would be. It’s similar to London in that there’s a lot to do in a city surrounded by greenery, so it hasn’t been hard to find my feet routine-wise when it comes to things like the gym, cycling around, dance and many other extra-curriculars.

In your first few weeks, what aspects of the INSEAD MBA have stood out to you as unique or particularly appealing?

The intro week was unlike anything I could have expected or prepared for. It was also very gratifying seeing how intentionally and creatively every day of our time here has been thought out and designed. I knew I was going to grow beyond my expectations and in ways I didn’t expect after those first three days alone.

Aside from your academic pursuits, what extracurricular interests or activities are you exploring at INSEAD, and how do you see them enhancing your overall MBA experience?

I am a very active investor, and have luckily been exposed to many asset classes, public and private, except for venture capital. Naturally I ran to join the INSEAD Private Equity & Venture Capital Club and the INSEAD Student Impact Fund (ISIF), to get involved in these as soon as possible.

Beyond enriching me as an investor, hopefully being able to share what I’ve learnt from my previous career also enhances me as a communicator and allows me to develop even more relationships with members of other cohorts.

Any parting words of wisdom, and are you willing to be contacted for more information by prospective students?

Be open. This is not the place to just take a break and get a degree. You would be short-selling your time here if you did it that way. Lean into the socialising, reflection, and the time for real and courageous self-exploration and reflection.