Sainsbury Management Fellows

Interview 5: Kofoworola Agbaje

Kofoworola Agbaje (MEng, Imperial College London), The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania Wharton
Kofoworola earned a first-class degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering before joining the Royal Bank of Scotland’s graduate programme as a Graduate IT Analyst. During her six years plus stint at RBS, she worked on several high-profile projects including integration of ABN AMRO and RBS IT systems after the acquisition, and development of new risk models to improve the bank’s risk management strategies and comply with FCA regulatory requirements after the financial crisis.

Outside of RBS, she held multiple leadership positions in non-profit organisations. Kofoworola was a school Governor at Sparrow Farm Infant and Nursery School where she assisted in improving the school’s Ofsted ratings from Requires Improvement to Good. She was also a mentor for SEO London, assisting A-level students with navigating university and career options.

What inspired you to study for an MBA?
I have a passion for technological innovation and a deep interest in entrepreneurship. My engineering degree and professional experience have been densely focused on technology and I believed it was essential for me to enhance my business knowledge and global perspective. An MBA provided an opportunity to do this and also opportunities to meet and learn from a diverse group of students with very similar interests. The environment also provides the right platform to embark on the journey of entrepreneurship with a class full of possible co-founders with strengths across various industries, and professors and alumni ready and willing to provide industry insights and advice across all subjects and regions.

What was the most rewarding part of applying for the SMF scholarship?
The immediate network of post-MBA engineers it gave me access to. I reached out to past winners of the scholarship during the application process and they were happy to share their knowledge of the application process and answer questions.  They were also happy to share their MBA experience and offer advice on how to take advantage of the MBA programme and enjoy the experience. I got to know some great people even before becoming part of the network and am still in touch with them even after the application process ended.

What does winning the scholarship mean to you?
Winning the scholarship means lower financial pressure which gives me the freedom to take full advantage of the MBA and take part in the activities that mean the most to me.  I have the freedom to focus on my entrepreneurial aspirations and have access to a strong network of industry leading professionals that can provide career guidance and mentorship both during and after my MBA.

What tip would you give an applicant for the SMF scholarship?
Start the application early and give yourself enough time to answer the essay questions. Be very precise and direct in your answers and make sure your experience shines through. Share both your professional and personal achievements to tell your story.  Also, reach out to past winners to answer any questions you might have about the application process.

What is your first impression of business school?
I am surrounded by amazing people and amazing opportunities. I have classmates that have climbed the highest peaks in the world, visited over 60 countries, speak five languages, worked in the FBI, started multiple businesses, sold their start-ups etc.

The course is very extensive, a lot more work than I expected but the classes are very interactive and I get to learn from both my professors and other students. There is so much to do and a lot of activities to get involved in, I have joined 7 student-run clubs and every day feels like a stretch experience.   I am loving the experience and taking it one step at a time.

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The Sainsbury Management Fellows is registered as a charity: Engineers in Business Fellowship, charity number 1147203 and is a company limited by guarantee : 07807250