Interview 3: Dolapo Koku

Dolapo Koku (CEng MSc, University of Manchester, BEng University of Birmingham), INSEAD

Prior to enrolling on an MBA at INSEAD, Dolapo gained extensive global experience in the engineering industry working across various process technologies within the Energy value chain. Dolapo started his career as a process engineer on the BOC Gases UK graduate training programme, completing rotational assignments across core engineering functions and building transferrable skills within operations performance management. Seeking opportunities to gain exposure to new markets, Dolapo spent time in Nigeria working in the Oil & Gas sector before moving to Belgium with Prima LNG, where he led the implementation of digital and asset management strategies across a decentralised group of European energy companies. His most recent role involved the delivery of digital transformation projects for E-ON UK that leveraged the digitalisation of assets to unlock additional commercial value.

When did you start thinking about doing an MBA?
After completing the BOC gases graduate programme, I wanted to gain more commercial business exposure alongside my technical engineering knowledge as I believed this would equip me with a more strategic value creation mindset. This led me to seek professional opportunities within business development and change transformation before I identified the MBA as an opportunity to build business decision making and executive leadership skills.

What do you hope to achieve through your MBA experience?
I see the MBA as a unique opportunity to build business management and leadership skills alongside a diverse community of inspired and impact-seeking professionals. Having spent the core part of my career within the Energy sector, I look forward to expanding my knowledge on key topics across wider industries and building complementary skills for executive business decision making. I would like to gain broader skills within corporate strategy, corporate finance, and new business models, to strengthen my capabilities as a future business leader. Above all, I am looking forward to a transformative journey that will be both professionally and personally rewarding.

How will you use your MBA to further your career? 
Following the MBA, I intend to pursue a product management role where I can build impactful products that leverage technology to unlock unclaimed value across various Industry sectors. The MBA will allow me to expand my business executive knowledge and build expertise in areas such as digital technology management, venture building and corporate strategy. In addition to the personal friendships that I will make during the MBA, I believe being part of the INSEAD alumni network will provide ample opportunities for collaboration, impact and growth. INSEAD is well renowned for breeding successful entrepreneurial talent, and I also believe the MBA will be a stepping-stone towards an entrepreneurial venture of my own in the near future.

What are your expectations of being part of the SMF network after business school?
As a member of the SMF community, I look forward to becoming part of a lifelong network of diverse and talented engineers with a unified goal of making a positive impact through business. I hope to work together with like-minded professionals in core and non-core engineering sectors to support the advancement of new digital business models, the emergence of engineering talent and the transition of wider UK Industry towards a more sustainable outlook. I would like to also extend this spirit of collaboration to tackle both local and broader global challenges, through exploring innovation opportunities within the RAE Enterprise Hub and building international partnership through schemes such as the RAE Africa Prize.

How do you hope to support SMF after you graduate from business school? 
As an SMF ambassador and Chartered Engineer, I look forward to mentoring aspiring engineers with their development journey from university to Chartership through initiatives such as the Engineering Leader’s Scholarship Scheme. The UK is currently facing a projected engineering skills gap, and I also believe programs such as the RAE’s This is Engineering Campaign will play a key part in inspiring a future generation. Having supported wider initiatives to promote social mobility and diversity representation across UK engineering, I also aspire to work with the SMF community to promote a more equitable industry outlook through targeted STEM educational grants, fundraising and strategic partnerships.

How did you learn about the SMF scholarship?
I learnt about the SMF from my network of UK engineers who introduced me to previous SMF ambassadors that had secured the scholarship during their MBA.

What tip would you give to someone seeking financial support to do an MBA?
The decision to pursue an MBA is often a major financial commitment for all students, and uncertainty over financial support is often the first barrier that appears on a prospective candidate’s decision journey. However, there are multiple lending sources and supporting grants such as the SMF award, which can play an important role in bridging the gap. I would advise speaking to the school, past alumni or relevant professional networks to understand opportunities for wider financial support.

Dolapo Koku can be found on LinkedIn.

Find out how to apply for a scholarship.

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