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Of Passion & Determination! This Inspiring Story of Mogbekeloluwa Koye Ladele’s Journey to INSEAD is a Must READ



This is who I am
My name is Mogbekeloluwa, but I prefer to be called Koye, after my father. I am married to Busola, an amazing woman I met in university. I am the first of three children and son of two pastors. I get energy from spending time alone, so I read a lot, write, and photograph landscapes. I have been described as intense, so I probably dispense all that energy to others afterwards.

Professionally, I was most recently a Senior Purchasing Manager at Procter & Gamble, responsible for our advertising across Sub-Saharan Africa.

My early years
I was born and raised in Ibadan. My parents were full-time pastors of a small church, so we were lower middle class. We sometimes missed meals and my dad had to write my school promising to pay my fees in instalments, so I would not be sent home too frequently. I was bullied in primary school because there were holes in my shorts, until one of our associate Pastors bought me new shorts. My dad kept copies of his letters to the school, and when I read them recently – I realized how difficult it was to write them.

Despite the difficulty, my parents kept me in private primary school. My mom comforted me when I was sent home for missing payments and explained the importance of quality primary education. We could not possibly afford private secondary school, so I switched to Loyola College Ibadan and then Wesley College.

I had many great teachers, chief of whom was my mom. She bought me second-hand books, read with me, and found innovative ways to teach me different subjects. She even composed a song to teach me the periodic table! Mr. Aladeloye at Loyola was another great teacher.

My Uni Experience
I wanted to study Mechanical Engineering at the University of Ibadan in 2006, but they introduced a 12-month delay while trying to regularize their calendar. I did not want to wait, so I decided to go to the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) instead. My dad wrote an epistle to the Dean of Technology after learning OAU might not admit me because they were my second choice. It must have worked, because I was admitted with the last batch on the morning of matriculation.

My experience in OAU had ups and downs. I realized in my second year that I no longer wanted to practice engineering, but did enough to graduate with a Second Class Upper degree. It is important to mention this because people often think you cannot get into a world-class business school without a First Class. I held a variety of leadership positions, including being Class Representative and Secretary of the University Joint Christian Mission. I also organized several editions of Beyond Ife, a pre-employment training seminar.

Work Experience
I started aspiring to work at P&G in my second year. I wanted to start work immediately after university, and I wanted to work on products people used every day to make their lives easier. I did not qualify to be tested when P&G came recruiting in my final year as they had shortlisted only the best students, but I talked them into letting me take the test. I am grateful they let me, because it resulted in one of my best experiences so far.

I loved working at P&G. I put in long hours and worked hard, and I was fortunate to work on important projects, be coached by great mentors, and get adequate exposure. I worked in various roles, with increasing responsibility and a promotion in 2016. I was in a good place, and it was difficult for me to leave.

Why MBA?
I started researching the MBA shortly after graduating from OAU. I had read Winning by Jack Welch, and it sparked my interest in how different parts of international businesses worked together to create value. As I pondered the need for inclusive economic development in Nigeria, I concluded that private capital had significant potential to both transform society and create stakeholder-value.

Over time, my career objectives became to lead a multinational business offering products or services people use every day to improve their living experience, and to stimulate economic growth in Nigeria by influencing government policy. I decided to pursue a MBA in order to establish a strong foundation across the many different areas of business. I don’t believe a MBA can make me, or anyone, an expert at business. I still have to put in quality work over many years. However, I expect to learn a solid framework, expand my network, and gain credentials that signal my intention to build an international career.

Choosing a program and Preparing for the GMAT
I researched many schools and decided early on INSEAD. In addition to the quality of the program, class, and faculty – other important things for me were the length of the program and the diversity of the class. INSEAD offers the top-ranked one-year MBA, and is easily the most diverse business school.

To prepare for the GMAT, I started with a practice test to identify areas I was weak at. I focused first on answering questions correctly, then on answering them quickly. It took me about three months of 30-60 minutes a day to prepare for the exam. My primary resources were the GMAT Official Guides and the GMATClub forum. I think prospective MBAs focus on the GMAT to the exclusion of other things, so I should add it is only one of many things Admission Committees consider.

Getting in and Funding my MBA
On the day INSEAD was to call, I kept getting calls from everyone except my Admissions Officer. I had escaped most meetings, but had one with Senior Management from 4pm to 5pm. The call from France came in at 4:06pm. While getting a call usually means you are in, it sucked that I had to wait an hour to actually hear the words. I called back right after the meeting, and yes – I was in!

All along, I had avoided thinking about how to pay the tuition. Between 2012 when I started aspiring to study at INSEAD and 2017 when I got in, the Naira devalued by about 120% versus the Euro and tuition rose by about 30%. I had to make a down-payment within four weeks to confirm my place, and I paid it despite not being sure how I would pay the balance. I had applied for every scholarship I was eligible for, and hoped things would work out.

I applied to Prodigy Finance for a loan while waiting to hear back from INSEAD on scholarships. Prodigy made me an offer within a few days, and I kept that as my backup funding plan. A few weeks after closing with Prodigy, I was notified that I had been awarded the INSEAD Olam MBA Scholarship for Change Catalysts in African Markets. Olam believed in my potential to contribute to change in Africa and was paying 90% of costs for me to study at INSEAD. This was really happening!

One Year to Change Your Life
INSEAD promises an intensive program that challenges your perspective and empowers your future. This started before I got on the plane to France. Writing the essays and preparing for the interviews helped me articulate what was most important to me. I have had many great interactions with classmates, faculty, and alumni, and I look forward to learning and stretching my mind over the coming year.

When I sat on the bare floor in Loyola College Ibadan to learn with eighty other students in JSS1, I could not have guessed that I would someday study at one of the world’s finest business schools. I feel very privileged, and I am grateful to the many people who supported this dream.

Getting my Bachelor’s degree, working at P&G, and studying at INSEAD were once dreams. Not all my dreams come true, but many have. Dreams come true, so please dare to dream and keep moving in the direction of your dreams.

Best wishes for 2018!

Reader, Writer, and Amateur Photographer | INSEAD Olam 2018 MBA Scholar | Lover of good books. Believer in conscious capitalism. | #RealMadrid. Twitter: @koyegbeke


  1. Iloilo

    January 12, 2018 at 2:21 pm

    Hey bro,
    Was the blue ocean strategy worth it?
    Congratulations man.

    • Mogbekeloluwa Koye-Ladele

      January 15, 2018 at 9:26 am

      Thank you! While I read the book a few years back, I don’t get to take the course until a few months down the line. I think it’ll be worth it :). Maybe I’ll do another post about it then.

  2. Kkay

    January 12, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Very concise .
    The key phrase for me is …..”keep moving in the direction of your dreams”.
    Some people’s dreams die because of failure to do the needful regardless of challenges.
    I’m glad you thought of other options to fund your MBA and that your parents didn’t give up in the face of economic challenges.

    • Mogbekeloluwa Koye-Ladele

      January 15, 2018 at 9:27 am

      Thank you! I am sure glad my parents did not give up too :).

  3. Prime Babe

    January 12, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Thank you for inspiring someone to do more and do better today. Stay winning!

    • Mogbekeloluwa Koye-Ladele

      January 15, 2018 at 9:27 am

      You’re welcome, and thank you too!

  4. Ooohlala

    January 12, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    To start with, thank you for sharing your story.
    This is by far one of the most inspiring stories i have heard of late.
    It is very important to actually stay focused and never give up on one’s dreams regardless of the adversities that surrounds us and also knowing and following the direction of one’s dreams. I like how your confidence worked out in you getting a job even though you were not qualified in the books.
    Congratulations and i wish you all the best.

    • Mogbekeloluwa Koye-Ladele

      January 15, 2018 at 9:28 am

      You’re welcome, and thank you for reading. I must admit I was VERY nervous going to the test venue and asking to get tested. I had help from many friends who knew how much I had wanted it and encouraged me to show up, including one who went with me. :).

  5. Moi

    January 12, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    lovely piece..i also inspire to do an MBA sometime..hopefully soon. thanks for sharing this!

    • Mogbekeloluwa Koye-Ladele

      January 15, 2018 at 9:28 am

      You are welcome, and thank you too!

  6. mela

    January 12, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing…..Your parents are truly shinning examples. Want to be the same for my kids.
    Am going to be more Confident this year!

    • Mogbekeloluwa Koye-Ladele

      January 15, 2018 at 9:29 am

      Amen! Let us all be more confident this year.

  7. Sim

    January 12, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    Mehn, P&G isn’t clearly doing something right in Nigeria. What are they feeding them in that company?
    First the initial Stanford Fellowship Guy, then the 2nd Stanford fellowship guy, and now this. Recruitment team, well done. They’re clearly quite literally hiring the best

    • Ephi

      January 12, 2018 at 7:13 pm

      I tell you. I’m curious to know what P&G’s recruitment tactic is cos they are clearly doing something right. I personally know one or two guys who worked there and they are brilliant as in brilliant. I also remember the previous guy featured (Abiodun Buari) also worked at PG. Kudos to you guys.

      Mogbekeloluwa, congrats, your parents must be incredibly proud. It’s always always inspiring seeing people who make it against all odds.

    • Mogbekeloluwa Koye-Ladele

      January 15, 2018 at 9:30 am

      Thanks Sim! While I’m not sure I qualify as the best, P&G does try and often succeed to hire the best :).

  8. Sim

    January 12, 2018 at 6:43 pm


  9. Olajide

    January 12, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    Godspeed bro

  10. desola "celebrity physiotherapist"

    January 12, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    Koye! Welldone! I feel proud to know you. Your story is truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I will keep dreaming. #GreatIfe

  11. Adekanmbi oyinlola

    January 12, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    God is faithful to His word,children of the righteous will never beg for bread but rather shine the light of Jesus anywhere

  12. Atinuke

    January 13, 2018 at 5:41 am

    Congrats darling. Don’t stop dreaming. The sky is your limit. Really proud of you. Please give my love to Busola. Tinuke GSF OAU.

  13. Ola

    January 13, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Brilliant bro, congratulation.

  14. Adenike Jemiyo

    Adenike Jemiyo

    January 13, 2018 at 9:08 am

    Congratulations Koye! This write-up is simple, yet so profound…Thanks for sharing. And keep dreaming! All the best at INSEAD!

  15. Tunji

    January 13, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Well done Koye, you’ve always been an inspiration.

  16. Dozie

    January 13, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Congratulations once again Koye. Enjoy the experience!

  17. Olayide

    January 14, 2018 at 3:38 am

    Well done and congratulations Koye! You remain an inspiration to me and a lot of BI folks. All the best!

  18. Emdee Tiamiyu

    January 15, 2018 at 9:16 am

    This is awesome Koye! Proud to have shared part of this journey with you at Wesley College of Science, Ibadan (SSI -3). Thank you for making us proud.

    I trust that you will raise the bar at INSEAD and every other place you go!
    Yes, Weslyans arise whatever the price!

  19. Mogbekeloluwa Koye-Ladele

    January 15, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Thank you Desola.

  20. Chux Nnodim

    January 18, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Quite an inspiring story Koye! We are so proud of u!! Tu parles Francais deja? Nous savions que tu pouvais le faire, bien joué!!! Je te souhait plus de Dieu grace!!! Chapeau!

  21. Oluwole Sanni

    May 26, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    This is really stimulating and inspiring… I know you are set apart for great things! keep soaring!

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