Road to Success: Carey Business School Global MBA Student Olusheun Ogunsunlade Interns with Montgomery County’s Veolia Transportation
by Aliyah DeVille
What do a chemical and biological engineering degree, AmeriCorps in D.C. Public Schools, Veolia Transportation, and a Global MBA program have in common? Olusheun Ogunsunlade. And he’s far from your average graduate business student. On his quest to find his passion, this self-described “people person” ended up a student in the JHU Carey Business School’s Global MBA program.
It was his decision to enroll in the Global MBA program that led him to spend last summer in Montgomery County as an intern at Silver Spring-based Veolia Transportation, which is a subsidiary of Paris-based Veolia Environnement.
Under the tutelage of Veolia’s marketing director, Ogunsunlade had the opportunity to undertake a number of new projects and learn a great deal. One of the biggest projects was planning Veolia’s annual public transportation conference in New Orleans. For a Carnegie Mellon graduate with a degree in engineering, booking hotels and gospel choirs for a nationwide conference was foreign territory.
He also had the opportunity to conduct research for a mobile app, called Urban Pulse, that the company already had launched in France. The app allows users to check in at various locations, link up with friends, find public transportation to points of interest, and be informed about real-time schedules for public transportation networks. Veolia wanted to roll the app out in other cities and tasked Ogunsunlade with the research that would make that possible.
With business being so unfamiliar to Ogunsunlade, his internship helped him better understand the framework of business and business culture and the complexities of the corporate world.
“I really learned the importance of being flexible and learning how to navigate within a company’s corporate culture,” he said.
“But the biggest thing I learned is that there is always more to learn,” he added.
For someone with a background that is so absent of corporate experience, one might wonder what attracted him to the Carey Business School Global MBA program.
“It was the slogan ’Business with humanity in mind’,” he said.
Forsaking a higher paying job in the engineering field, he decided to work at an elementary school in Southeast D.C. after graduating from Carnegie Mellon. There, he worked with after-school programs and provided tutoring and in class support.
“I didn’t want a typical job. I wanted to do something with purpose in it,” said Ogunsunlade of his varying career choices to date. “And I felt like the Carey focus on humanity was a good fit with my objective.”
It was easy for Ogunsunlade’s passion for purpose to shine through on his trip to Kenya with the Global MBA program’s Innovation for Humanity project in January 2011. The purpose of the Innovation for Humanity projects is to help students gain experience in learning how to develop sustainable businesses in emerging markets. Students indicate their preferences among five sites around the world to carry out the project. Ogunsunlade participated in a project with the Nairobi Women’s Hospital, which operates two hospitals in Kenya and has plans for expansion. Ogunsunlade and his team reviewed the hospital’s operations, marketing, and strategy and then provided recommendations for the strategic alignment of the hospital’s expansion plans. Ogunsunlade said the project – and the trip – made his first year in the program beneficial and meaningful.
But the focus on humanity wasn’t the only draw. Ogunsunlade also thought it would be exciting to be a part of the Global MBA’s inaugural class and to be instrumental in building something new.
As he begins his second and final year in the program, Ogunsunlade remains convinced he made the right choice by applying to – and enrolling in – the university’s Global MBA program.
“This program has been excellent preparation for the business world, which is becoming more and more global,” he said. “With more than half of my class being international, the dynamics during group projects have been excellent learning opportunities.
“The program’s diversity allows me to see what global looks like and what it means,” he added.
So what are his plans after graduation next May? Ogunsunlade hopes to find a full-time job that satisfies his passion for helping humanity.