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The Remarkable Impact and Success of Sasaenia Paul Oluwabunmi

The Kellogg-WHU EMBA Alum's Inspiring Mission for a Better World

Vice President for Citi, a global financial services corporation, multiple degrees from Nigeria, Germany, the UK, and the United States: Sasaenia Paul is a personality you expect to be intimidating. Far from it, he epitomizes the phrase “high impact, low ego” that you often hear during the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA program. “I am driven by my upbringing where I was taught to value things that can positively impact others,” he explains. “Being born in Nigeria, a developing country, you see it has a lot of potential that is not fully harnessed. Its young people and their talent are not fully nurtured, so I do what I can to make an impact wherever and whenever I can.”

Possessing an incredible work ethic, it’s clear that Sasaenia Paul is by no means one to rest on his laurels. In his earlier years, he networked with US diplomats as part of the Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative of the United States consulate in Nigeria, managing social projects. While living in the UK, he volunteered as a European youth ambassador. There, he helped to lobby members of the British Parliament and the European Parliament on petitions to eradicate extreme poverty in the world, especially in Africa. Currently, he is a member of the Kellogg mentorship program, assigned to two mentees, including the student co-president of Northwestern University. “During one of the reflection sessions in the EMBA program, we were asked how we would like to be remembered once we are gone. For me, it would be to know that I helped someone. Even if it’s just one person, it would be enough to know that my existence somehow helped them.”

In 2019, he saw the need to fill some gaps in his professional skillset and grow his network, joining the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA program in Germany. “I was looking for a more global focus in my career. I wanted a different perspective on the British and Nigerian education I already had. With the class consisting of at least 20 different nationalities and all from different industries and backgrounds, I had the opportunity to connect to people from other parts of the world. I liked the US and European approach; the content and flexibility of the classes in the Kellogg-WHU EMBA were big selling points for me. With travel only needed every six weeks, it was much more practical when fitting it into my work schedule.”

Then in 2023, Sasaenia Paul made a huge transition in his career. He moved from a public sector focused role in an international organisation in Austria to a global financial firm in the United States. Not only did he change location, but he also changed industry and role. “It took a lot of adjustment, but I consider myself to be a very flexible person. I was very comfortable in my previous role with my diplomatic status, but I wanted more and believed I could achieve more. Of course, it wasn’t easy getting the position I have now – there were a lot of rejections on the way!” he laughs. “Even with all my degrees and experience, I came from a public sector focused role to break into finance, and not just any investment bank, but one of the largest in the world. However, the EMBA is a tool you can use to your advantage. It doesn’t mean opportunities fall into your lap; it’s about how you use it.”

An unexpected side-effect of the Kellogg-WHU EMBA is his newfound status as an angel investor. “I was never an entrepreneurial guy,” he says. “The EMBA really opened my eyes to the different ways one can get involved in entrepreneurship without necessarily starting your own business. I now advise start-ups, sharing with them my global perspective and experience. I enjoy talking to founders and brainstorming with them: I support their growth in my own way.”

So how does Sasaenia Paul aim to maintain the Kellogg-WHU ethos of “high impact, low ego” as a leader in his new role? “I share my failures and experiences with people. By remaining open to learning about different cultures or listening to people, whether someone is an intern or a senior analyst. There is always something to learn, no matter how experienced or knowledgeable you are.”

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