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This MBA’s Big Data Startup Is Helping To Build The Smart Cities Of The Future

Busayo Odunlami co-founded Venture Smarter after an Executive MBA at the George Washington University School of Business

Busayo Odunlami was working for the World Bank when he decided to study at the George Washington University School of Business (GWSB). Through the school's World Executive MBA program he was able to continue his full-time job while developing his business expertise at the same time.

The 16-month degree, which included two international residencies, saw Busayo work on consulting projects in both Estonia and Turkey and exposed him to an internationally diverse cohort with varied professional experiences to learn from.

Busayo took specializations in leadership, finance, and cyber security - GWSB aims to prepare its students to counter new challenges faced by business today.

Since completing his EMBA, Busayo's gone on to co-found big data-crunching startup Venture Smarter, a digital platform connecting companies and governments, and providing them with the data they need to build the interconnected 'smart cities' of the future.

How does Venture Smarter work?

Venture Smarter is a tech platform that’s driven by big data and our involvement in the smart city planning framework process. We have built a deep understanding of how businesses, governments, academic and financial institutions can invent smart cities.

Data is crucial for building smarter cities. For example, information on funding is not centrally located. Also, the continual evolution of the definition of a smart city means there is value in using data to remove some of the chaos in the marketplace.

Standard data and smart planning frameworks help Venture Smarter in supporting clients key to helping our customers and Fortune 500 partners.

How does Venture Smarter utilize big data?

Venture smarter aims to use big data in our platform to support businesses, governments, and academia in smart cities projects and initiatives planning and analysis.

For example, a company in the smart traffic space would use our platform to connect with city officials using our proprietary tools and resources. Having access to this wider array of data and analysis it would help them refine their products and services.

How has your degree helped you with Venture Smarter?

The GWSB degree has supported the growth and scope of my responsibilities. It has enabled me to step into the chief operating officer role and have an active role in the development of the company.

The Executive MBA provided me with useful frameworks and experience that helps in navigating the many challenges that come with starting a new company. The international experience and education has given me a solid base to build on.

Why did you choose GWSB?

After engaging with the director of the program and speaking with faculty, who highlighted the many benefits of attending the program, I was convinced it was for me.

I ended up choosing the program because it provided more skills to support my ongoing professional experiences across industries, sectors and borders.

The program is also based in the nation's capital and provided access to the inner workings and leaders of institutions that are shaping global business and government.

What advice would you offer to potential MBAs?

My advice to prospective MBA's is to value the time during an MBA program and flex your entrepreneurial muscle from day one. Also, having an idea of the end goal impact in mind can help in navigating coursework to learn about the different roles and opportunities that an MBA can provide in career growth.

For me, I came in with an end goal of having the ability to take on more international managerial and VP roles and be competent and confident in my ability to surpass business objectives.

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