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From Nigeria To Goldman Sachs: How I Used My New York MBA To Land A Prestigious Finance Role

This MBA student traveled from Nigeria to New York to start her graduate education. She now works at one of the world’s leading investment banks, Goldman Sachs. Find out how


Thu Jun 15 2023

Titilayo Otukoya built up professional experience across industries in Nigeria before pursuing her MBA. Having worked in various capacities in marketing, she decided an MBA would push herself to develop a more comprehensive skillset.

Titilayo traveled to New York State to enroll at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management’s Full-Time MBA after seeing how it would enhance her goals. 

During her MBA she pivoted from marketing to finance. Now, having just graduated, she has landed a full-time position in finance at one of the world’s most competitive investment banking firms, Goldman Sachs. 

Building experience across industries in Nigeria

During and after her bachelor’s, Titilayo was building up her professional repertoire. 

Throughout her bachelor’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy at Babcock University in Nigeria, she worked as an expansions manager for AIESEC Nigeria, an organization that focuses on empowering young people to make a progressive social impact. 

After her bachelor’s, she joined a team of agri-tech experts to train 1000 Nigerian youths in climate-smart agriculture, where she facilitated a partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture in Ogun State. 

“We introduced the use of blockchain technology to solve supply chain issues in the Nigerian agricultural sector,” she explains. 


Titilayo (pictured) also worked as a consultant for high-net-worth individuals in Nigeria, assisting them with projects in real estate and agriculture, after which she joined UC Digital Services. There she managed a 50-person marketing team, identifying new markets for startup digital service providers and content creators.

After building up her career across sectors she felt there was still more she could do. 

“I knew there was more I wanted to achieve in my career,” Titilayo explains. “I knew an MBA and the experiences it offered would provide me with the necessary tools for the next phase of my life.”

After researching various schools, she found Syracuse University, and was drawn in by the care and interest graduate recruitment officer, Shri Ramakrishnan, showed her.

“It became evident that Syracuse University would be the perfect fit for me. The genuine care shown by the university in understanding my goals and helping me achieve them made me feel at home.”

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Making the shift from marketing to finance

When Titilayo joined Syracuse, she wanted to focus on marketing and continue on the trajectory she started in Nigeria. However, Syracuse’s range of courses gave her the opportunity to try alternative options and discover a different path. 

“I wanted to focus solely on marketing, but each course opened me up to new possibilities and made me more solution-oriented. I began thinking of ways to solve problems and realized I could pretty much do and learn anything.”

Whitman’s full-time MBA boasts courses that impart strong analytical and decision-making skills, a high degree of flexibility in tailoring your program so it is right for you, and practical theory through experiential learning and real-world applications. 

The Full-Time MBA has seven specializations, Professional Accounting, Business Analytics, Marketing, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Real Estate, and Supply Chain Management. While Titilayo specialized in Marketing, courses outside of that specialization piqued her interest in a different field. 

“The course that kindled my love for finance was Managerial Finance, taught by Professor Tianyue Zhao. It sparked my enthusiasm for finance and made me realize I was effectively able to make a career switch at that point,” she explains.

Securing a role at Goldman Sachs

While Titilayo’s interests were leaning away from marketing, she still wanted to be involved in a person-centered side of finance. 

“I knew I wanted to pursue something in finance that involved more human interaction, and Goldman Sachs Wealth Management Division caught my attention.”

To give herself the best opportunity of securing a position, Titilayo worked on her resume adding skills she had learned so far through her MBA education, such as data analysis and forward thinking. 

Throughout the application and interview process, she examined what was important to Goldman Sachs and highlighted aspects of her background that would interest the company. 

“Doing research on the company and the specific division truly makes a difference in the interview process,” she says. “Understanding this helped me shape my experience during the interview to align with their goals and interests,” she explains. 

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Working at Goldman Sachs 

Whitman’s MBA classes allowed her to prepare for her full-time role after graduation. She has taken more finance classes and completed the Fundamentals of Alternative Investments certificate program offered through UniFi by CAIA. 

“This program provided me with a deeper understanding of different asset classes and risk analysis in alternative asset class. These skills help me digest the vast amount of information I encounter in my role.”

Titilayo is making sure she is prepared for the high-pressure and reputation of Goldman Sachs. Having interned there last summer, she is already familiar with the company but the skills she has developed throughout her MBA will allow her to truly thrive in her new role. 

“I intend to leverage my MBA experience, including teamwork, case analysis, data analysis, and communication tools such as presentations, pitches, and more. 

“The MBA program has equipped me with the ability to tailor my content to different audiences. I can now approach problems, develop solutions, and present them in a manner that is easily comprehensible to the user.”