Baylor's Full-Time MBA Program Gives International Student New Perspective on Finance
Jude Enajero had never traveled outside his home country of Nigeria when he moved to Waco to complete a dual MBA/Masters of Information Science (MSIS) degree at Baylor University. Now, more than 6,500 miles from his hometown, he has discovered a vibrant community of friends and a fresh perspective on the impact he can make with a career in finance.
Jude has aspired to follow in his father’s footsteps for as long as he can remember. His father worked as a community banker and pastor in their hometown of Lagos, Nigeria, and Jude vividly remembers his passion for following the stock market in the newspapers and discussing its ups and downs in animated conversations with friends.
“Early on, I became fascinated with how money worked,” Jude said. “I wanted to understand everything about how people decide its value, how they move it around, and how they navigate the three pipelines of investing, saving and earning.”
His father passed away shortly before Jude enrolled in an undergraduate finance and accounting program at the University of Lagos.
“I had such a hunger to make him proud,” Jude said.
Jude thrived in his finance program, discovering an innate bent toward strategic thinking and an appreciation for collaboration through extracurricular activities like the Investment Society and the Tax Club. He never felt drawn to accounting, but he recognized the value of understanding balance sheets and income statements for the future.
After graduation, he completed an internship at Guaranty Trust, one of Nigeria’s largest banks, in a customer service role. In this role, he not only gained confidence in building customer relationships, but he also harnessed his analytical skills to automate several customer service processes and significantly reduce wait times. Witnessing the tangible impact he could make through solving logistical problems planted a seed that would flourish in Waco several years later.
After completing his internship, Jude joined Værdi Investor Relations, an investor relations and capital markets advisory firm based in Lagos. Over the next three years, he was promoted from an intern to a senior financial analyst as he worked with cross-functional, international teams to advise clients seeking to raise equity or go public.
“I knew then that this was exactly what I wanted to do with my life,” Jude said.
But he recognized the need to gain a wider perspective and develop a more robust skillset.
“I wanted to be a leader, but I needed to learn how leadership works,” he said. “I was also aware of the growing significance of data and analytic systems in the financial sector, so I was interested in refining these skills along with general business skills.”
His research led him to Baylor’s MBA and MSIS programs, a combination he hoped would be an ideal fit for his career goals. In the summer of 2022, he boarded a plane for Texas, leaving Nigeria for the first time to write a new chapter in his career.
A Change in Direction
Jude immediately noticed differences between the individualistic U.S. and the collectivist society that had raised him.
“In Nigeria, neighbors are constantly outside spending time together, but I don’t know my neighbors here in Waco in the same way,” he said.
He has also noticed a less hierarchical approach to communication in a U.S. professional setting.
“To adapt to a new culture is what you make of it,” he said. “It can be unbearable or the best experience of your life.”
Thanks to the friends he has made in the MBA program, it is shaping up to be the latter. During Orientation Week, Jude quickly connected with a group of fellow students who frequently met up to explore the Waco restaurant scene, go to the movie theater and visit popular sites like Magnolia Market, which Jude was excited to visit in person after learning about on TV. He was initially alarmed by the fact that there is “no spice in Waco” compared to his traditionally spicy Nigerian diet, but he is gamely adjusting to a tamer cuisine.
He credits the International Office for supporting international students through social events, scheduled grocery runs and frequent check-in calls from an assigned advisor.
“They have done a fantastic job of asking about the stressors I may be experiencing and helping me understand the local culture,” he said.
Jude expected to benefit from his MBA courses, but he never expected to undergo a paradigm shift in only a few short months. In October 2022, his International Management class traveled to Costa Rica for a week of consulting, networking and learning. On this trip, he encountered the field of sustainable finance for the first time.
“Seeing how Costa Rica has applied principles of sustainability to various parts of their economy sparked a new passion in me for applying these ideas to other contexts,” Jude said. “I began to consider how I might give more back to society.”
For many of his classmates, the focus on sustainability was a welcome addition to the trip agenda.
For Jude, it was a fork in the road.
Enajeron joins other Baylor MBA students in planting trees to offset the carbon footprint created during their time in Costa Rica.
The more he has learned about sustainable finance in the months following his time in Costa Rica, the more he dreams about becoming an advisor on sustainable finance issues to developing countries like Nigeria.
“I really want to focus on helping tropical nations, where deforestation is a significant problem,” he said. “From what I have seen, Nigerian companies do not place a high emphasis on sustainability when making decisions about building or expansion. Sustainable finance principles would go a long way in helping them achieve growth in a more responsible way.”
Jude has also developed an idea for offering free financial education to people in developing countries through a website he is currently building at learneasyfinance.com. While he will continue to hone his financial expertise in traditional settings, already having secured an internship with CITI Bank in Dallas for next summer, he moves forward with a new vision for what finance can accomplish.
“In a short time, my Baylor experience has changed my mindset,” he said. “I am thinking about how to give back, not just earn and invest.”
Visit the Visit the Full-Time MBA's website to learn more about the program experiences available through the program. Have questions about applying? Check out the Admissions page to learn more and to connect with the Full-Time MBA admissions team.