Tolulope Babatunde: Wealth Advisor, MBA graduate, and budding cybersecurity expert
Tolulope Babatunde is a woman that certainly has all her ducks in a row. She is a Nexford MBA graduate, a Wealth Advisor at a leading Wealth Management Firm in Nigeria, and a current learner on Nexford and Thinkful’s cybersecurity bootcamp. But, as one that is never satisfied with the status quo, we are sure that she is devising a plan to take her life and her career to a higher level.
As a career-oriented woman, Tolulope has been a rising star in the banking sector for close to 14 years now. Her CV reads like a who’s who, having worked across several departments at leading banks such as Sterling Bank PLC and Stanbic IBTC Bank in Nigeria. She tells us that although a Jack, or in this case, a Jill of all trades, she has tended to specialize in wealth management, strategy and business development, and by her own admission is a seasoned business strategist, wealth advisor and business development manager.
Banking on Tolulope to get the job done!
When it comes to banking, Tolulope certainly knows her onions. Of her banking career to date, Tolulope says, “My experience has primarily been to implement strategies to acquire multi-million Nira accounts across the FMCG, ICT, Media & Advertising, Healthcare, Education, Financial Services, Retail, and Consumer Markets. Most of the tools I have been using have been business intelligence and data analytics that I have used to good effect to be able to identify the new areas of penetration that have resulted in market share domination and substantial revenue for my organization.” Tolulope has led cross-functional teams, increased operational efficiency, mitigated risk and reduced expenditures.
As a thought leader with excellent interpersonal skills, she has leveraged her attributes to foster and maintain C-Level stakeholder relationships of longevity. So, she is proud that the fruits of her labor are really starting to come to the fore.
Tolulope goes on to tell us that although she has her fingers in many pies, she decided a while ago to streamline her career and work as a wealth advisor helping to implement the management strategy of the firm she currently finds herself at. Her main focus area is mostly Institutional investor clients, Mass affluent, HNI, and Ultra-HNI clients that she helps to grow their portfolios and investments, update her clients regularly on markets activities, portfolio performance investment opportunities, and risk. So, her leading role as a wealth management expert is basically retirement planning, estate planning, and succession planning.
There’s a science behind everything
Although Tolulope’s forte, for now, has been in the financial services sector, with a focus on banking and wealth management, it might surprise many to discover that her academic background was actually in the sciences having studied biochemistry. She tells us that she is quite adventurous and hates monotony which is why she always wants to try her hand at several things. Hence her interest in biochemistry. She worked at a pharmaceutical firm for about six months but tells us that she actually didn't enjoy it much. Hence her changing tack and going boots and all into the banking sector.
“I love adventure. I love to try new things. I love to help people," smiles Tolulope. “And one thing with the banking sector is that it allows you to meet a lot of people and provide a vital service for different classes of people. It’s also an industry that never stays still for long. In the last 5 to 8 years, I have seen the technology evolve in leaps and bounds, so no two days are ever the same, especially on the financial services side.”
Cyber attacks are happening across all industries!
One of the areas that the financial services industry has had to get hot on is cybersecurity. When you are dealing with extremely sensitive information, and large sums of money, the industry must be guarded against potential cybersecurity threats that are evolving day-by-day as criminals seek to penetrate firewalls. So as one that is always looking to the future, and where the next career opportunity lies, it’s not surprising that Tolulope has recently signed up for the Nexford and Thinkful cybersecurity bootcamp - Although this bootcamp has since been discontinued, we have a fundamentals of cybersecurity course available.
Tolulope did a data analytics course which exposed her to the world of cybersecurity and because the industry was constantly evolving, and as mentioned before she does not like monotony, she just knew that this was an exciting industry that she had to be a part of. Looking at the future of work, Tolulope realized that maybe it was time for a new career path that was not strictly focused on financial services.
She tells us, “Cybersecurity is something that every organization needs. So, when Nexford and Thinkful put together the cybersecurity bootcamp, and I looked at what the program offered, I just knew that I had to be a part of it. And because the payment structure was affordable, and the work schedule was flexible, I took the conscious decision to enroll right away. I instantly fell in love with it. I was like, wow, I wish I'd known about this much earlier. The content is amazing and relevant, and it was all presented in layman’s terms so I did not have to be a technical expert or programmer to learn what I needed to do and how to do it.”
Of her love for the bootcamp and its simple learning style, Tolulope went on to tell us that what really drew her to the bootcamp was that there was minimal theory and more practical and real-life examples that illustrated what is required of a cybersecurity expert looking to break into the industry.
Practice makes perfect in the cybersecurity bootcamp virtual lab
Coming out of the training with the skills needed to thrive in the cybersecurity world was the main reason Tolulope elected to enroll in the Nexford and Thinkful cybersecurity bootcamp. But to hone the skills of the learners before setting them loose to fashion a career in the industry, Nexford and Thinkful developed a virtual lab. Something that Tolulope really enjoyed.
Of the virtual lab she said, “We got to practice what we’d learned, like in a real lab. Even better was that there was no time frame. I was able to practice what I had learned as much as I liked. And there are lots of videos that guide you along the way, so I was able to learn through best practice.”
In the beginning, there was Nexford
Of course, all this newfound knowledge had to start somewhere, and Tolulope apportions a great deal of her recent success to her Nexford MBA. But it could have never happened had she decided to stay the course and earn her MBA at her first choice of university, the University of Lagos. Of her 10 months spent doing her MBA there she tells us that she really didn’t take to their style of learning.
She tells us, “It was all too frenetic. I had a high-powered job, and it was killing me having to finish a Monday to Friday working day and then get across to the university to attend classes from 6 – 8PM. I live in Lagos and if anyone has visited, or lived there, they will know that rush hour traffic is bumper to bumper. So, a journey that should take five or ten minutes, ends up taking 30 minutes, or more. I was getting into class feeling drained and exhausted and that was no way to learn.”
But that was not the end of her day. Far from it. Tolulope had to then jump in her car after lectures, drive home, and try to wind down before getting up the next day to repeat the dose. It was like Groundhog Day. Something had to give.
Just when she thought that she could not go on, Tolulope found out that her then employer, Sterling Bank PLC, had an association with Nexford University where they were offering employees part scholarships to go and study an MBA 100% online. So, she figured that if a big company like Sterling Bank elected to place their trust in Nexford to upskill and reskill their employees, she would put her trust in them too. She applied for the scholarship and was granted a 40% one. All the pieces had now fallen into place. All that was left to do was enroll to do her MBA at Nexford, which she said was easy and seamless. In fact, she did it from her office desk.
Of the other 60% that she had to pay to do her MBA, Tolulope was chuffed to bits that she could pay monthly for her tuition. Unlike her first attempt at an MBA at the University of Lagos, where she had to pay for the first year upfront, she could tag the payments onto her monthly expenditure so there were no hidden surprises.
Unfortunately, it did not go swimmingly well for Tolulope at the start of her studies, as sadly she failed her first assignment. She told us that she was devastated, but that disappointment did not last long thanks to her appointed Nexford Success Advisor. They took her through her assignment, helped her spot where she went wrong, and suggested how to fix those errors. Thanks to that person she resubmitted the assignment and passed!
It's all about time management
As mentioned before, Tolulope has a full-on schedule at work and at home with her family, so virtually every spare minute she had was precious when it came to fitting in time for her MBA. She tells us that she had to be extremely disciplined, but it helped that Nexford is all about self-paced learning where she could fit her learning around her busy schedule and not the other way around.
She said, “Sure I had heard that some had completed their MBA at Nexford in 18 months, one year, or even shorter, but I never felt pressurized to finish in double quick time. Sure, at Nexford the faster you finish the less you pay, but I took all the time I needed and completed my MBA in 22 months. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Nexford is also way less expensive than traditional universities so taking my time was never going to be a massive financial burden.”
Once she had graduated, it did not take long for Tolulope to see the fruits of her labor. Her report writing, PowerPoint, and analytical skills improved, she got promoted, changed departments, and received a healthy increase.
That was inside of work, but outside of it she began to see loads of other benefits too. As an entrepreneur, Tolulope started applying the skills that she acquired during her MBA to her own business. Before the MBA she was having difficulty structuring the business successfully, despite having a strong financial outlook and business acumen thanks to her time at Sterling Bank PLC. But with the MBA she soon came to understand how easy it was to structure the business and now, unsurprisingly, that business is running like a well-oiled machine.
From relatively humble beginnings
Of course, Tolulope didn’t come into this world as a ready baked businessperson. She came from a typical Nigerian family and as someone that had a great life growing up with her family, it makes sense that outside of her busy career, and now Cybersecurity bootcamp studies, she places a heavy premium on spending quality time with her family.
Of her family she tells us that she is a proud mother to two children, a boy and a girl aged 8 and 11, and a loving wife to her husband to whom she has been married to for 12 years. Tolulope also tells us that she is a devoted Christian and loves children. She does a lot of volunteer work and is also on the board of several Non-Governmental Organizations, many of which are social enterprises that help the needy, focusing predominantly on assisting women and children to learn vital life skills.
Tolulope says, “There are many things that I have done in my life that I am enormously proud of, but this charitable work that I do is something of which I am extremely proud. I'm actually a sponsor, I sponsor some children, and I’ve also been a mentor to them. I have done mentoring for three years, over that time mentoring girls between the ages of 15 to 18. It’s all about paying it forward.”
When she is not busy with work, family, and mentoring, Tolulope tells us that she loves to travel the world, explore new countries, and try new things. It’s all about the excitement factor of living life to the fullest.
Always take time to stop and smell the roses
Tolulope is a dynamo of a woman that just seems to be on the go 24/7 but that is not all true. When we asked her if after she has completed her Nexford and Thinkful cybersecurity bootcamp she would consider further studies, she drew breath and told us that it was a resounding no!
She says, “After I have finished the cybersecurity bootcamp I am actually going to take a break and take the necessary next steps to enhance my career, make myself even more employable, and look for ways to make the job I am in even more lucrative.”
Seeing is believing, so check out Tolulope’s video below or on YouTube.
Mark is a college graduate with Honours in Copywriting. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Nexford, creating engaging, thought-provoking, and action-oriented content.
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