Azeez Olawale-Arish Yusuff: Going global in Emerging markets and Africa
MBA graduate Azeez Olawale-Arish Yusuff wasted no time in putting his Nexford MBA specializations to work, delivering projects that moved the needle for Fortune 500 companies
Headquartered in Nigeria, but with a global virtual office, Azeez Olawale-Arish Yusuff has always had his sights set on achieving greatness. With that in mind, he didn’t just settle on obtaining a globally recognized MBA from Nexford, he went on to be a trail blazer by specializing his MBA in not one but five sectors namely, ‘Doing Business Across the World’, ‘Advanced AI & The Future of Automation’, ‘Managing Hyper Connectivity’, ‘Sustainability‘ and ‘Enabling E-Commerce’, all of which he attained with distinctions.
But he hasn’t stopped there. Azeez is now designing innovative business solutions, delivering values, making an impact, and bringing considerable financial value to every project he works on.
Based on that, it would be foolhardy to question this ‘glocal’ strategist and entrepreneur’s work ethic which continues to come to the fore when highlighting his achievements post-graduation. Azeez has always maintained that he wished to use emerging technologies to create big change in the world around him, and his track record to date has shown that he is achieving his goals and then some.
About why he chose Nexford, Azeez commented that he got hypnotized by Nexford and its programs. He says he had no choice but to join and work toward attaining his dream of creating a better future and a vision to use emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, data science, Blockchain and internet of things to create large-scale impacts that continue to keep him and the businesses he works with going.
The sky is no longer the limit
Right from the beginning, Azeez has his sights set on global achievement. It is clear to see that he is stopping at nothing to continue to taste success and assist those companies that he works with to do the same.
Servicing global learning and development and technology companies, he spends the predominance of his time delivering projects for Fortune 500 companies in Africa and emerging markets, working on globally recognized brands like Heineken, Coca-Cola, British American Tobacco, and FrieslandCampina.
So, what would Azeez regard as his secret weapons that he has in his arsenal that has helped him to continue to achieve his short and long-term goals? That’s an easy one he says, “I think it’s my ability to consistently deliver extraordinary performance. Apart from having experience working with people from different backgrounds in multicultural settings across continents, I am well-exposed to global best practices, and I have extensive regional market experience which is being put to good use in creating unparalleled advantages for companies.”
Azeez went on to say, “My Nexford MBA has given me the knowledge to solve business problems and challenges smarter. I create out-of-the-box solutions for companies and help managers and leaders to navigate technology, business, politics, economics, and culture in Africa and emerging markets, so they can grow their businesses and manage risks there.”
As an out-of-the-box thinker, he’s passionate about technology, the continent of Africa, emerging markets, building sustainable economies, and a safer, better world for everyone. Quite ambitious you might say, but with the kind of work ethic that Azeez has, it’s not beyond the realms of comprehension that he will be able to attain the heady goals that he has outlined for himself.
As well as his day job, working remotely from Nigeria and across Africa, as a consultant to a global Edtech company managing learning and development projects for global brands, Azeez runs a private consulting business, and he’s the father of twin boys and a beautiful daughter. He was a Senior Vice President of sales and strategy at an American technology company, based in California and a member of an advisory board of a global chamber of commerce, among others. Although he’s busy – he wouldn’t have his life any other way. He likes continuous learning and excels when it comes to tight deadlines and challenging situations.
Tech-savvy, mission-driven and unconventional
Azeez knew he wanted a technology-driven, unconventional university with a social mission, and he was looking to learn uncommon skills he could use now and in the future.
“Learning is a life-long exercise that those who seek to make impacts engage in continuously”, he says, “so I undertook my second MBA with a specialization in AI and Automation and other emerging technologies. Companies will get better results when humans and machines work together and relationship-building skills plus technology with a dose of critical thinking and creativity holds the key.”
Azeez loves how the skills he gained in his degree can be used right away – without having to wait. Every part of his life connects; he learns specific skills and applies them right away at work. He says thanks to his Nexford MBA, his critical thinking and creativity, among others, increased exponentially. He’s seen a clear difference in the way he thinks, and he says that he has had great feedback from his clients which he says is really encouraging.
“Recently, I designed an automation framework that meant a lot of work was taken off our plates. That freed us up to delight our customers. We’ve seen a 50% increase in customer happiness, and my colleagues love that I’ve used technology to help improve the company’s sales and other KPIs.”
He was supported through thick and thin
Azeez is self-motivated but by his own admission, he could not have done it alone.
“Everyone was there to support me – my peers, family, and faculty who gave me perfect support and feedback. My Success Advisor was always there, driving me forward with her encouragement and professional feedback. My professors were also incredibly supportive as well.”
At home, he was thrilled that his seven-year-old twin boys and beautiful daughter were always there for him, and he described them as two of his staunchest motivators to press on when things got tough.
An entrepreneur driven by a vision to make an impact on a regional and global scale
Azeez has some advice for people who want to study at Nexford. He says, “Be prepared to work. It’s not an easy ride, but despite that you have so many supporters, and Nexford provides all the tools you need to succeed. If you put in the work, you’ll see the results. It’s encouraged me to think differently every single day.”
But for him, this is most certainly not the end of his plans for global domination. He says, “I want to take my skills and use them to grow forward-looking companies as well as build my tech projects: my entrepreneurship project and consulting company. I want to use my emerging markets’ knowledge, tech, and other soft skills to help companies grow their businesses in emerging markets and Africa. And I want to lead new tech projects as an entrepreneur and as a manager.
Never give up on your dreams
No matter how tough the going got, Azeez never gave up on his dreams because he drew inspiration from loads of people with big legacies who have made their mark on the world and on tech and entrepreneurship: Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg to name a few. He suggests that with a Nexford education, so many others need not have to give up on theirs.
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About the Author
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.