Our Stories

Looking for Impact

Budding entrepreneur gained the resources to make a difference.

Nimi Ajayi
Manager, Simon-Kucher & Partners

Vanderbilt MBA 2022

Nimi Ajayi’s overarching career goal is about making an impact. “Being able to transform lives positively with the work I do is very important to me,” he says.

After working for a healthcare education software company that manages data for physicians in training, and after then working with his brother on a startup aimed at providing a collaborative environment for medical students in Africa, Nimi was ready to pursue greater impact as an entrepreneur. Consulting, he believed, would provide him with experience across a variety of industries, and that experience in turn would be invaluable in helping him reach his goals.

Impact, not surprisingly, also figured heavily in Nimi’s choice of MBA programs. At the huge university he attended as an undergraduate, he says, “I always felt lost in classes of 150 to 200 students, where people wouldn’t really be able to ask a question.” In his search, he gravitated away from business schools with cohort sizes of 500 or more MBA students. Vanderbilt quickly rose to the top of the list. “I wanted to attend a program where I would receive world-class education but wouldn’t feel lost,” he says. In a more intimate and close-knit community, there would be more opportunities to make an impact—and more opportunities for individual relationships that would make an impact on Nimi and his career.

In particular, the opportunity to have close relationships with professors—and to be able to phone or text them to ask questions or obtain advice—was a difference maker. “When I was negotiating with companies and making my decision about where to go after business school,” Nimi recalls, “I was able to reach out to a couple of faculty members about how to approach my offers. That’s something I had never really experienced prior to coming to Vanderbilt.

“I worked as a TA for Professor [Michael] Burcham, who taught Launching the Venture, and I was able to develop a relationship where I could ask him questions on entrepreneurship. That’s a relationship I’ll be able to maintain during my career. Having access to that wealth of experience, both from the industry and also academically, will pay dividends long after business school.”



Fun Fact: Outside of his primary career, Nimi is a professional DJ.

I wanted to attend a program where I would receive world-class education but wouldn’t feel lost.