At the end of the day, full-time Berkeley MBA student Bosun Adebaki, MBA 19, would like his career legacy to be one in which he leaves the business world a better place.
“I want to use my career to make business a more diverse and equitable field so my children will be able to say, ‘He did something important,’ rather than, “He joined the company at 21 and retired at 65,’” he says.
He’s only in his 30s now, but Bosun is one of those people who seems to have already had a number of careers. He came to the Berkeley Haas MBA program after almost a decade at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which he joined in London straight out of undergrad at the University of Nottingham. At PwC, Bosun served as a consultant in both London and Switzerland, scaled the firm’s international tax business across 15 jurisdictions including Hong Kong, Singapore, the Cayman Islands, and Bermuda, and built out PwC's mergers and acquisitions tax business in Mexico City.
His cosmopolitan work life arose in part out of his upbringing. Born in the diverse London borough of Hackney, Bosun was raised along with two siblings by their Nigerian-born mother. As a young adult, he witnessed how lack of access to financial resources could make or break an entrepreneur when his mother who ran a small business alongside her full-time job had to close shop when she was unable to obtain funding to ramp up to the next level. His sister, on the other hand, had Bosun to ask for help when her entrepreneurial moment came.
“My sister was importing boots from China and selling them on Twitter, and she needed some cash to get over that initial inventory hump,” he says. “The difference between my sister and my mother was that my sister could come to me because I was established in a career. She was able to ask a family member for a loan while my mother didn't have that option when she needed it. My family is a good example of how not having access to financial options can make starting a business almost impossible.”
His experience at PwC and with his own family prompted him to pursue an MBA at Berkeley Haas with a specific focus on fintech. His goal is to use tools like blockchain, alternative data, and mobile payment methods to make financial tasks simpler and more accessible for end users.
“I was on the partner track at PwC and I realized it wasn't what I wanted,” he says. “I wanted to work in an environment where the business objective was geared toward social impact.”
Over his time at Berkeley Haas, Bosun has had a variety of opportunities to further develop his leadership skills and his interest in socially responsible business. He has participated in the Haas Impact Investing Network and served as a consultant for Blockchain at Berkeley, an organization focused on becoming the East Bay's blockchain hub. He was co-president of the Fintech Club and helped launch UC Berkeley’s new blockchain startup Xcelerator. Bosun also served as a graduate student instructor for Leadership Communication, Financial Statement Modeling, and Ethics in Business courses. Last summer, he interned at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York City, with a focus on fintech.
All of these opportunities have helped him hone his sense of mission in the fintech space: making business more diverse and making financial tools available to more people.
“Diversity happens when you select team members that reflect a different mix than what's typical,” he says. “The process has to be active and intentional.”
As graduation approaches Bosun has had a number of work offers to consider. But he also knows he'll start his own business one day.
“I see myself creating a company that has financial inclusion as its specific objective,” he says. “I want my work to reflect the passion I have for building a business environment that really represents my values – and that means helping create greater financial access for people who haven't had that before.”