After completing the Global Executive MBA, alum Oreoluwa Mobolaji Atinmo has gone on to win a distinguished award placing her among the top women business leaders in Africa.

4 min read

In Africa, women are leaving their mark at the helm of the corporate world. The continent has the highest share of female entrepreneurs globally—at almost 26%—and over 24% of board seats are held by women. Fortunately, more and more initiatives highlighting these achievements are springing up, giving greater visibility to the region’s top women business leaders.

Celebrating well-earned accomplishments

Every year, high-profile executives from around Africa gather to review the outstanding work being done by women-led businesses across the continent. These executives form the independent advisory panel for the Top 100 Career Women in Africa list, an ongoing effort to magnify the contributions of high-achieving women to the region’s socioeconomic development.

For the 2024 edition, the panel received over 1,400 public nominations from various countries and industries. Going through that many entries was no easy feat, but the panel whittled down the list based on a few key considerations:

The nominee’s personal accomplishments
Displays of leadership excellence
A commitment to share knowledge
Proven effort to foster diversity and inclusion

The result was the 2024 Top 100 Career Women in Africa list. Apart from celebrating notable female business leaders, it also illustrates the growing significance of sustainability, education, digital finance and capital development in the African market.

A distinguished path

Oreoluwa Mobolaji Atinmo, an alum of the Global Executive MBA, was recognized among the Top 100 Career Women in Africa for 2024 for her work connecting global brands with the region’s notoriously hard-to-reach consumers. With a quick look at her track record, it’s easy to see why she received this esteemed award.

Oreoluwa rose to distinction during her undergraduate studies, when she pursued her bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronics engineering. She then earned her master of science in petroleum engineering, launching a career that allowed her to work in various industries and roles across continents. It also led to Oreoluwa’s first accolade as the first female automation engineer to manage projects in Nigeria.

“After 13 years of professional work experience, I recognized the need to expand my knowledge beyond engineering and technical fields,” she says. This inspired her decision to join the Global Executive MBA, where she hoped to sharpen her business management, strategic thinking and leadership skills.

Rising through the ranks

But in the back of her mind, Oreoluwa always knew that the choice would lead to big shifts in her professional life and finally help her actualize her marketing career. She realized that the technical expertise and analytical mindset she gained through engineering would translate well to commercial marketing, bringing a “fresh perspective” to the industry. “Although it came a few years earlier than expected, the transition felt like a natural progression,” she says.

After completing the Global Executive MBA, Oreoluwa rose through the ranks to her current position as the Marketing Director of GBFoods, a multinational food and beverage company with leading brands in Africa and Europe. She says the program equipped her with the leadership skills, strategic mindset and global perspective to tackle this new challenge; but more importantly, “It signaled to the company that I was ready for this role.”

For Oreoluwa, the program’s flexible, blended approach played a big part in her sustained success. As she explains, “The Global Executive MBA offered a schedule that aligned seamlessly with my professional commitments and accommodated my travel requirements.” Beyond providing insights into the local cultures and business environments in Madrid, Oxford and Singapore, those regular residential periods gave Oreoluwa the time to expand her global network while connecting deeply with her peers.

Unfortunately, she missed the face-to-face sessions in Los Angeles due to being “heavily pregnant” at the time.

Fostering representation and diversity

Oreoluwa’s own experience in the program illustrates the growing flexibility and agility required of business leaders today. She has leveraged these learnings in her own career, expanding her capacity to lead diverse teams and deliver effective results. This go-getter attitude has also helped her overcome her biggest professional challenge: gaining credibility in male-dominated industries.

“I learned that long-term success isn’t just about individual achievements, but also resilience, adaptability and sustained grit.”

Recognizing achievement and inspiring greater representation in business

Oreoluwa recognizes the amazing progress women have made in a wide range of sectors. Still, as gender stereotypes, limited access to resources and underrepresentation in leadership continue to persist, she says there’s still a lot of work to be done. “To further empower women in business, we must continue to cultivate a supportive ecosystem, provide mentorship opportunities and advocate for policies that foster gender equality and inclusion in the workplace.”

That’s why the Top 100 Career Women in Africa list is so important. It goes a long way in amplifying the wins, inspiring a new generation of women business leaders to step up. “The award reinforces my belief in the power of diversity, inclusion and female leadership in driving positive change and shaping the future of business in Africa.”