Jess Adepoju-Stanford GSB
Education: (undergrad): Undergrad School: University of Chicago; Undergrad Major: Philosophy and Economics
Current MBA program: Stanford Graduate School of Business
Describe a typical day as a MBA student:
I am a president of a few on-campus clubs and working on a startup, so most of my days at the GSB are pretty hectic. I wake up and immediately check my email to see if there are any “fires” to put out. I then bike to class and throughout the day pivot among going to meetings, participating in courses, and doing homework. Typically, around 7PM I bike home where I continue to do work until later that night. Sounds depressing when written out like that, but I’ve honestly been having a blast.
Which industry did you work within before business school and what was your role there?
I worked in the technology industry as a product analyst at Groupon. Specifically, I helped design the user journey on our web and mobile platforms and played a role in developing our digital strategy. I also helped to ideate, test, and launch several features in the Groupon Travel product suite.
What do you feel are the most important factors when choosing a business school?
Network, network, network. What kind of jobs do most people take after going to your preferred b-school? What did most people do before? How do these facts intersect with your interests and career goals? The student body truly constitutes the business school experience.
What was your biggest challenge in the MBA application process and why?
The tests were fairly challenging for me – I spent 3 months preparing for the quantitative section alone. Thankfully it resulted in some strong scores!
What is/was the most enjoyable part about business school?
Many of my peers would say “the people”, but I believe it’s actually the mental stimulation resulting from business school communities . Being surrounded by intelligent peers and professors, living in a challenging academic and idea-ridden environment, and traveling around the world are all extremely stimulating aspects to being at b-school. It makes you feel more “on” somehow and is a great break from the habitual nature of being a full-time professional.
What is/was the hardest part of business school?
It’s hard to manage priorities. There is too much going on to do everything, so you really need to hone in on your goals and what you want to capitalize on during your time at school.
Where will you be working after graduation?
Undetermined as of yet, but ideally in the gaming industry or an affiliated field! I loved working as a product management intern at Activision Blizzard over the summer, and would like to continue in the space.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career or at your school?
While perusing my syllabus during my second year at the University of Chicago, my eyes fell on a course that made my heart skip a little – Digital Storytelling: An Exploration of Video Games and Stories. I registered with high hopes – and loved everything about it. The class had only a handful of students and our quirky teacher, Patrick Jagoda. I created my first flash game in that course, “My Pizza Heart”, focusing on the intersection of food, America’s consumption culture, and tragedy. We all continued to meet and create games after that quarter and eventually, through Professor Jagoda’s sponsorship, our cohort gave rise to the Game Changer Chicago Design Lab – a collaboration between students and faculty to produce digital and transmedia educational games for underserved youth. Fueling my creative energies into something I loved and seeing that creation empower others mattered to me in a way I’ve never forgotten, and it is the core reason for why I want to make impactful game development the focus of my career today.
Fun fact about yourself:
I’m a complete gamer nerd – I love playing RPG and indie games and spend much of my free time doing that.