Ore Adeyemi, SB ’00, MBA ’06

Ore Adeyemi, SB ’00, MBA ’06, joins Christopher Reichert, MOT ’04, to discuss his journey to MIT Sloan and his rise through the ranks at HSBC, where he currently serves as the Global Head and Managing Director for Strategic Innovation of Investments. He also shares how his leadership skills have evolved and his commitment to working on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.


Christopher Reichert: Welcome to Sloanies Talking with Sloanies, a candid conversation with alumni and faculty about the MIT Sloan experience and how it influences what they're doing today. So, what does it mean to be a Sloanie? Over the course of this podcast, you'll hear from guests who are making a difference in their community, including our own very important one here at MIT Sloan.

Hi, I'm your host, Christopher Reichert, and welcome to Sloanies Talking with Sloanies. My guest today is Oreoluwa Adeyemi, who is an undergraduate from 2000 and an MBA from 2006 from Sloan. He goes by Ore. Welcome.

Ore Adeyemi: Thanks, Christopher. Thanks for having me.

Christopher Reichert: Pleasure to have you. So, before we begin, I'll just give a bit of background on Ore. He's currently the Global Head and Managing Director for Strategic Innovation of Investments at HSBC, where he's been for quite a long time. He's been there 14 years, started off as an associate on the investment side and M&A team, investment banking and M&A team. He then spent six years as an investment director with HSBC Principal Investments, their private equity arm, where he primarily focused on direct investments in Africa and led investments alongside global buyout firms in Europe and North America.

Prior to HSBC, Ore was a senior consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and had stints in technology and investing at Hewlett Packard, Agilent Technologies, and early on at the Dubai Development and Investment Authority. He's originally from Nigeria and he moved to Cambridge to go to MIT as an undergrad in '96, and later returned to Sloan. Interestingly, his father really wanted him to go to UNC Chapel Hill, his father's alma mater, but Ore overrode him and chose MIT. And I'm going to come back to that independent streak in a minute. So, he was named a Global Corporate Venturing Rising Star in 2017, and again in 2018, in a new category called “Still A Rising Star,” I presume?

Ore Adeyemi: I guess so.

Christopher Reichert: Welcome Ore! So where to begin? Did I miss anything that you want to mention?

Ore Adeyemi: No, I think you've said so much. Probably a lot more than I know about myself.

Christopher Reichert: So, you moved from London to Silicon Valley with your wife and three daughters, and you mentioned proudly shifting from “a city lad to a minivan dad.” How have you been doing during this time of COVID?

Ore Adeyemi: We've been doing great. So, we moved with my three daughters to Silicon Valley, and just so you know, we've had another one since then, so we do have a Silicon Valley baby, a two-year-old boy. So, we're quite a busy family, a busy family of four kids.

Christopher Reichert: Oh, I have three daughters myself, so maybe we can compare notes one day.

Ore Adeyemi: I'm sure we can!

Christopher Reichert: It's very quiet and calm and relaxed, right?

Ore Adeyemi: Well, sure. I like to think that.

Christopher Reichert: Right. Years ago, a friend of mine told me, "Little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems," which I found a horrifying notion back then, but it's true. Anyway.

Ore Adeyemi: So true.

Christopher Reichert: Let's start with your journey to MIT and Sloan, and we'll pick up your life since Sloan, in particular your story about a certain incident in Rwanda, which we'll come back to and how that changed you. So tell us, Sloan and MIT versus UNC Chapel Hill?

Ore Adeyemi: Oh wow. I feel that you're putting me on the spot in having to compare and contrast.

Christopher Reichert: No. I guess what I'm getting at is some of the early decisions we make set us on a certain path, and I wonder what confidence you had to make that decision?

Ore Adeyemi: Absolutely, absolutely. So I've always been aware of MIT, even during my time in Nigeria. There was a good family friend that went to MIT in the '70s actually. His name is Professor Adegbulugbe, he's a professor and runs his own company in Nigeria now. So I've always come across some very interesting MIT alumni while in Nigeria. And something about Professor Adegbulugbe, I think he still holds the record, he had the highest GPA from my local university in the '70s, and that record still holds still today. And he came to MIT after his first degree and we grew up together. So I always knew about MIT, even though I wasn't thinking that I was going to go there.

And then we come to the US, and every member of my family went to Chapel Hill, and it was just a natural thing for me to do. We're big Tar Heel fans and a big Michael Jordan fan from back in the day, and I was working to go to Chapel Hill. I worked for a year to get state residency, to be able to go to a school at a cheaper rate, worked in a restaurant as a prep chef, so that was an interesting experience. And while I was working, thinking I was going to go to Chapel Hill, I had the admission by then, I had more time to think about my choices and what I wanted to do. I've always been interested in business and technology, and so I had more time to think through it and had the chance to apply to MIT. And I was very fortunate to get accepted.

So that's how I made the decision, to my dad's…

Christopher Reichert: Eternal damnation, right?

Ore Adeyemi: Exactly. And for some reason I think he still hopes that I'm going to go get a degree from Chapel Hill till today. So that's how I ended up at MIT. And it's been a great, wonderful experience for me ever since.

Christopher Reichert: There's still room to get a PhD. Still time.

Ore Adeyemi: We'll see.

Christopher Reichert: So, I'm trying to figure out what you do, and some of the terms that I was going through are things like private equity versus corporate venture capital, and then there's hedge funds. And so I'm hoping you can unpack it all for us. And I'm thinking about creating a new segment called “But What Do You Do All Day?”

 So, I mean, I'm trying to get into what does a typical week or month look like in your position, and particularly as you've progressed through an organization, partly to help others understand what that career journey might be for them, and ... yeah, let's see. Maybe start with titles, like associate director, managing director, and on it goes; I mean, how does that work in that field?

Ore Adeyemi: Well so I started as an associate. I came from Sloan after my MBA and joined HSBC as an associate. So that's the post-graduate level where you come in and you work on deals. The way to think about it, if you're an American football fan, is you're sort of the quarterback. So you're the ones controlling the pace with transactions. So you still have a coach, you still have people, but you're the quarterback, you know what's going on, you're able to pass the ball. That's sort of the associate. Then you can go on to be a senior associate as you attain more seniority, then you go on to be a vice president, which in some other places could be an investment manager, if you focus on investments. Then, after vice-president, depending on the bank, you may go on to be a managing director, or you go on to be a director before being a managing director.

The key thing to understand is, over time, just increasing responsibility. And if you're in the investment banking space, as you get more senior, then you focus more on business development, you bring in the deals. And the associates and the directors and the VPs do help with the execution. So I've been very fortunate, I've gone through the ranks at HSBC. I came in as an associate, then became a senior associate, then moved from investment banking, which is advisory, so advising companies buying and selling assets, and moved into private equity.

And I'll tell you the difference between your traditional private equity and venture capital. I'm sure most business school students know that it's really at the stage of investment. What you traditionally call private equity is investments at the latter stage of a company, so buyouts, where you may take some debt, some leverage to buy a company, and you put some equity in as well. It's just not dealing with companies that are not in the public markets, essentially. So private companies, as the name suggests, private equity.

But on the venture side, it's just earlier. So you're investing in startups, the world of startups. And frankly, I got introduced to this world during my time at MIT, when you're dealing with companies being founded, you're dealing with investors. So I was able to move from just being an advisor to companies, to actually being an investor in companies; later stage companies on the private equity end, much larger ticket sizes, then eventually moved to the smaller companies, startups, over time. And you tend to find a lot of technology companies are playing in that space.

So, it's been an exciting time for me and think I have one of the best jobs out there, given what I do, and just being able to work with entrepreneurs.

Christopher Reichert: So how do you keep your finger on the pulse of what's happening in the businesses that you invest in so that you can redirect or advise or bail at any given time?

Ore Adeyemi: Well, I mean, you keep learning. That's it, you keep learning, you're always a student. And I think a skill that I got from MIT is problem solving, really. And every day comes with its own problems, its own issues. So, in terms of keeping the pulses, it's being willing to learn as a student, being willing to listen to entrepreneurs, being willing to absorb, and being open to failure.

So, frankly, investors, I mean we see the headlines of companies being valued for billions and it sounds all great, but for every big investment and every big success you hear about, there are lots of failures. So in keeping with the pulse, I think it's really spending time in what I do, which is investing in small, early stage companies, it's spending a lot of time with entrepreneurs, going to conferences, whether trade shows, and being part of the community. And sitting down with people that are doing exactly what you're doing as well. So I spend quite a lot of time with other venture capitalists, and we'll talk about it, or the corporate venture capitalists. I could tell you what the difference is between the pure traditional venture capitalists and a corporate venture capitalist. So spending time with people within the ecosystem. And also staying close to MIT as well. So staying close to changes and innovation happening in my space at the university level as well.

Christopher Reichert: Interesting. So yeah, corporate venture and venture capital, that had a bad name for a while, right? How can a large corporation make those nimble decisions or take on the risk, have the stomach to take on the risks? So what's changed in that area?

Ore Adeyemi: I think what's changed is that we've seen it prove to be successful. That's really what it is. Nothing beats success, nothing beats data. So when you see how partnerships can work and work well together, then you tend to want to continue to do that. So the difference between a traditional VC, and I'm sure a lot of your listeners know the traditional VCs—especially here in Silicon Valley—the difference between them and corporate VCs, is that we look at things from a strategic lens. So it's not just the financial aspect of it. Everyone wants a great financial return, but really looking at how can the corporate leverage insights from working with this company by investing with them can incorporate or go into a core product development partnership with them? So these are the things that we work on at HSBC, where I work on the corporate VC side.

So, it's really, over time, I think entrepreneurs, and even VCs that have invested in companies at that early stage, they now see the value of bringing in corporates, because, one, these could be potential customers. These could be partners where you can actually look to scale, whether it's within their organization, or even outside of their organization as well, and they can help you with that. So I think it's taken time. And when you look at the numbers, you see that the dollars coming from corporate VCs over the years continue to increase.

Christopher Reichert: So, it's kind of like an enlightened self-interest in a way. In other words, it's areas where you have some knowledge and insights that you can then leverage and bring together other people to extend your knowledge and insight to make a more educated investment.

Ore Adeyemi: Absolutely. And it's validation. So, think about it. I mean, I don't do healthcare, but think about it; if you had a healthcare startup, what better validation than having a large corporate in that space invest in your company? That means they see some value in what you're trying to do that could influence the industry.

Christopher Reichert: Yeah. I just recently read about a startup that came out of stealth mode and was valued quite highly, but they had been running behind the scenes with having corporate partners invest in them, so by the time they went public and became aware to most of us out here, they had already had established corporate clients and trials and errors, and they had improved their product to the point where they felt they could now launch it publicly to a wider audience with that validation.

Ore Adeyemi: Absolutely. So, I mean, there's so many positive reasons why you want a corporate to get involved. The concerns that people tend to fall around, "Okay, can corporates move as fast as your traditional VCs?" And that's a valid concern, but I think over time the corporates are learning to do that and become more agile in the way or the ways in which they partner and work with smaller companies.

Christopher Reichert: I know you had a success with ... is it Kyriba?

Ore Adeyemi: Yeah, it's Kyriba.

Christopher Reichert: Kyriba?

Ore Adeyemi: Yeah, yeah, Kyriba.

Christopher Reichert: Oh, Kyriba. Yeah, you know what? Sorry, I wrote it twice, two different ways.

Ore Adeyemi: Yeah. Kyriba, it's a company that I was fortunate to lead their Series C investment on behalf of HSBC. And we exited the company about a year ago to Bridgepoint, which is a private equity investor. So that kind of brings everything full circle. So as a corporate VC, we invested in this company, Kyriba, and we worked closely with Kyriba at HSBC, and we sold to a private equity investor, called Bridgepoint, as the company grew over time. So that's been one of our success stories at HSBC.

Christopher Reichert: So here we are at the end of 2020, which obviously has been a very strange and trying year, both ... well, from the health perspective, of course, and the uncertainty, add on top of that a U.S. election and all that sort of uncertainty, but I feel like we're living in almost a Dickensian world, a tale of two worlds, right? The best and the worst. Where you have huge amounts of unemployment and uncertainty, yet there are many successful pockets within there. I mean, I know of at least two Sloanies who have become billionaires this year, stock markets are at super highs. And so you'd think that these markets would desire certainty and stability, but it doesn't seem to matter. How are you reading that? And what sort of opportunities are you seeing?

Ore Adeyemi: Well, it's quite interesting, because when there is chaos, or when things are not going right, sometimes, whether we like it or not, opportunity arises as well. That's just the way it's worked over the years. But I don't think we should lose sight of the fact of the issues or the themes that have happened over the year, people losing their lives with COVID, and the situation we've faced globally. So it's not been a great year when you look at it. Yeah, it's not been a great year.

That said, when it comes to maybe the world of technology, there are some companies that have had huge success. I mean, Zoom is a perfect example of a company ... companies where there is a focus on the digital experience. What you find is that companies, large corporates like HSBC, and I'm sure so many other corporates, have had to accelerate their innovation agenda. And given you don't have easy access to people physically, and what that means is, on one hand, you have to be careful about cost, but maybe you have to accelerate how much you're spending on technology as well.

So there have been opportunities, as I said, with companies like Zoom. There have been opportunities with companies that focus on just the work collaboration space, and companies that just in general help push the digital agenda for any large corporate. Even healthcare too, there have been opportunities for companies to really think through, whether it's on the vaccine side, or how do you even deploy vaccines quickly? So there are companies that are focused on innovation who have just had to, by necessity, just had to innovate much faster, just because of the issues that we've seen over the course of the year.

So, on balance, yes, the opportunities are there, but I still wouldn't want to lose sight that it's been quite an interesting year. What we've found is, I think when everything started getting shut down around March/April, a lot of companies took pause to really think through what the next plan of action should be for startups. Even startups that I had invested in, or was looking to invest in, they had to look at their plans in terms of, "Okay, how much cash are we burning? Can we really afford to sustain this level of a cash burn?" as we put it. And really rethinking through their business plan. So quite a lot of change, but I think we are coming out of it okay, and I'm excited about the future for early-stage companies, and even for large corporates as well.

Christopher Reichert: I know that HSBC had considerable layoffs during COVID, and you've had to pivot and redirect your energies. How's that tested your leadership skills?

Ore Adeyemi: Ah, that's an interesting question. I think the way it's tested my leadership skills, it's you have to put the team together, you may have to make sure your team is really on solid footing. And even from a mental health perspective, so we talk about it as individual mental health, there's even the team mental health. I think making sure that morale stays high, and managing that I think has been a test of leadership, and rallying the troops. And sometimes even as a leader yourself, having the troops rally around you. I think sometimes we miss that. That's equally important. So as much as I would like to sit here and think I've been there for my team to boost their morale, I think my team's probably there for me more than anything.

It is a test of leadership when you go through issues like we've had all year when difficult decisions have to be made. Even today, I had a difficult discussion with a company that we thought we were going to do much more with, but we've decided to hold off or really take our time in how we progress discussions with them. So you have those difficult conversations. So as a leader, I think what I've learned, more than ever before, is your word matters. You have to be open with people. Not just your team, your clients, your portfolio companies, you have to be very transparent with them. And people do appreciate that. If there's a skill that I'm working on, and I'm still not there yet, it's just not coating my words, just saying it as it is. And you'll be shocked how much people do appreciate that, even if it's news that they don't want to hear.

Christopher Reichert: Right. Even if they don't like hearing it.

Ore Adeyemi: Absolutely. So we've practiced that as a team, my small team, and really being transparent and really being expressive as a team. And it's worked out for us. But I think as I said, we're going to come out stronger.

Christopher Reichert: And I know you were working on diversity, equity, and inclusion at HSBC; what are some areas that you're trying to move the needle in that area on?

Ore Adeyemi: Yeah. So, I'm involved. HSBC, I know like several institutions, has come out to really express what they intend to do as a bank, as an institution, in the areas of diversity. And that's something we do take seriously. Of course, the events of the past year has made it even extremely necessary to come out. My view on diversity, I've always said, is that you have to be intentional. I keep saying it, you have to be intentional in what you're trying to do. And you have to be, again, transparent in where the gaps are and look to work towards it.

So, for me and my team, one area that we were working on is the area of how do you have a more diverse group in the world of investing and venture capital? It's probably one of the very few areas, so we're not even just talking entrepreneurs, of where you don't have people of color, women, really represented as investors. So there's a program called Included VC, I think I should give them a plug here, that as a team we're very active in. And that's to give people that don't fit the traditional mold of folks that will get into venture capital. So it's a fellowship that brings in a good number of people from diverse backgrounds, and as a team, we're mentoring them, I give masterclasses, and different members of my team participate as well, giving masterclasses. And the hope is that these fellows at Included VC will go on to a career in venture capital and become investors.

Christopher Reichert: So that's, I'm assuming?

Ore Adeyemi: Yeah, Included VC. Yeah, exactly. So we're working closely with them and we have some other corporate VCs that are involved, and other venture capitalists that are involved as well. And it's really amazing, I get emails from the fellows almost every other day, just thanking people for the opportunity. And I say, "Well it's not me really doing this, I'm just playing my own little part."

So that's something my team has taken on in what we know, and trying to encourage participation for underrepresented folks in the world of venture capital.

Christopher Reichert: So, coming back to Sloan, what made you come back to MIT and then Sloan after you graduated in 2000, so four years later? Why Sloan, as opposed to other business schools?

Ore Adeyemi: I think one way to put it is I hadn't had enough. That's one way to think about it. As I said, Sloan really introduced me to the world of entrepreneurship. It was a place where I saw ideas, you were just allowed to come up with your own ideas, and just go ahead and just run with it really. And as I said, when people ask me, "What's the MIT experience about?" I say, "Well we did a lot of problem sets, but the reason we did a lot of problem sets is that you come out of that place being a problem solver." And that's it. And that's what you do every day. It's not so much how much you know, it's not so much what you know, but being able to find, sometimes it's even finding people that know it. That's a skill in itself.

So why was Sloan attractive to me? Again, it was my way to get even more and deeply connected to the world of entrepreneurship, the world of innovation. We've been talking about innovation for several years at Sloan, and it's sort of the buzz word now, but Sloan goes way back in terms of innovation. So it was another way for me to get into that world and be part of that community. And I enjoy the Boston area as well—I made lifelong friends. And Sloan, MIT, it just opened doors for me, just so many doors for me. And it's probably just one of the highlights of my overall life experience, really.

Christopher Reichert: Well, I have to ask you, what's the weather like in ... where are you? Palo Alto?

Ore Adeyemi: Yeah, I'm in Palo Alto at the moment. Well, it's November, so it's getting a bit chilly. So as I'm talking to you right now, I'm in my house and I'm wearing a sweater, of sorts.

Christopher Reichert: So is it a chilly 72 or something like that.

Ore Adeyemi: Oh, no, I wish. Now you sound like people calling me from London because they really think it is hot. But yeah, no, no, it's a bit chilly out here, but the weather is great. But it's an exciting place to be, and I do see a lot of Sloanies around too.

Christopher Reichert: Did you meet your wife at MIT, or before MIT?

Ore Adeyemi: Well, that's an interesting story. I had met her before MIT. So, I went to the same elementary school as my wife. I didn't know we were going to talk about this, Christopher, but-

Christopher Reichert: Oh, we don't need to. I was just curious.

Ore Adeyemi: No, no, let's go there! So, I went to the same elementary school with my wife and the same high school in Nigeria. And she left when she was 12. And she left, and I'd never spoken a word to her while we were in Nigeria, but I knew her brothers in the school. So, she left Nigeria and came to the U.S. And freshman year ... was it freshman or sophomore year at MIT? A friend of mine from North Carolina calls me and says, "By the way, do you remember this family, this girl that was in our class, Beth?" I said, "Oh yeah, I remember her." "Well, guess what? She's down the road from you. She's at Harvard." I was like, "Oh, really?"

So that's how I connected again with her. And I was an older undergrad, but she stayed on undergrad and went on to law school while I was wrapping up. And one thing led to another, let's just say several years later, it's four kids and a wonderful family. So I've known her for a while, but it was Boston, and MIT can take the credit for bringing us back together.

Christopher Reichert: So, do you have a favorite Sloan memory that you think back on, or a professor, or a favorite professor? Or, for that matter, a course that you wished you had taken?

Ore Adeyemi: I have so many wonderful memories. I don't think I can pick one professor. So I'm going to rattle through so many memories now and try and make it really quick. So many wonderful memories. One, I was a TA for, it was called G-lab, I don’t think the name's changed-

Christopher Reichert: That's right. Richard Locke, wasn't it?

Ore Adeyemi: Richard Locke, yeah. I was a TA for Richard Locke and Sherry Lewisburg. And that was one of the highlights of my Sloan experience, working with my classmates. Although I joke around that yes, I was a teaching assistant for an entrepreneurship class and one of my 'students' then, because I was a TA, after graduation he founded a company and sold it for hundreds of millions of dollars. And I was like, "Oh, good for him. I was the TA; he took something out of it." So that was one of the highlights, being a TA for G-lab. I still have a close relationship with Rick and Sherry, and keep in touch with them.

Another highlight of my Sloan experience was my Sloan internship. I was looking to do something just unconventional, and I ended up going to Dubai. And I should share this with your listeners—this was actually an unpaid internship. Can you imagine an MBA student going for an unpaid internship? But something I should highlight was, working with Sloan and the MIT office, the undergraduate office as well, they were able to provide a fellowship just to help me out with this. And I was able to go for that internship in Dubai, one of the highlights of my experience. And guess what? Given the work that was done there, my employers then afterward decided to pay us and the other interns for it. So it worked out great-

Christopher Reichert: On the backend.

Ore Adeyemi: On the backend of it. But that was something that MIT, and Sloan really, in terms of assistance, came to help me out with that internship.

Other classes, who's going to forget Roberto Rigobon? I still keep in touch with him. I brought some executives from HSBC recently and met Roberto and Dimitris. I'm going to butcher Dimitris surname now. I can spell it, but I can't pronounce it.

Christopher Reichert: Bertsimas, is it?

Ore Adeyemi: Bertsimas, yes, exactly. So I brought HSBC executives. So there is an MIT Sloan/HSBC program that is going on, and I'm a part of that. And it's really exciting to really stay close to the school, and it's been a wonderful experience, and continues to be a wonderful experience for me.

Christopher Reichert: That's excellent. So I want to come back to your life-changing experience in Rwanda. Tell us about that. And where did that happen? Was that after Sloan or before Sloan?

Ore Adeyemi: That happened after Sloan. That happened after Sloan. I was at HSBC and I'd already left investment banking advisory to doing private equity. So, I was doing private equity across different regions, and the life-changing experience was I was looking at an investment all the way in Rwanda. A sustainable forestry asset. I was with the CEO of the company, and on a sunny afternoon, after the due diligence process was finished, we were in a helicopter going back to our hotel. And we got in a helicopter crash. And I-

Christopher Reichert: Wow.

Ore Adeyemi: Yeah. And…

Christopher Reichert: That's got to be one of my worst nightmares. I mean, there's no wings to glide down on a helicopter, right?

Ore Adeyemi: No. And I didn't even know all that because I just remember taking off and I woke up in a hospital. And yeah, it was ... yeah. So I survived that, and guess what? When I was in the hospital in Rwanda, I asked them, "Where did you get all these materials for my surgery and everything?" And guess where they said it was donated from?

Christopher Reichert: Where?

Ore Adeyemi: From North Carolina.

Christopher Reichert: Wow. Your father was probably saying, "See. Never should have left."

Ore Adeyemi: Exactly. So, it was donated, but it was donated from the U.S. And so, I had surgery done there, then flew back to London. I was out of work for about a year, recovered. But that was a life-changing experience for me. Sometimes you have to have a crash to reflect. Sometimes not a physical crash, different types of crashes.

And what it showed me is you have to put things in perspective and really live your life to the fullest. And I tell people, "If I were to ask you what's the most important thing happening to me right now?" Do you know the most important thing happening to me right now, Christopher? Do you want to guess?

Christopher Reichert: Yes. I would think it would be your new boy, right?

Ore Adeyemi: Well, he's important too. He's important. I mean, he's growing, he's important too. But the most important thing right now happening in my life is my conversation with you, Christopher.

Christopher Reichert: Oh, thank you. I'm flattered.

Ore Adeyemi: This is the most exciting thing going on in my life right now. I live in the moment. So once we're done, I'll move on to the next exciting thing.

Christopher Reichert: Excellent. Well, so on that, what is your definition of success? Having risen through the ranks at HSBC, attended MIT not once, but twice, and have a marriage with four kids—what's your definition of success?

Ore Adeyemi: I'm sure I've been asked this question several times, and I can't even remember the answers I have given, but I think my definition of success is just being happy with what I've done. And I'm very careful not saying legacy, leaving a legacy. It's just more about having made an impact, having been somewhere and left it better than I found it. And I tell my kids that. I tell my kids when they walk around and come to a room and stuff is just dirty, all over the place, and I'm like, "Why don't you just clean it up and leave it better?"

So, for me success, it's impacting. And it doesn't have to be big. It doesn't have to cost millions of dollars. It's really just making an impact, no matter how small. It's not the titles, it's not the money, frankly. It's really just having made an impact. There are people that have helped me along the way, given MIT alumni, MIT Sloan alumni that I still talk to, to this day, and just living my own... whether it's sharing with people, mentoring people, in every little way that you can be of help, being of help. And for me, that's success. And so do I experience success every day? I think I do. Even little conversations where I feel, "Okay. You know what? I was able to give someone advice." To me, that's success. It's not just one thing, but I think it's dynamic and that's where I see it.

Christopher Reichert: That's great. And so do you have any advice for prospective students to MIT or Sloan?

Ore Adeyemi: Well, for me it was one of the best experiences ever. I think when you come here, it's a culture of innovation. And when we say innovation, it's not just technology. And I think that's something that people miss. There's a key part of technology that has to do with MIT Sloan, but any advice is just coming here, being open, and just remember, you are what will make Sloan. You know? You are what will make Sloan. So, you come here, being a part of the community, and giving whatever, you can to that community, is what really will make Sloan.

So, any advice is just really being open, coming with an open mind to learn and to give, in whatever way. It was a great experience for me, it still is a great experience for me, I'm still learning. I'm even still learning at Sloan, as you can imagine, coming to see all the professors-

Christopher Reichert: Yeah, that's excellent.

Ore Adeyemi: Yeah. So MIT is a place where it's mind and hand, you keep learning. You keep learning.

Christopher Reichert: And I'm fortunate that I'm in the Boston area, so whenever they offer the alumni, the IAP in January, February, I always try to take advantage of at least one.

Ore Adeyemi: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely. I have very fond memories of IAP.

Christopher Reichert: I always come back energized.

Well, on that note, I want to thank my guest today, Ore Adeyemi, and you've been listening to Sloanies Talking with Sloanies, and I'm your host, Christopher Reichert. Thanks very much and all the best for the holidays.

Ore Adeyemi: Thanks, Christopher.

Christopher Reichert: Sloanies Talking with Sloanies is produced by the Office of External Relations at MIT Sloan School of Management. You can subscribe to this podcast by visiting our website,, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts. Support for this podcast comes in part from the Sloan Annual Fund, which provides a central flexible funding to ensure that our community can pursue excellence. Make your gift today by visiting to support this show, or if you have an idea for a topic or a guest you think we should feature, drop us a note at