In 2018, Olatunde Ogunlana ’10 M’11 joined the legal and audit group of Goldman Sachs, with a focus on the investment management division.
Ogunlana is a Staten Island native; his mother, Olaide Ogunlana ’08, is a Wagner-educated nurse. He chose Wagner for its small classes and Learning Communities that would expose him to many fields of knowledge in an integrated way.
“Having a broad enough view to understand how to connect the dots is the greatest experience of my Wagner education,” he says. “It’s a testament to the Learning Communities. You start to understand how things work in correlation with each other.”
He started off thinking he would major in science and go for a career in medicine. His First-Year Learning Community was about genes and genomics, combining biology and sociology. His affinity for science continued as he also grew interested in business, ultimately choosing to major in business focused on accounting.
As a senior, he interned with PricewaterhouseCoopers for a full year. “I learned a lot while I was interning at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, because I got to see just how the professional world operated,” he says. His challenging accounting courses at Wagner prepared him well. And his professors were always available to talk with him one-on-one after class.
Beyond the classroom, Ogunlana says that interacting with Wagner students prepared him for today’s diverse workforce. “At Wagner, you are forced to interact with different students from all over the country and all over the world,” he says. “The professional world is reflective of the Wagner campus.”
“Having a broad enough view to understand how to connect the dots is the greatest experience of my Wagner education.”
Playing Wagner football was also a valuable experience in preparing him for his career, he says. “Football makes you very disciplined, and it makes you pay close attention to detail. Those are two skill sets I utilize every single day. Being able to perform under pressure as well. You also have to be good at controlling your emotions and not letting it get the best of you. … Football is one of the greatest teachers of that. And that prepares you for the professional world.”
PricewaterhouseCoopers offered him a job in auditing that he started right after graduation. He was promoted to the transactions services group, and focused on capital market transactions — mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, and financial instruments that he hadn’t been exposed to previously. He traveled a lot and learned about many types of businesses. After a few years, he decided to try something different, and worked in recruiting. But, he says, “I missed the technical side of things,” and returned to finance work when he was offered a job with Goldman Sachs’ internal audit group.
His broad and well-rounded Wagner education was a great base for the world of finance, he says. “Finance is really just social science with numbers,” he says, laughing.