Desayo Ajisegiri has emerged winner of the 2021 7up Harvard Business School Scholarship Programme.
According the carbonated drinks giant, this year’s recipient, Ajisegiri, comes from a modest background. Having been inspired by the tenacity and courage of her mother, she sailed through adverse circumstances to graduate from Howard University, Washington DC with Summa Cum Laude honours and has dedicated herself to impacting the world through a fusion of entrepreneurial and humanitarian initiatives that solve current global challenges.
Recall that Seven-Up Bottling Company Limited (SBC) has been supporting and celebrating young and promising Nigerian graduates through its fully funded MBA programme at the prestigious Harvard Business School.
Ziad Maloouf, the Managing Director of SBC, while restating the company’s unwavering support for the Nigerian youth and its commitment to the country’s development, said: “We believe in the transformational difference great leadership has on a country. One person can make a huge difference in the trajectory of a people and their development. That’s what this scholarship is about. We are on a mission to inspire extraordinary people to create exceptional ideas.
“Desayo has proven her mettle and passion for people and development, as evident in her work to enhance the financial status of Nigerians. We believe we have identified a leader Nigeria will be proud of. By contributing to her story, maybe we can do our part to change the wider narrative about Nigeria.”
Commenting on the importance of the unique initiative, Yemi Faseun the Chief Corporate Services Officer emphasised the multiplier effect of leadership. “We cannot change the world all at once; however, we can change our world one person at a time. The 7up Harvard Business School Scholarship gives us the opportunity to do that. We wish our 2021 winner, Desayo, the best and look forward to the remarkable impact she would have on the country.”
In her remark, Desayo, the 11th recipient of the 7up HBS Scholarship, expressed her gratitude, while advising the youth to remain tenacious despite challenges. She promised to uphold the values upon which the scholarship was awarded.
In her words: “You have to step into the driver’s seat of your life and do your own part of the equation. I didn’t know I was going to win the scholarship but I planned the whole year ahead of my application to HBS. Now I am here and going in fully funded by SBC. It is amazing. So do your own part, keep your eyes on the goal and the vision and be optimistic.”
Having mentored 15 Nigerian college students in the U.S through college into Medical schools, Phd programmes, and corporate careers, Desayo’s passion for community improvement and rehabilitation was evident. This in addition to other sterling qualities that singled her out amongst thousands of entries received.
The 7Up scholarship recipient plans to come back to Nigeria upon completing her education at the Harvard Business School to float her micro investing platform. She believes that her team has only scratched the surface as they plan to empower Nigerians with the means to make wealth.
During her time in college, Desayo who had been a quarterly survivor of malaria found a way to prevent malaria by investing in a detergent that could fortify one’s clothes, serving as a repellent and insecticide to dangerous mosquitoes. Her entrepreneurial spirit and passion for solving problems also led her and her friends to start up a micro investing platform – Trove, that allows Nigerians invest in U.S stocks from the comfort of their homes while on their phones.
Desayo O. Ajisegiri joins Misan Rewane (2011), Olujimi Williams (2012), Mayowa Kuyoro (2013), Oluwasola Olaniyan (2014), Bankole Makanjuola (2015), Chidozie Ibekwe (2016), Ahmed Alimi (2017), Ulunma Izejiobi (2018), Anyanwu Maureen Uzoamaka (2019), and Abdul Rahman Buhari (2020), who have benefitted from the fully funded two-year programme at Harvard Business School.
In attendance at the event, alongside key stakeholders and representatives from the company, were members of the National Youth Corps Service (NYSC), who were challenged by Desayo’s story. They remarked on the impact it has made on their lives, as they take courageous steps towards achieving their dreams.
Photo caption above are– L-R: Yemi Faseun, Chief Corporate Services Officer, SBC, Nigeria; Desayo Ajisegiri, Winner, 2021 7UP Harvard Business School Scholarship, and Ziad Maalouf, MD, SBC Nigeria