The sparkle in Tolu’s eye is hard to miss when he is talking about his history with technology. Growing up in Nigeria in the 80’s, exposure to computers wasn’t common. Although everyone knew about them and heard rumors of what they could do, he didn’t have access to them. Then in 1998, Tolu got his chance to work with a Windows 95 machine. It was fully loaded with the Microsoft suite. Once Tolu got his hands on the machine, that was it. He felt deeply connected to the capability of what he was seeing and soon began to wonder, “is it possible to work for a company who could produce this kind of magic?” It became a lifelong obsession for this kid from Nigeria to make his way to Microsoft.
He graduated from undergrad and worked in information systems before applying to the University of Michigan for his MBA. Staying true to his mission, he stated in his admissions essay that he planned to work for Microsoft post-MBA.
Tolu initially joined Microsoft as an intern then became a Business Ops Manager as a fulltime employee; he quickly took an interest in data science. His excitement about the digital transformation projects happening at the company led to an opportunity in CSE. He was attracted to CSE’s mission to work directly with customers to elevate their business and realize the value proposition of moving to the cloud.
One of his favorite projects was helping one of the biggest asset managers in the world, migrate their platform to Azure. Managing different workstreams in partnership with the customer and Microsoft, Tolu’s engagement allowed him to manage multiple engineering and business stakeholders. Through his efforts, leaders from both the customer and Microsoft had the information and perspective they needed to make business decisions. This direct visibility to how high-stakes decisions are made was invaluable.
Another project involved working with one of the largest banks in Turkey to scale their mobile applications to increase their customer response time. His team helped break the bank’s services into parts so they could respond more agilely to customer requests coming though the mobile app. The project exposed him to a very different business culture than the one in the United States. He found that people in Turkey valued deference over being direct. It challenged him to communicate in a different way and to be mindful on how he worked with the customer engineering team.
Tolu believes the most rewarding part of his job is getting in front of customer problems – deeply understanding those issues and collaborating with their developer teams to come up with tailored solutions.