Our SpotLite this week beams on someone who’s been featured on here before, but she’s on a different journey this time and we just had to get the details for you, Enjoy!

Hello, please introduce yourself.

Salut! I’m Yewande Olagbaju, a Human Resources Strategist in training by day, and a proactive foodie by night- minus the consequences. An extroverted introvert who tries to be all that she is needed to be in whatever season she is in.

So what course are you studying and where?

International Human Resource Management and Organizational Development; Grenoble, FRANCE (Grenoble Graduate School of Business [GGSB])

Hmmn, why did you pick that course and how did you decide on the institution and country you chose?

I could talk about this for ages! But to cut the epistle short, I had been exposed to a bit of dysfunction in people management where I was coming from. For sure, you could invest in all the high end technology, business models and software under the face of the earth but if leveraging off your greatest asset i.e. people is not at the core of a company’s strategy, then there’s no real sustainability.

I wanted to get the formal education that would give me a global outlook on strategic HR and best practices within the different settings as well as the factors influencing these practices.  I also wanted to use the opportunity to immerse myself in the French culture- people, country dynamics, the language, and nuances in corporate culture. GGSB was the only school that offered these so it was a no brainer.

How did you cope in the beginning, culture shock, language and all?

I had coaching from Alliance Francaise in Nigeria so that gave me foundational knowledge of the language. I could hold basic conversations, ask for/ understand directions when I got lost and so on. I also got a language exchange partner when I arrived in France whom I  would have weekly meetings with and that accelerated my learning. I’m still on a learning curve and won’t stop until I’ve perfected my working proficiency and can make valuable contributions to my field in the language!

I had a very smooth transition to be honest. From landing to settling in. People helped carry my bags, went out of their way to try and speak English; and someone abandoned what he was doing to show me the transport system, how to get to school, supermarkets and so on.

Everything thing else was pretty much a breeze because I had my course mates whom I had kept in touch and arranged soirees with before leaving my country so that also helped my integration.

Traditional French cuisine, in my opinion is a pleasant surprise and it is something I do not intend to get over anytime soon! There is a huge pool of cuisines to experience that suit anyone’s taste, dietary frame and mood. I didn’t find any Nigerian restaurants is Grenoble but that wasn’t a big deal for me since I make my food most of the time.

Was it easy making friends and getting along with the locals?

Yes, it was quite easy for me. I’ve found that whoever will like you will do so for who you are as a person and will make/return the effort and so friendship this way just flows. Easy, breezy and beautiful. The locals can be easy going at times and other times impatient when there are limits in communication; in the very least they are courteous as they give you the usual salutations.

What were the lecturers and classes like?

The course is very intensive. It packs 2 years’ worth of studies into 8 months of classes. Imagine what your schedule will be like: a lot of 8 am-6 p.m. weeks (with the customary 2 hour lunch break each day).). 60% of my modules were group presentations and group reports. That, in itself, was usually a feat because you had to merge schedules, ideas and strengths for the benefit of the task ahead (not insisting on your way or the right way)- to deliver the BEST output for the team and working respectfully with people you may not always like – which we will all HAVE to do at some point..

The lecturers were either consultants or outsourced from international universities and they brought a lot of hands on knowledge and applications with their sessions. A lecturer in case was from the United Nations and she gave useful insights into the balance between Ethics and Business. During this module, we had the opportunity of visiting the U.N in Geneva for a class trip where an official talked about policies in ILO (dealing with child labour) which was a great experience for all.

Did you live off/on campus?

My school doesn’t offer on campus residences so I lived alone- which was better for me anyway.

Tell us three favorite things about your school?

  • I absolutely love that even though it is young, compared to the INSEADs and Imperials, it has and continues to grow- and at an accelerated rate for that matter; GGSB is always looking for how to innovate and reinvent its brand and that’s awesome!
  • Its strong and diverse alumni network ( and the opportunities that come with it)
  • The cookies at the café- they are the softest and chewiest

The three places you absolutely loved to go

  • Jardin des Tuileries
  • Hillsong, Paris
  • La Pachanga

Amazing! It was an absolute pleasure. Thanks so much to Yewande for her time once again, i’m quite sure you all enjoyed this one just like i did. Till our next SpotLite edition comes your way, Keep pushing!