Onyinye joined Bain in 2013 after obtaining her MBA from Harvard Business School, and running a poultry farm in her home country Nigeria. In her spare time she enjoys traveling and reading. She lives with her husband in Johannesburg.
What does thriving mean to you?
Thriving is all about doing meaningful work and living a meaningful life. It’s about being able to manage my life in “seasons”—having the choice to flex where and when I lean in and lean out of the various parts of work and life within the year, and across the years. The trick for me is ensuring that my personal and professional life are in balance—I want to spend time with my family and friends, have enough time to exercise and be healthy, and engage in civic activities outside of Bain.
Where do you get energy from?
The opportunities at Bain. At Bain there are so many opportunities that are not readily available in other professions. This gives me energy, and inspires me to take advantage of them. Be it taking an internal role, getting involved in extra ten projects that are personally important to me or trying new things on different cases.
The people I call my friends, sponsors and mentees. Each of them enable me to exercise another side of my toolkit—and make me a better well-rounded consultant.
The commitment to systemic change and an openness to new ideas. I may not suggest every idea that I have, but when I do suggest an idea that has merit, there is a willingness to support my suggestion and see it through.
What are some of the most important decisions you have made over the course of your career to better enable you to thrive?
Keeping the notion of managing my life in seasons in mind, I’ve made a handful of decisions which have enabled me to thrive.
Running a poultry farm: After Business School, I decided to go run a poultry farm in Nigeria – very different vs what my peers did - the FOMO was undeniable. However doing this gave me a lot of perspective about what working in Africa is like and also helped me hone my people management skills.
Balancing my “I”: Being an “I” is not always easy at Bain. To thrive, I made the decision to limit my social activities, while at the same time adopting a more collegiate / collaborative problem solving style. This has enhanced my team experience while ensuring I have the right level of energy to be my best at work and socially – especially within my present season.
Constant rejuvenation: Routinely when I’m on a tough case (season), I consciously make sure that I return back down to a manageable ‘steady-state’ instead of just continuing with the current state as the new ‘status quo’. This gives me time to rejuvenate and refresh while I gear up for what’s next.