Name: Jeff Osuji
Graduation Year: 2009, 2011, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
College Degree: BS, Chemistry; MBA Marketing Concentration
What did you have planned after graduation?
After graduation I planned to work for a pharmaceutical company or a medical device company, possibly in sales. I felt this would be a good use of my undergrad chemistry degree and still enable me to interact in a business environment, as opposed to spending my hours in the lab as I did during my undergrad years. Unfortunately, due to the economy, I graduated jobless and spent the weeks after graduation filling out job applications, taking mentors to lunch, and shadowing successful people in my network.
What actually happened careerwise for you post graduation?
Two weeks or so after graduating with my MBA from UIUC, I received a call from the HR department at Moet Hennessy USA. I met an executive from the Hennessy brand, the previous fall at a conference and had followed up consistently throughout the last year of my program. I was told that I was being offered an opportunity for a paid internship in marketing on the Hennessy brand in Los Angeles for the summer, and that if I accepted I needed to be in LA the following Monday.
I had the dream internship, lived in LA for four months, and enjoyed networking and working with some of Hollywood’s top talent and movers and shakers in the alcoholic beverage industry. I also collaborated with the director of marketing for the west coast at the time to produce events with celebrity hosts such as Amber Rose, Serena Williams, Matt Kemp, and many more. I recommend everyone get some time away from home after graduation to put their life in perspective and learn new things about themselves.
It was in LA that I realized my calling when I recognized that many liquor and tobacco companies have a successful multicultural strategy while pharmaceutical, insurance, and other health-related companies do not. Shortly after my internship I received a call about a position with BlackDoctor.org, the largest online health publisher for black consumers to come on board as a Senior Account Executive to build partnerships with pharma-companies and other corporations; so that they can get their products and messages out to the black community in a trusted environment. In 2013, I was promoted to National Advertising Director. During this time I also founded Chicago Greek Weekend and led the expansion of my marketing company Pyramid Solutions & Marketing, LLC to Chicago and DC.
What’s going on with you as of right now?
I recently returned from a medical mission trip I helped organize in Lagos, Nigeria in partnership with Labors of Love Missions. We serviced over 1000 patients in under served villages in Lagos and provided basic screenings. This is a trip I plan to help organize annually.
I am preparing for the launch of a consumer product that will change the face of international business for years to come and excited as I enter the beta testing phase of this project. Stay tuned!
The most important lesson I learned in the professional space can most easily be summed up in a quote from Calvin Coolidge:
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. – Calvin Coolidge