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Executive MBA alumnus Niyi Abidakun leads data and analysis at events organiser ITE Group

Niyi Abidakun, a graduate from the 2016 cohort of the Cambridge Executive MBA programme, has been appointed Head of Insights & Analytics at London-based organiser of exhibitions and conferences, ITE Group.

Niyi Abidakun.
Niyi Abidakun (EMBA 2016)

Niyi Abidakun, a graduate from the 2016 cohort of the Cambridge Executive MBA programme, has been appointed Head of Insights & Analytics at London-based organised of exhibitions and conferences, ITE Group.

ITE Group, founded in 1991 to produce events, originally in new market economies, organises 120 annual trade exhibitions and conferences in 14 countries. It boasts a diverse portfolio of high-profile events in sectors like mining, logistics, agriculture, textiles, horticulture and pharma.

As part of a three-year programme of growth and transformation, Niyi is responsible for integrating the data, reporting and analysis teams of a newly acquired business into ITE Group’s own operations.

A colourful career path

Describing his professional background to date as “vibrant”, Niyi has changed sector several times whilst keeping a firm grounding in the discipline of analytics thanks to his undergraduate and master-level degrees in econometrics.

“I started my career in Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer, leading growth through customer data management and analysis via loyalty schemes,” says Niyi. He moved onto roles in telecommunications and media companies, including Getty Images, before moving on to ITE Group.

“My long-term professional ambitions are in large-scale transformation and growth projects involving mergers, acquisitions or pre IPO start-ups.” continues Niyi.

A desire to make an impact on the world through business

Niyi joined the Cambridge Executive MBA programme in 2016 with the ambition of increasing his capacity to make positive societal impacts through his work.

“Looking back at my career, I made a habit of seeking out the most challenging analysis projects” says Niyi. “The difference is, since concluding the EMBA programme, my actions for progress are purposeful. I have gained the confidence needed to take on a much wider scope of professional challenges.”

“Completing the rigorous programme at Cambridge Judge Business School helped me realise my most valuable strengths as a professional and, in turn, revealed areas that I should seek to delegate responsibility – an important and valuable skill in its own right.”

Gaining a broader understanding of change management

One of the key takeaways from the programme for Niyi the broadening of his understanding of change management.

“Change management is challenging; navigating the trappings of emotions and implementing new processes, with the added pressure of driving bottom-line growth, requires high levels of self-awareness and emotional intelligence. The Executive MBA provided the time to practise these fundamental management skills in a safe, encouraging space.”

“This helps me tremendously with my work at ITE Group,” says Niyi. “The Negotiation and Fast Strategy modules have also been particularly useful since graduation.”

So, what advice does Niyi have for prospective participants of future Executive MBA cohorts?

“A Yoruba saying, from Nigeria, springs to mind: ‘eventually, you become what you surround yourself with.’ Thanks to the people I met and the skills I gained, I have a tangible appetite to add value to, and through, business. I know that I am richer for having taken the Executive MBA programme.”