Taslim Okunola, a final year student at the Federal University of Technology Akure is a young digital entrepreneur with a laser omphalos on digital education in Africa. He has a passion for growing businesses and figures that the only way to do that at scale is to teach people how to do it. In an interview with TechBreeds, he stated that although he encountered a series of successes and failures, including a rise and fall in CGPA, he trained over 400 students within and outside Federal University of Technology, Akure on digital marketing while he was a Student Ambassador for Google.
During his internship, he worked as an industry analyst with the large customer sales team that worked with Google’s biggest advertisers and agencies in Nigeria to develop digital solutions that build strong businesses and brands.
He has the mindset of mentoring students interested in digital marketing. To him, education has a ripple effect that goes on and on and that is what gave birth to the idea of ByteMars which is an education start-up that will soon be launched.
The start-up seeks to train young smart people on digital marketing and make them capable of growing businesses and going forward. To Taslim Okunola, digital marketing simply means helping businesses grow using online tools.
It is really inspiring and heartening to see an energetic young man like Taslim Okunola who is very devoted and passionate pursue his heart’s desire and also help others do the same. He is making history for himself, may it go on to inspire and motivate others after him.
Could we know more about Taslim Okunola?
Yes, of course. I am a young digital entrepreneur with my laser focus on Africa and digital education. I am passionate about growing businesses and to do that at scale, I figured that I have to teach people to do it. I am a workaholic – tush way of saying hustler, and a coffee lover, thanks to Cafe Neo.
You are a student of The Federal University of Technology, Akure. What are the things you have done so far as a student? Any leadership role or positions?
Sometimes I forget that I am still a student. (Laughs). Well, as a student I have encountered many successes and failures. Rise and fall of CGPA are one of them. I started my school political career as the Public Relations Officer of my departmental association in my first year. That year, I worked with a fantastic team that published the first departmental magazine. Afterward, I won and lost other elections. While I was Student Ambassador for Google, I trained over 400 students within and outside FUTA on digital marketing.
You are into digital marketing, what is digital marketing all about and why did you pick interest in it?
To me, digital marketing means helping businesses grow by using online tools. It is simply marketing redefined. In the old days, businesses used various traditional strategies to grow. What digital marketing does is that it helps people to measure better as well as target the right message to the right customers on the right platform. I would stop there so as not to bore you with the technical terms. I have a passion for growing businesses which is why I chose digital marketing as a career.
You recently participated in the 2016 Google Internship, can you tell us more about this program?
I interned at Google as an Industry Analyst with the Large Customer Sales team. The team works with Google’s biggest advertisers and agencies in Nigeria to develop digital solutions that build strong businesses and brands. In my words, we help businesses become bigger and better.
What were the things you learned and how have they influenced you?
I learnt to be entrepreneurial in my thinking, proactive in my work and specific in my delivery. The learnings I got have proved useful even after the internship.
What are your plans to make use of your experience at Google to influence the student community especially those interested in digital marketing?
I am looking forward to mentoring students interested in digital marketing. I don’t have the plans worked out yet but it is one of the key things I am looking into for 2017.
What advice do you have for students who have picked interest in the Google Internship program?
Work on your CV. It is very important that you have a great CV. That is how recruiters get to know what role fits you. Take a look at LinkedIn for some CV advice from Google’s former Head of People Operations, Laszlo Bock. I read all his articles and interviews about getting employment at Google before I applied for my internship. They helped me all through the process including the interview phase. Make Quora your friend as well. A lot of questions about internship and employment at Google have been answered by ex-Googlers. Treat applying for an internship like you are applying for a full-time role. Finally, the application for the Google Business Internship 2017 is open and you can apply here.
You are in your final year in school, what other plans do you want to embark on after graduation?
Like I said earlier, my passion is growing businesses. I really want to do that at scale, and the best way to do that is to teach people how to grow businesses so that they can go on to grow as many businesses as possible. Education always has that ripple effect that multiplies over time. This is what gave birth to the idea of ByteMars, which is an education startup launching soon. It will seek to train young smart people on digital marketing and make them capable of growing businesses going forward. You can sign up on our website to get notified when we launch.