2017 Best & Brightest: Theo Onigbinde, University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

Theo Onigbinde

University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School

“Professional pizza consumer, ice cream connoisseur and voracious Netflix viewer.”

Fun fact about yourself: I was born in Nigeria and lived there until I was four-years-old

Hometown: Sykesville, Maryland

High School: Century High School

Major: Business Administration

Favorite Business Courses: Mergers & Acquisitions, Investment Banking and Applied Business Improv

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:


  1. Jackie Robinson Scholar – National Merit Scholarship
  2. Harry Beech Scholarship              
  3. James K. McLean Study Abroad Scholarship
  4. The Helen Craig Wardlaw Fund Merit Scholarship


  1. Co-Founder/COO of non-profit organization – Hope 4 Tomorrow, Inc.
  2. Freshman Minority Advisor
  3. Minority Business Alliance – VP of Social Outreach
  4. UNC Division 1 Fencing Captain (Sabre)
  5. Atlantic Coast Conference All Academic Honor Roll


  1. NCAA Division 1 Fencing Team
  2. 2x NCAA Division 1 Fencing Regional qualifier
  3. UNC Kenan-Flagler Global Immersion Elective to South Africa
  4. Mergers & Acquisitions Teaching Assistant

Where have you interned during your college career? Allen & Company, New York, Investment Banking Summer Analyst (sophomore and junior summers)

Describe your dream Job: Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved music and working with children. I think music is very important in childhood development so my dream job would be one that allows me to teach music to elementary school students.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? I should not be afraid to take on risks as the riskiest endeavors could have the biggest reward. From risk in a portfolio to taking social risks in the workplace, the idea of risk was emphasized and stood out to me in several of my classes. Before studying business, risk always seemed like a negative thing, but after finishing my course load I understand that there are some risks that are worth taking and even necessary to be successful. And, as I move on to my career, I will carry that with me and attempt to find the balance of risk that works best for me.

Where would you like to work after graduation?  I would like to work as an Investment Banking Analyst in New York with Allen & Company and, thankfully, I will be working in this role post-grad.

What are your long-term professional goals? I want to move up in the investment banking world and eventually become a VP or an MD. After that, I hope to teach in some capacity either as a professor in business or as a teacher for young children.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Personal branding and social interactions are extremely important in the field of business so you must be ready to talk to others but also to listen as you never know when you might meet someone that could change the trajectory of your life forever.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I went to a scholarship conference and had the opportunity to converse with leaders in finance and entrepreneurship about their field.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would bea music and econ double major. I love music and I have always been interested in economics so this would be a good double.”

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…the importance of saving money and personal investments. I didn’t start investing and saving until college but I wish I started before that because I see now how important it is.”

What was the happiest moment of your life? It was when I received a full-time offer from the firm that I will be working for post-grad.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of the NGO that my younger sister and I founded. We have been able to make a huge impact on the lives of children around the world and I can only hope we are able to continue and do even more in the years to come.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? A  panther. It is a good embodiment of strength, patience and awareness.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My parents. They have sacrificed so much to get me where I am today. From bringing me to the U.S. even when they could have had a simpler, less stressful life in Nigeria to all the help they have given me in my academic journey, without them, I wouldn’t be half the man I am. I love them very much and cannot thank them enough.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? That I was a friendly, hard-working student who treated everyone respectfully and was always prepared to take on any challenge that came his way.

Favorite book: The Comfort Letter by Arthur R.G. Solmssen

Favorite movie: The Departed

Favorite musical performer: Chance the Rapper

Favorite vacation spot: Caribbean

What are your hobbies? Reading, playing the drums, writing music, running

What made Theo such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2017?

“There are students who make an indelible impression for the rare combination of poise, well-roundedness, and academic fortitude they possess. Theo is one of these students, a mature young man worldly wise beyond his years. Theo’s mission in life is to leverage his success in a way that will provide opportunities to enrich the lives of others in his community.

Theo’s commitment to his mission is evident in his work in a variety of communities on campus; as a mentor to fellow student athletes (he is on the UNC Fencing team), a club leader in the Minority Business Alliance and a teaching assistant for one of the most popular finance and rigorous finance electives that we offer.

What makes Theo particularly stand out is that his work does not end with those engagements. If you were to ask him what he is most proud of, he would cite the non-profit organization he co-founded and where he serves as COO. The organization brings supplies (school, sports and medical items) to impoverished youth in Nigeria, where Theo’s family emigrated from when he was a child. To date, the organization has provided more than $8,000 to the non-profit and $25,000 worth of supplies to children in need in Nigeria.

Theo is poise under pressure, which enables him to naturally rise to leadership roles in an unassuming manner, bringing everyone else along. He embodies all of the UNC Kenan-Flagler core values of excellence, leadership, integrity, community and teamwork. He has a long, prosperous future ahead of him regardless of the work he chooses to pursue.”

Angela D. Bond
Senior Associate Director
Undergraduate Business Program
UNC, Kenan-Flagler


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