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1L thrilled by mergers, acquisitions on a global scale

June 3, 2013 | Students

With a glance at the admission statistics for The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law’s Class of 2015, one will notice its age bracket starts at 20.

Ennie Aladejana is that 20.

And despite being the youngest in her class, the 1L is no rookie in studying and researching aspects of the law – mainly mergers and acquisitions.

Since she was a teenager, Aladejana has had an interest in the ongoing integration of Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), a merger between all countries in the West African economic bloc.

As an undergraduate, Aladejana sought an opportunity to work on this growing interest. She gained research experience with ECOWAS, a trade union with the goal of establishing a single currency and market for 16 West African countries, one of which includes Aladejana’s home country, Nigeria.

At the ripe age of 16, when Aladejana had finished high school, the native of Lagos had to make a choice of whether to stay in Nigeria or move to the U.S. for college.

“I was at a crossroads in my life, I had to make a decision,” she said.

The benefits of a U.S. green card factored into her decision, and separation from her parents, who still lived in Nigeria at that time, was not a deal-breaker.

“I’ve lived away from my parents for a while now. I went to a boarding high school, beginning at age 9,” Aladejana said. “I’m used to being independent.”

She opted to attend Middle Tennessee State University, where relatives lived in nearby Nashville, and she studied economics and accounting. She allotted a bulk of her studies to how Nigeria is delaying the transformation of ECOWAS, she centered her thesis on this issue and co-authored a research paper, “Economic Stability in Nigeria: The Trigger for the Successful Integration of West Africa’s Economy.”

It was an internship the International consulting firm, Accenture that first drew her attention to the issue and ultimately shaped her career path.

“I was exposed to research and conversation on the future of Nigeria, especially the ongoing transformation of West Africa into a monetary bloc,” Aladejana said. “The 16 countries putting their many differences aside for the bigger goal of economic growth and development intrigued me.”

Having grown up in a country with 521 different languages and more than 160 million people, it’s fair to say setting aside differences is something Aladejana is used to doing.

“I come from a country that fought a civil war caused by the decision of a part of it to secede, where cultural pride trumps national pride, and cultural divide, chaos, and conflict have been accepted as the new normal,” she said. “Through it all … I have a genuine appreciation for diversity.”

While at Accenture during the summer after her second year at MTSU, Aladejana worked on two strategic teams. One was in charge of restructuring the Nigerian Stock Exchange, including recruiting a new president and chief executive officer. The other team worked with Nigerian Vision 2020, a campaign to make the Nigerian economy competitive by the year 2020 through researching agglomeration of economies and identifying economic network clusters. The goal at Accenture was to identify sectors of the economy that would produce the greatest yield from an influx of capital.

The internship honed Aladejana’s economic and accounting skills and further solidified her decision to go to law school. Unsurprising for Aladejana, who completed her six-year program in four years at MTSU, the workload prepared her for the rigorous program at Moritz.

“I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. I knew I wanted to study economics. But the question that has always been in mind is: ‘What areas of law will I study and how do I blend both interests?’”

Mergers and acquisitions ended up being the perfect fit, she said. It blends her interests from analyzing the financial viability and strategic needs of merging parties and the necessary law that would ensure a successful transition after the merger.

“I often describe mergers and acquisition as a marriage. Most people get caught up in every little detail of the wedding ceremony, and forget that life continues after the wedding. Questions like: How compatible are the cultures? How do you avoid duplicating resources? Is there adequate cash flow to keep both parties afloat? Things like that are often overlooked.”

That is primarily what she intends to focus her career on. Her background in economics and accounting provided her with two unique perspectives of financial analysis: forgone profits and opportunities and actual profits. She ultimately wants to work in the mergers of national economies and the effects on national and multinational corporations.

Aladejana said, however, she realizes she’ll have to gain her footing by merging corporations and businesses before working on countries.

It’s safe to say her head’s in the right place.

“I want to see mergers happen. I want to see acquisitions happen,” she said. “Ultimately I’m all about minimizing risks, reducing the cost, reducing the bottom line, and maximizing benefits.”

This article was written by Sarah Pfledderer.