RARE  RISINGSTARS - The UK’s Top 10 Black Students
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No. 5


Ifeoluwa Adeyemi

BSc Economics with Japanese
University of Birmingham
Business, Charity and Academics
Ifeoluwa is a master of many things. Whether he is speaking Japanese, securing investment banking internships (he will be completing five this year alone), or leading gospel choirs, Ifeoluwa has a strong and tangible track record of success. However, creating joy out of distress is perhaps his most magical talent.

Ifeoluwa grew up with his mother and two brothers in south east London. Despite struggling financially, Ifeoluwa’s mother was determined to distance her sons from the rough environment in which they grew up. However, although Ifeoluwa’s behaviour was an increasing cause for concern, he performed well academically. This won him a place at Dartford Grammar School, one of the best secondary schools in Kent.

“Anything you want to be able to do, you can learn.”

The transition was a challenge, to say the least. Fighting, a series of detentions and a poor attitude towards his peers led to Ifeoluwa being excluded in his early secondary school years. His future at the school was in serious jeopardy. However, this experience spurred a sudden change of mindset in the young Ifeoluwa. Realising he was squandering a good opportunity, he refocused and invested time in his studies. Ifeoluwa’s grades improved and he became the School Captain of Dartford Grammar School.

The magnitude of Ifeoluwa’s achievement was clouded by a loss in the family. His father passed away at the beginning of Year 12. Determined to succeed, Ifeoluwa continued to excel academically and immersed himself in wider school life. Ifeoluwa raised £9,000 for charity, founded a mentoring scheme for lower year groups and became the first student ambassador to Japan in 2014. He also received three unconditional offers to attend top Russell Group universities. Ifeoluwa began his degree in BSc Economics with Japanese at the University of Birmingham in 2015.
Ifeoluwa continued his track record of immersing himself in his local environment. Among his many extra-curricular activities, Ifeoluwa founded the first Gospel Choir at Birmingham with his good friend, Dupe Olawande. Within a few months, the choir grew to over 60 members and was featured on the BBC.

Ifeoluwa soon noticed that student events catered overwhelmingly to hedonistic experiences. In response to this he decided to set up IA Entertainment: an events company that runs “clean events”. The first event saw Big Tobz, Moelogo and Afro B, leading UK artists in afrobeats and grime, perform alongside university students. Ifeoluwa donated the profit from the event to a local church in Birmingham.

Shortly after this event, Ifeoluwa was selected as the only British student to work as a Japanese Language Specialist at the Rio Olympics. However, Ifeoluwa’s trip of a lifetime was abruptly cut short when he received a call from his brothers. His mother had suddenly become ill and was given a month to live. She passed away five days before the start of Ifeoluwa’s second year. Ifeoluwa rejected the advice of those around him to take a year out and followed his mother’s wishes to continue with his education, business and extra-curricular activities. Ifeoluwa continued to study, lead his choir and launch his second IA Entertainment event, The Grand Gospel. Through IA Entertainment alone, Ifeoluwa has managed to raise nearly five-figures of income.

“I’m willing to make sacrifices in order to help others.”

Despite having every reason to lose hope, Ifeoluwa has a remarkably positive outlook on life. He will soon be travelling to Japan to be hosted by the Mayor of Toyota, and was recently nominated for the Positive Role Model Award at the National Diversity Awards. Ifeolwua is also in the process of developing an app, Resolutionz, that aims to raise money for charity by helping people to realise their goals. He describes his experiences as “edifying” and realises that he has been put in a position to help others. Through gospel music and as a future investment banker, Ifeoluwa will continue to inspire others on the brink of despondency.

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