Portrait of Chris Igodan in blue suit

It didn’t take long for Chris Igodan (BSBA ’06) to discover his passion for numbers: a high school class in accounting sparked his interest. His pursuit of a career in that industry, as well as his family’s belief in the power of higher education, eventually brought the Igodans halfway around the world, from South Africa to Ohio State.

The 2022 recipient of Fisher’s Pace Setters Executive Award, Chris looks back on the people, programs and places that shaped his journey from international student to his current position as vice president and chief financial officer of Nationwide’s Financial Corporate Solutions business unit.

Describe how your Fisher experience helped equip or prepare you for your career.

The most notable program during my time at Fisher was the Honors Accounting Program. During my three years in the program, I learned alongside brilliant students and received instruction from esteemed professors who challenged me intellectually and who incorporated written oral communication skills that prepared me for my professional journey.

Two children peer out from a purple jungle gym
Chris Igodan's two children

Now, for some favorites:

  • Favorite business faculty member or mentor: Accounting and Management Information Systems Professor Rick Young. He is a brilliant mind in the field of accounting and, although I was often intimidated by him, he stretched my critical thinking skills. I was fortunate to have received instruction from him. 
  • Favorite business school-related memory: Connecting with classmates at the Fisher computer lab (the one where talking was allowed ?)
  • Favorite spot on campus: There are so many great spots, so I’m going to pick two: Mirror Lake Café, where I connected with friends, and the student lounge in Gerlach Hall, where I read the Wall Street Journal almost every day during the lunch hour of my senior year.

Complete this sentence: Graduating from Ohio State meant...

…tremendous personal and scholastic growth over a four-year period, while building lifelong friendships at a premier institution.

Since graduating, what are you most proud of?

Fatherhood. My wife and I are blessed to have two children. Our daughter is 9 years old and in the third grade. Our son is 2½ years old.

You recently received Fisher’s 2022 Executive Pace Setter Award. What does that award from your alma mater mean to you?

I’m honored and humbled to receive this award and reflect on the numerous professors and administrators that expected excellence during my tenure at Fisher and prepared me life after college. 

Watch Chris' remarks (57:34) from the 2022 Pace Setters Awards livestream

What advice would you give to a current student or a new Fisher graduate?

Surround yourself with a positive community. Offer yourself grace when you fail, and embrace the discomfort you might experience while learning.

What’s the most interesting fact about you that isn’t on your resume or LinkedIn profile?

I grew up in Nigeria until I was 10 years old, and my family moved to South Africa a couple of months after Nelson Mandela became President in 1994. We lived in South Africa for seven years before moving to Columbus.

Complete this sentence: Thanks to the extensive network of Business Buckeye alumni and friends, I’ve…

…been fortunate to build friendships with people from all over the world who I still stay connected with today.

What are some causes or organizations motivate you to action personally?

I enjoy spending time with students to provide mentorship and advice. I’ve done that through my involvement with The Ohio Society of CPAs, The Ohio CPA Foundation and the National Association of Black Accountants.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Why was it so meaningful?

“Growth and comfort do not coexist.” I heard former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty share this at a conference in 2018, and I remind myself of this phrase when navigating those challenging professional days.

Get to know Chris

  • 2005: honored with the Walter M. Rudin Junior Pace Setters Award
  • 2019: honored with Project THRIVE’s Alumnus of the Year award
  • His father, Chris, is a professor of agriculture and the international development and leader of International Extension Programs in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.