Founder and Chief Executive Officer
New York City
Nt Etuk was inspired to launch DimensionU, a motivational learning system for kindergartners through 12th graders, while tutoring his “little brother” as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters. “He was far behind in his skills and I felt needed to get him up to speed quickly, so I started relentlessly drilling him. After two months. he asked his mother if she could make me stop. I asked why. He said he liked me, but he wasn’t having any fun. Off went the lightbulb. I realized he was emblematic of a generation of kids who, while engaged with information in many ways, (e.g., social media, videogames), find the way information is presented in classrooms completely boring.”
Etuk’s learning system lets kids earn monetary allowances when they complete academic tasks built into educational videogames. Parents pledge money, which kids can use toward rewards. Etuk walked away from a promising career with Citigroup to launch DimensionU. Getting the company off the ground was financially challenging, but he was determined to succeed, and did. Among other honors, his success earned him the prestigious 2012 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer Award and an invitation to the White House to meet President Obama.
Aside from his many professional accomplishments, Etuk is particularly proud of his black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a feat he accomplished in three-and-a-half years. “That took tremendous discipline and fortitude. It honed my competitive edge,” he recalls. Etuk earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Cornell University and an MBA at Columbia Business School, where he was a Beta Gamma Sigma graduate, a recipient of the Board of Overseers Fellowship, winner of the Heffernan Award for Outstanding Service, and a recipient of the Lang Fund Award for outstanding business ideas. Etuk is a native of the Bahamas and Nigeria.
Favorite author: Ayn Rand
First job: Policy analyst
Favorite song: “My Way” by Frank Sinatra