Study Business Abroad in East Africa
“The aim of this study module is to develop managers with global mind-sets. It is about preparing them to work in a global environment, and helping them to understand cultural differences in order to turn cultural competence into a competitive advantage. It is also about developing leaders with an awareness of the ethics and values of today’s business space. ” – USB
Andrea, our Program Facilitator in Kenya, thoroughly enjoyed her time with the group of students. She loved seeing how their perspectives changed, how new business networks were formed, and how everyone had the opportunity to exchange their knowledge. Below Andrea shares the journey of the group, highlighting their trip experiences.
The first stop of the trip was Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. After observing the beautiful wilderness over optional gorilla trekking and canoe riding, the group joined up during a cultural visit with the Ibyiwacu Village. Here we learned about the traditional Rwandan way of life and anti-poaching efforts. Next, we stopped by Nyirangarama farm and factory to hear about the inspirational story of successful Rwandan entrepreneur, Sina. He came from very humble beginnings, initially selling donuts on the side of the road, and now employs and educates hundreds of people from Tare, the town he grew up in.
We continued by road to Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, and had the opportunity to hear from Nash the co-founder of Safe Motos. Safe Motos is a mobile application for safer motorbike hire. Motorcycles are the most commonly used mode of public transport in Rwanda and account for a majority of Kigali’s road fatalities. Here we learned about the capability of mobile technology, Kigali as an ideal testing site for start up companies, and the successes and challenges these start ups face.
An integral part of a Study Business Abroad Program, is meeting and learning from local business owners and academics. We had the opportunity to hear from academics both from University of Rwanda and University of Kigali, including Dr. Musobo who lectured about Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Rwanda, Mr. Kubwiman who talked about cooperatives in Rwanda and Mr. Nyiringango who shared with us about social and global innovation from a Rwandan context. Ending our journey in Rwanda, we took a moment to visit the Rwandan Genocide Museum, giving meaningful historical context to Rwanda’s overall lesson in market resilience.
Our next stop was Nairobi, Kenya where the story of innovation was alive and contagious. The students met with partner university Strathmore Business School to hear from Dr. Ogola about the Mpesa case study, new business models in emerging markets, marketing approaches and strategies in East Africa. Then, we took to the streets for a practical study and comparison of local Kenyan markets. Afterwards, students presented their findings to Dr. Njiraini who continued the conversation with us about fast moving consumer goods in Kenya. The evening ended with a lively networking dinner involving Strathmore dean, students and faculty.
The next morning we had the opportunity to hear from a panel of entrepreneurs including Agosta the CEO of Pesapal and Geoffrey the founder of Enreal Limited. Next, we headed to Magana Flowers’ fragrant farm and factory to witness how Kenya has become one of the world’s biggest exporters of cut flowers in the world. We heard from Magana Flowers CEO Nicholas, and Kenya Flower Council CEO Jane, to gain more insight into how the flower industry is setting the standards and paving the way for other exporting sectors in Kenya such as agriculture. On our final day we had the pleasure of hearing a lecture from Mr. Ouma an entrepreneurship in East Africa. We then headed to the Eastleigh slums to see how local NGO, Made In The Streets, is making a difference in their community by educating and rehabilitating street children and adults. In the evening, students returned to Strathmore to engage in a lively business negotiation exercise with Kenya MBA students, an experience that reminded us all of the importance of understanding the culture in which one wishes to do business.
Our last stop in Kenya was the great Maasai Mara, where students had the opportunity to visit a local Maasai Village, learn about the conservation efforts of the Africa Foundation and view some of the most abundant wildlife the world has to offer. Watching the sun set over this breathtaking landscape, and engaging in meaningful conversations with new friends, was the perfect end to a successful trip.
“This trip was eye opening. A great opportunity to challenge myself out of my comfort zone. Great networking opportunities.”Soso Fisa
“Far more than I expected. It was an experience of a lifetime. I realized that Africa has so much to teach me, not only in the classroom but also in learning from the different cultures and the landscape. It was not only a journey of the mind but a journey of the heart. Thank you so much Andrea!”Samantha Sharkey
“There were so many favourite activities! Volcanos National Park, Made in the Streets, Lectures at various business schools, especially negotiation session at Strathmore”Wilmarié