Be The Change That Is Needed

ASA*, FISA*, PSSA*, HURMSA*, BISSA*, NUISA*, MSA*, ABS*, OMSA*….! I strongly advise that you work together and create opportunities for yourselves. Here are my simple suggestions that come from 12 months of experience in association affairs. They are pretty simple:

  1. Team work. Posts do not make you a leader. It is unfortunate that a majority of students mistake posts as a leadership positions. Taking charge and being an effective team player is what makes you a leader; it is what gives you the right to use words like Spearheaded, Motivated, Worked, Managed, Instituted and Participated and so forth to describe your achievements and acquired skills.
  2. Create a comprehensive sponsorship list! I cannot tell for sure whether that is what is being done by all the aforementioned associations but the habit of approaching companies each time you need sponsorship is not constructive. I recommend that you create a comprehensive 12 month calendar of events, package it effectively whilst identifying probable sponsors and then approach them in a total manner! You can easily use this as a way to get needed support from your patrons, board of advisors and other stakeholders. They are sure to respect your senses of vision and strategy. Make a further step and publicize this proposal in all professional social media sites (this should be done with a particular targeted partner in mind). Further still, why don’t you all create another joint proposal? Conferences and Forums are more effective when done as a conglomerate! Think about it, huh?
  3. Research, Research, Research! In the NSE listed companies, a good majority of the board members are University of Nairobi Bachelor of Commerce Alumni! These are individuals who can be approached for long term planning and networking (for attachments, permanent jobs and Angel Investing for the entrepreneurs).

I believe ones time in the University of Nairobi, School of Business should be spent learning and perfecting skills in communication, coordination and organization. Going about this is quite easy only that you must be assertive.

I wish you all the best.

ASA* Accounting Students Association;

FISA* Finance Students Association;

PSSA* Procurement and Supply chain management Students Association;

HURMSA* Human Resource Management Students Association;

BISSA* Business Information Systems Students Association;

NUISA* Nairobi University Insurance Students Association

MSA* Marketing Students Association

ABS* Association of Banking Students

OMSA* Operations Management Students Association

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Meet The Future Of Finance! From London, With Love!

The Kenyan Team. From the left: Edgar Jean Ojiambo, Industrial Mentor Francis Maina Mwangi CFA, Anthony Kimani, Laurancia Barasa, Ruskin Onyambu and Justus Wambua.

Ever been in a room where the rest of the people are swapping private jokes? Where you can’t help but be filled with admiration and long to be part of the fold? Well, I had one such experience this Monday 16th of April. Finally after weeks of tracking, cancelled appointments and email swaps, I caught up with the first ever University of Nairobi, School of Business CFA Institute Research Challenge Kenya winners; a team of five outstanding Bachelor of Commerce final year students made up of Laurancia Barasa, Anthony Kimani, Justus Wambua, Edgar Jean Ojiambo and Ruskin Onyambu.

The Country Champions at the Hilton, Nairobi.

When I arrived to interview them, they were hanging out in Edgar’s room sharing their weekend musings. It was clear from their laughter and familiarity that they had grown to become great friends.

The five explained that they registered to participate in the CFA Institute Research Challenge, Kenya with the aim of building their proficiency in Business. Laurancia, Ruskin and Anthony wish to become the best in Financial and Equity Analysis, Justus’ passion lies in Corporate Finance and Edgar is inclined towards becoming a Forensic Accounting expert.

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is centered around university students carrying out detailed financial research and analysis on identified companies. Mentored by a senior professional, Francis Maina Mwangi, CFA, the team researched and prepared an investment recommendation based on the analysis of a public traded company which was Athi River Mining Ltd. They emerged the best amongst all the Kenyan universities that had participated at the competition held at the Hilton, Nairobi on 8th February 2012. They would represent the University, the country and the East African region at the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) Finals in London, where they would be joined by teams from the American University in Cairo and the University of Pretoria to represent Africa.

So on the night of the 12th March, 2012, the team set out to this European land for an experience of a lifetime!

From the left: Ruskin Onyambu, Industrial Mentor Francis Maina Mwangi, CFA and Edgar Ojiambo enjoying lunch after the team's presentation at The Barbican Centre, London.

“It was very cold!” Laurancia shared. “Getting around was a bit of a challenge given that London’s transport system is so different from Nairobi’s”

Upon their arrival on the 13th, they checked in at the Thistle™ City Barbican and then proceeded to The Barbican Centre for a briefing of the competition’s rules and guidelines. The next day was the main event so after a bit of a tour of the venue, they proceeded to rest.

“We rehearsed and presented at 10 am” Edgar explains. “We were grouped into 4 groups and a winner was picked from each one. We didn’t manage to proceed to the finals in New York but being there in London was such an achievement!”

Indeed, they did not get to compete in the global finals but as ambassadors of the region, they had done us proud. In our books, they had returned as victors.

I was curious of what their favorite moments were in their tour of London.

“Old Trafford!” Justus exclaimed. “As a football fan, visiting the home of Manchester United was more than awesome!”

Edgar clicking away at his laptop turned it around and showed me footage of the opening of the London Bridge. “That was such a sight!” He said with a smile.

Ruskin Onyambu and Anthony Kimani in full view of the London Bridge over the River Thames.

“Come here and see.” Anthony beckoned. On his laptop screen was the picture of him and Ruskin standing before the Swiss Re Building. “That was one of my best moments!”

Laura, with her glistening smile, told me she was fascinated at how Nairobi’s plan was a direct photocopy of London’s blueprint, complete with Uhuru Park as Hyde Park, Kenyatta avenue as Oxford Street and Victoria Station as Kencom Bus Terminus!

I turned to Ruskin in inquisition and he told me that the whole trip was fabulous to him and that he couldn’t isolate just one favorite moment.

Upon their return on the 17th March, they quickly went back to their normal schedules and unless one tracked them down and ask them of

their experience as participants in the Challenge, one wouldn’t really know what they have been up to.

I wrapped up the interview as I awaited Edgar to finish transferring some of their photos into my flash disk.

Justus Wambua and Laurancia Barasa, Live at Old Trafford!

“What are your plans for the future as far as the CFA Institute is concerned?” I asked.

“To share our insight with the next participating teams from the University of Nairobi” Ruskin said. This was echoed by the rest of the team. “We would like to mentor them and give them a standing chance because now, many more schools are preparing as they await for the next Challenge to commence.”

To the students of the University of Nairobi, get in line and watch out for the announcement of the next CFA Institute Research Challenge by the School of Business Finance Students Association (FISA), which is the contact association of the CFA Institute. Rest assured that you will have a solid backing from these state champions.

The Team on tour in front of St.Paul's Cathedral, London.

Believe In Africa Because It Is Home!

A billion reasons to believe in Africa? How about a trillion?!

Africa Surrounded!

Coca-Cola invited Kenya’s best known celebrities and media personalities  for the Campaign launch: A Billion Reasons to Believe in Africa, on Thursday 5th April, 2012! I had the pleasure of receiving an invitation to represent you, my wonderful readers courtesy of Muthuri Kinyamu; Kenyan Marketer. My companion for the day was Wesley Owiti who won the coveted Best Dressed Male award at the event! Congratulations!

The African Heritage House.

The launch, which was African themed, was held at African Heritage House where guests arrived by train! The legend Ayub Ogada was the first performer. The music was perfect and the food exquisite. I thoroughly enjoyed the muhogo (fried cassava), mahindi choma (roasted maize) and ugali!

You see, Coca-Cola is well aware that the sustainable solutions for Africa lie within the likes of me and you; we Coca-Cola drinkers who are university students, young entrepreneurs and adventurers!

The Venue over looking Nairobi National Park

I salute them for finally realizing that we are our own destiny shapers. The future is here and the development of our lands is up to us.

Musiondoke Africa mkadhani mazuri yatapatikana nje ya bara hili. Mazuri yamo mumu humu!

As a Business student, my reasons to believe in Africa lie along the lining of our pockets.

  • The remittances by Kenyans living abroad are now a little over $890 million thanks to CBK’s aggressive marketing of its Treasury bonds which fetch double digit returns! These Kenyans are also among the leading investors in real estate in Kenya.
  • Turkana! Need I say more?
  • Our education systems are heading nowhere but up with the development of Information, communication and technology!
  • The London Olympic Games begin this July and as usual, our Kenyan athletes hold much promise as far as building our tourism image and clinching those medals is concerned.

Believe, believe, and believe!

The video for this campaign is on point! I got goose bumps when I watched it for the first time. Its lyrics speak of a love that never fades; one that is authentic and perpetual!

Tujenge na tupende bara letu kila tunapoburudika na Coca-Cola!

I believe in Africa because it is home!

What Makes An A-list Investor? Read On!

Have a Business Plan? Seeking funding? Jot the following down on your note pad:

An Investor  MUST have:

Patience

Anyone putting money into your business idea should have good sense and not be a nag or pester for return. “5 to 10 years, madam. That’s how long you should wait to start receiving your return. Sign here… ” 🙂

Integrity

Scrutinize them as they do you. Money is not just money in an investment; money is trust, belief and reliance.

Vision

Seek funding from individuals who ‘see’ what you ‘see’.

Good luck!