From 22nd July to 2nd August 2017, Strathmore Institute of Mathematical Sciences students embarked on a successful academic trip to the Unites States of America. The ten day trip was to provide students with an opportunity to link the theoretical experience in class with a practical one from the business and finance industry of the world’s leading economy.
The USA trip also presented an opportunity to learn from other cultures and give students a holistic foundation upon which to build their knowledge for future careers in the industry.
Students also learnt about the operations and opportunities available at leading financial institutions like Goldman Sachs, PWC and Thomson Reuters, enjoying a chance to discuss types of research and programs available at some of the best business schools in the USA and indeed globally; schools such as Wharton business school, Columbia business school, New York University (NYU), Baruch business school, Fordham University and George Washington University.
During the Goldman Sachs Group (a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services) visit, students learnt about the organization’s operations and enjoyed a special tour of their trading floors thereafter. Goldman Sachs recruiting team and some of their young analysts were also in attendance to share their experiences at the firm and answer questions from the Strathmore students about opportunities they can explore to intern or work at the company.
At the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) visit, students engaged in a panel discussion consisting of PWC analysts and associates, including a Strathmore alumnus who shared their in-depth knowledge of the ins and outs of audit and assurance, and the tax and consulting services offered at the firm. The panel discussion was followed by a tour of the PWC offices.
The following day in New York provided yet another unique experience in the form of a visit to New York University (NYU) and Columbia business school.
At NYU, the students were hosted at the data science centre, an emerging discipline still rare in Kenya. At the visit students learnt of the potential to transform the way business, government, science and healthcare are carried out. They also had an opportunity to learn how data science combines aspects of computer science, applied mathematics and statistics. The NYU data science initiative has led to the establishment of one of America’s leading data science training and research facility.
Set in north Bronx of New York city is the idyllic Rose Hill campus of Fordham University that hosted the students on Wednesday 26th August. The 85 acres featuring Gothic architecture and tree-lined walkways was where the students were welcomed by another Strathmore alumna based at the campus – Susan Kibe.
After a campus tour and plenty of selfies, the students were ushered into the Gabelli School of business for an introduction to the school’s MS in Business analytics. The interactive session was hosted by some of the school’s professors, alumni and admissions team. Here a lot of questions about big data were discussed as well as entry requirements into the program. The students had a chance to put their questions directly to the experts and even enjoyed one-on-one sessions with the Fordham team afterwards.
Thomson Reuters was the next stop for the students. Headquartered in the heart of Manhattan, New York, the firm prides itself as the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals where they combine industry expertise with innovative technology to deliver critical information to decision makers across diverse industries. The Strathmore students were particularly interested in how Thompson Reuters works with professionals in the financial and risk, and accounting industries to make decisions related to their work. They held lengthy discussions with the firm’s representatives about their operations in Africa and Kenya in particular. The students learnt that the firm has huge operations in Africa with promising career prospects on a global scale.
After the enlightening session, some of the students got a chance to pitch some of their business ideas to the Thomson Reuters representatives who were impressed and offered to link them to their tech start up support team based in South Africa. Rolly Rotich – 4th year was one of the students.
The next morning started with a bus trip from New York to Philadelphia where Ivy League Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania is located. Established in 1881, the Wharton business school takes satisfaction in being the world’s first business school.
The Strathmore students were taken through the school’s rich history and a presentation about the programs available. They were also informed about the requirements for international students who make up a sizeable percentage of the student population. A tour through the historical buildings that adorn the campus was next on the itinerary for the Strathmore students before embarking on the short journey back to New York City.
While in the American capital, the students had a free weekend to enjoy scenic tours across the beautiful city. Washington DC is where the U.S government seats. And the city is defined by its neoclassical monuments and buildings – including the iconic ones that house the federal government’s 3 branches: the Capitol, White House and Supreme Court.
The following week began with students visiting the George Washington School of business. Here another interactive session with the schools’ admissions team was held and students learnt of the programs available at the school as well requirements for admission. The students were particularly interested in the MS. In Business analytics and MBA programs on offer at GWU.
To finalize the trip, the students were welcomed at the Kenyan embassy in the U.S.A by the Deputy Chief of Mission – David Kahiro Gacheru, who thanked the University for arranging an academic trip of this kind for the students. Through an interactive Q&A session, he explained to the students about what the embassy does in service to Kenyans living in the USA and investors looking to do business in Kenya. He also challenged the students to take up opportunities to build their careers outside Kenya by furthering their education in areas facing great demand globally.
The trip was a great success proving to be highly educational, not only in academic terms, but in cultural experience – The USA is home to many cultures from across the globe and such an International experience is invaluable for enhancing a students’ understanding of the world, which greatly improves networking and personal development.