Marian Chatoro Andaje, recently completed her Actuarial Science degree at Strathmore, and is awaiting graduation in June with an outstanding performance. She will graduate with a 1st class honour, something she always strived to achieve from the time she started university. The top student is not a stranger to such performances, as she was among the top 100 students who performed excellently in the 2011 Kenya National Secondary Examinations (KCSE).
The soft spoken, bubbly and humble lady, is currently working under Strathmore School of Finance and Applied Economics, as a graduate assistant, as she awaits her next academic venture.
What was your source of motivation to work hard through university?
My faith in God was my number one motivator.
In addition, the fact that I was under a scholarship meant that many people were invested in my education. Therefore I had to work hard to get the best grades I could get. This would show that all the help I was given was not in vain.
How did you get a scholarship?
Strathmore called my former school (Kenya High School) to offer me a scholarship, and I was awarded the Strathmore University Academic Scholarship; I was part of the top 100 students in the country and the 4th best in my school. I got a straight A of 84 points.
Being on scholarship was interesting and also motivating; because of the fact that I knew there are so many people who had a stake in my education by putting money and resources to help me succeed.
Why Actuarial Science?
I always loved mathematics, so when I was given the degree options, I knew actuarial would be the best option because of my love for mathematics. But further to that, while studying Actuarial I learnt finance, business, statistics etc. providing me with an all-rounded degree.
I love mathematics because I find it easy, it does not require a lot. It is all about working with numbers and coming up with answers, managing complex things and solving them.
What does a Graduate Assistant role entail?
The position involves helping out with lectures, conducting research, improving projects for publication, and sometimes helping with mentoring students.
I am not sure if I will become a lecturer in the long run, I have not decided on that yet.
What is your family background?
I am the second born in our family. I have an elder sister and two younger brothers who are both currently in high school.
What are your next 5-10 year plans?
I would like to have furthered my education i.e. get a masters and even a doctorate if possible.
I recently got an SOAS University of London scholarship to study a summer school course in Finance and Risk management. I am excited about this.
I also have a vision of starting a mentorship program for young girls; especially those who get into early marriages due to either lack of exposure or funds.
What would you advice students on working hard and being excellent?
Firstly, I believe it is important to set your targets at your greatest potential. This will mean that as you work you strive to beat yourself and maximize on your gifts. This way, you will have no regrets and will not feel as if you’ve wasted your strengths.
Secondly, and perhaps the most important, is trusting in God. In those times when you feel like giving up on your studies, it is important to ask God for strength. In addition, wisdom is key to making the right choices.
What do you do in your spare time?
I like reading (mostly novels) and also meeting new people with diverse backgrounds. In addition, I like experiencing different cultures.
I also enjoy singing.
Congratulations on your success!