On Friday, the 22nd of September, 2023, Rodgers Githinji came back to Strathmore to have a chat with first year students at the Strathmore Law School. A trailblazer and a role model worth emulating, his insights captivated the students who attended the first of the SLS Alumni guest speaker series. In an interesting and practical interaction, Rodgers shared his experiences on good use of time, how to handle rejection, being daring and ambitious, and much more.
In his introduction and his Strathmore experience he had this to say:
By the time I sat my first semester I didn’t even know how AMS works; while I am not proud of it, I am glad I eventually picked up the pace and managed to maintain it through the years.
In order to distance myself from bad company, I dedicated all my free time to productive endeavors. I enrolled for an evening course and by the time I graduated, I had a Diploma in Business Management and a CIM diploma. I also started a YouTube channel dubbed Nairobi Legal Insights. I can confidently affirm that my career started on YouTube, where I used to and still educate non-lawyers on contract law.
Responding to a question on how to make good use of time and what clubs he joined while at Strathmore, he said:
Most humans tend to be generally lazy, so dedicating an extra thirty minutes every day to a worthwhile venture sets you apart from the majority. Consider opening a LinkedIn profile and proactively develop it in readiness for the job market; authenticity in your experiences is crucial. Be intentional on the companies and connections you engage with. Success is access to information. Don’t ask for jobs on LinkedIn. Build your brand and create relationships. Relationships are organic, take time to build them.
Use your social media platforms to build yourself and your profile, take advantage of LinkedIn especially. Be mindful of what you post on your social pages; avoid excessive focus on your private life. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have fun, by all means do but try to strike a balance between your social life and the school work. Keep in mind that every online post contributes to a lasting digital footprint. Therefore, limit the personal information you post on your social media platforms, unless it relates to your career. Be mindful of your online presence as your social media content can influence your job applications, either securing you a job or earning you a rejection.
Equally, it is important to take advantage of the events that are held at Strathmore. Please attend the events at the auditorium. They tend to bring good industry connections, yet as students we fail to take advantage and engage with them when they are readily accessible on campus.
At the same time, please remember to develop great soft skills, maintain a positive social media presence, and cultivate respect for others. These qualities can significantly expand your horizons and unlock unforeseen opportunities. Value your time, use it efficiently and foster an independent mindset.
Another student asked him; how do you handle failure and rejection?
As you transition, you will face failure and rejection. It’s part of life. If you don’t apply and put yourself out there nobody will know about you. Don’t be afraid of trying and failing; if you don’t try, you have already failed. If you never speak about yourself, nobody will know about what you are doing. Sell your skills. Your work must show itself. Rejection only helps you get better at it. It builds your confidence and resilience.
I keep a rejection folder. One of the first rejections that I received was from Strathmore University when I applied to be a graduate assistant in 2020. Since then, I have faced many rejections along the way. It’s never been an easy journey since I tend to be daring and I am not afraid to apply for opportunities that are beyond my reach. But I believe that if you are consistent, you can achieve your dream. In today’s market, the demand is for the exceptional, the outstanding. For you to reach that level, you must excel in fundamental aspects. Leverage the insights provided by your lecturers to build networks and pave your way towards a successful career.
Learn from your mistakes and keep upping your skill. Separate rejection from yourself; it’s not about you, it’s about your skills and how you present them. We leave SLS thinking that you are going to make quick money. The reality is different; be open to start at unpaid internships. A great internship can be good training for the job and the market. It opens a door, helps you build networks and puts you ahead of the rest in case there is a job opening. Don’t let your best grades e limit your career options. Think beyond traditional law firms and open your minds and skills to the many and varied sectors of our economy.
He concluded by saying:
What people see as the end product has a great story behind it. Life is about giving and taking. Ask for help and be persistent. Your top three friends are going to either make you or break you. They can help keep you in check. At SLS, you are receiving the best education you can.
Rogers Githinji is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, with more than three years of experience in innovation and access to justice. He is currently a Junior Consultant at the Administrative Tribunal of the African Development Bank Group, where he provides legal and technical assistance to the Executive Secretariat of the Tribunal on international administrative matters and access to justice. He is both a 2023 Mandela Washington Fellow and a U.S. Department of State Professional Development Experience Fellow at the Central Bank of the U.S (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis). While at the Fed, he spent time with the Bank’s leaders and was exposed to the operations of the Central Bank of the United States of America.
Rogers holds a Master of Laws in International Financial Law and Regulation from Strathmore University. He was named a 2023 Young Global Changer by the Global Solutions Initiative in Berlin, Germany. In 2022, he was one of three award- winning youth entrepreneurs during the United Nations Global South-South Development Expo in Bangkok, Thailand. In 2021, he was among the 75 Global Emerging Talents of the Prestigious Falling Walls in Berlin, Germany. Rogers has previously worked with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations Specialised Agency for Information and Communication Technologies. As an expert mentor at ITU, he provided mentorship to the winners of “Innovations to Empower Women and Girls”.
Rogers is passionate about innovation and access to justice. His other areas of interest include: international development, monetary policy, and he has the zeal to contribute to the African Development Bank’s mission of spurring sustainable economic development and social progress across its regional member countries.
This event was organized by Douglas Gichuki who coordinates alumni activities at SLS.
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