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I am among the 1% that Secured a PwC Job – Alumna Nelly Makena

Nelly Makena thrives in successes and excellence, and is never afraid to say NO to options that do not align with her plans or desires. The first born of three siblings, is passionate, excited and honored to work in a company she has always had an interest in, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) limited.


Nelly was among a selected few to be accepted to join PwC for the annual graduate recruitment program.


She attended Chogoria Girls Boarding Primary School, where she scored a mean grade of 407/500 (A) in her KCPE, before attending Chogoria Girls High School where she attained a mean grade of A- in her national examination KCSE.


Which course did you study at Strathmore and why?

I studied a Bachelor of Commerce Exempt program that is offered to CPA and ACCA finalists. I double majored in Accounting and Finance. Before this I pursued a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) course and completed in December of 2013.


Why Accounting and Finance?

My dream course was Computer Science, after attaining an average grade of A- in KCSE and A in Mathematics, English, Kiswahili and Computer Studies. Sadly the Universities Joint Admissions Board called me for a Bachelor of Science – Human Resources Management in a university I did not wish to attend. I turned down the offer, and with that, I realized I needed to take CPAs more seriously.


While studying the CPAs I met Dr. Jim McFie, who helped me with making decisions concerning my career path. He helped me pick out a degree I could study after I completed my CPAs and advised me on available career fields that I could venture into, as well as which top firms to aim for. I knew I wanted to work for PwC all along.  


How did you end up at PwC and in what field are you working?

I applied through the competitive PwC annual graduate recruitment program in February. I went through a series of interviews between March and August and successfully got selected in the final interview which was conducted by PwC partners. I am among the 1% that made it out of the six thousand eight hundred plus that had applied to PwC. Through the interviews I was under the guidance of Dr. Jim McFie who supported me every step of the way, by not only giving me insights on how I should present myself, but also kept encouraging me to make sure I know as much as I can about the company.  


I am working in the Assurance line of service.


How is the experience so far?

We just completed our first month where we trained on both interpersonal and technical skills. The learning was a little bit intense because the firm works at equipping us well before sending us to clients. Right now we are settling in under the guidance of our coaches. I am enjoying every bit of it.


Strathmore University ethics played a very important role in my transition considering that this is a totally new environment with people I haven’t met before. Were it not for the good that I learnt at the university, this transition would be hard because I wouldn’t know how to best present myself.


The dress code, dining etiquette, holding doors and saying hello with a smile among other skills we learnt at Strathmore, come in handy.


How was your Strathmore experience outside of studying?

For a short period, I played archery and participated in community outreach programs. Case example I went to Kitui County a few years back to mentor girls who were considered rejects by their society.


In my class I was also quite outspoken and this saw me receive the most influential student award. I also organized the final year dinner for evening students, which was a big success.


What are your 5-10 year plans?

In five years I plan to have mastered as much as there is to be mastered in this field, so that I have what it takes to lead a team of auditors in carrying out audit engagements. In addition, I hope to be able to start and complete my masters. I intend to undertake a Masters in Data Science at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.


I also have a dream of setting up a scholarship fund to help capable students, who cannot afford high quality education at Strathmore, to study. This is because I am a beneficiary of Dr. McFie’s scholarship Fund. I went through my CPAs under his sponsorship.


My ten year goal plan is to be at the top of my career field. Through constant development and exposure I want to be the go-to person in the field of Accounting and Finance, just like my career mentor – Dr. McFie. I intend to be an expert in forensics, fraud examination and financial data analytics.


In addition, I hope to volunteer my professional expertise in centers that take care of the less fortunate in the society.


What would you advise current SU students on choosing their career paths?

Students need to strive at being good at what they do, to shine in whatever field, making sure they can seek advice on matters related to this field from an expert. This is very possible if you read widely.  They need to befriend their lecturers, seek their advice and learn as much as they can from their experiences. In addition, they should learn how to interact with others because; how much one stands out is dependent on how easily they can be remembered by those whom they meet.


I would also encourage the B.Com Exempt students not to feel discouraged to apply to the big 4 audit firms merely because they are not majorly involved in the many extra-curricular activities that full time students get to enjoy. One can still stand out in the interviews based on who they are, besides, they have the professional qualification which is a plus.


In your spare time what do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy reading books which thrill my intellect and encourage me to be better.


I also enjoy travelling and going on road trips (no matter how short).


If I am not doing any of the above, I would probably be writing or having a good time with my friends.



Congratulations on your great achievement Nelly!