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I am ready to face and conquer the world


It’s said that you’ll need to study for at least 300 hours if you want to get close to getting a pass mark in the CFA exams. And it’s for good reasons. The CFA Institute placed the pass rate for the November 2021 level 1 exam at 27%. So when Maryanne Wekesa received her certification for the first level, it was the fruit of long hours of study. She narrates her experience, both human and full of determination.

“Growing up, as my friends aspired to be doctors, engineers or pilots, surprisingly, I did not have any concrete ambition. I did not know what I wanted to pursue although I wanted to do something related to Mathematics. My parents were certain that I would pursue a course in the medical field because I excelled in sciences while in high school. But that did not align with any of my interests.

In the end, I opted to join the Actuarial Science at Strathmore.

The journey

In my opinion, the transition from high school to university is not well addressed in terms of how much effort is required to study and excel on an individual basis, without the strict supervision that one is accustomed to.

I loved Mathematics from a young age and loved solving problems. However, once I started studying Actuarial Science, I discovered that it was not exactly what I had imagined it to be. There was lots of content to grasp and formulae to memorize.

My parents, persuaded that I should pursue another course to give me an edge in the job market, suggested that I study ACCA. I needed to choose between any of the professional papers available and I was not sure if I would pursue Actuarial Papers or a the Charter Financial Analysist (CFA) course. I was rather hesitant as adding a second course meant double the effort and double the work. I did not want to begin the CFA course and not leave it by the wayside without completing it. But in my third year, I realized that I was more inclined towards Finance units than Actuarial. And in 2021, wonder of wonders, I finally got the courage to pursue CFA. That in itself was not an easy journey at all, but it was worth it.

Pursuing the two concurrently brought about challenges. It was inevitable that they would conflict at some point in terms of time, effort and resources. I was sometimes overwhelmed juggling between my project work in Actuarial science while preparing do my CFA level 1 examinations.

However, my goal each semester was to get to the Dean’s list. No matter how challenging it got, I had to get that “A” grade. I had to maintain that momentum.

Support system and accountability partner

My parents have always been my biggest support system. They have always supported me, encouraged me to follow my dreams and were ready to offer assistance. My mother taught me to keep pursuing my passion no matter what. She purchased past papers and necessary reading materials that would help in my preparations for my examinations. A simple thank you would never suffice to express how fortunate I am to have them.

Having an accountability partner was an integral aspect in my academic journey. Sometimes one needs that spark to keep going or to assist us through a rough patch. Many are the times that I would hit roadblocks that derailed me in my studies and giving up felt like the easier option. Lilian Karanja, my accountability partner, encouraged me to push through. We prepared timetables to schedule time to work on our weak units. We did mock exams together. We woke each other up in the wee hours to study. I am grateful to have had such an amazing partner; I would not have been here without her constant words of encouragement.

I cannot wait to stand by her side at the Graduation Square turning the tassel after being conferred the degree that we worked on tirelessly.

After a stressful day…

Sometimes, all it takes to uplift one’s soul is to travel, relax, have fun and go on a vacation in the middle of a hectic schedule! I would forget that I am student for a couple of days and come back re-energized. My friends and I spent time having pizza parties while catching up on the latest movies and series.

To my peers…

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve and that is the fear of failure. If you believe you can do it, you can do it. Go for it! Do something because you want to do it. Not for your parents, but for you. That is where you will get your drive and motivation.

It is quite amazing how time flies. Looking back at those four years, I am amazed at how much I have grown intellectually and mentally as well as how much I have achieved in such a short period.

I now look forward; my future is promising. With all the skills, knowledge and exposure that I have gained at SU, I am ready to face and conquer the world.


This article was written by Jemmy Kamau.


What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via communications@strathmore.edu.