SFAE Graduate Assistant Gains Admission to Prestigious Stanford School
Anthony Wagacha, a Bachelor of Business Science (BBS) in Actuarial Science graduate of Strathmore Universitys School of Finance and Applied Economics (SFAE), is privileged to have gained admission and scholarship to the prestigious Stanford Universitys Graduate School of Business (GSB). Stanfords GSB is currently ranked as the global number one business school according to Forbes, 2015. Admission to this highly selective school, with notoriously low admission rates (least globally, at 6%), is no mean feat!
He shares his journey below:
I was always keen on joining a top graduate program either in the UK or USA even before graduating from my undergraduate studies. Taking on Stanford mid 2015 was one of the most daring goals I set for myself. It wasnt going to be easy and I talked myself out of it a couple of times. However, I had a network of friends, both peers and mentors, who kept me dreaming.
Towards the end of March last year, I was privileged to participate and present at a conference in Oxford University where I interacted with notable academics and pundits from the USA who challenged me immensely. This was where my decision to finally apply to Stanford was cemented. Over a cup of tea in the morning chills of Oxford, with a couple of friends including my long term friend and business partner Elaine Mungai (also my former SFAE classmate), a plan of action was laid out.
The entire process took close to six months with the initial stage being an application for the Africa Fellowship. Stanford has a fund they call the Global Fellowship and as part of it the Africa Fellowship which takes up to 8 African fellows annually. Through the African fellowship, the institution is keen on moulding the next crop of African leaders. This was quite a tough stage with several applicants from all over Africa competing for the few finalist slots available. I was privileged to be among the finalists, something that was communicated to me in early July, 2015.
All the finalists were then to seek admission into Stanford in order to qualify as Fellows. This meant subjection to the same rigorous admission process that every other Stanford applicant goes through. The next few months would see me sweat it out on the GRE exams, writing of essays, back to back meetings with mentors and identifying recommenders. I was working with a very supportive team of peers and mentors who I remain thankful and indebted to. I made so many friends along the way both at home and across the shores. The end product was what we believed was our best efforts in the application process. Interviewing was the penultimate stage in the process, which culminated in the scholarship award and admission offer letter.
Throughout the process, I had to articulate my aspirations for the continent and humanity in general. Stanford is keen on admitting individuals who possess intellectual vitality, demonstrate leadership potential and keen on creating impact; traits that can be seen through a track record of excellence, not only in academic pursuits but also in community service, professionalism and entrepreneurial pursuits.
For me, Stanford is a gold mine; its offering unrivalled. I cannot imagine of a better place that resonates so well with my passions and aspirations. I look forward to leveraging the networking opportunities that not only come with being a Stanford student but by the mere fact of living in Silicon Valley. I am keen to leverage on the collaborative efforts amongst the various graduate schools at Stanford. In particular, I am keen on leveraging the offering of Stanfords top-notch engineering and design schools to drive business ideas for the developing economies. Learning from my accomplished peers is something I am looking forward to.
Through the MBA program at Stanfords Graduate School of Business (GSB), I am keen to grow in three areas: management theory, hands-on experience, and international perspective and networking. I am also keen on sharpening my computational skills through leveraging the mathematical and computational track offered under the Institute of Computational and Mathematical Engineering. Ultimately, it is my desire to move from the tactical leadership view that I currently hold to a strategic CRO view that I will need in order to manage broader teams and larger processes. This molding is what thrills me the most about the GSB.
I really thank God! Many thanks to the silent hope soldiers, my peers, friends and mentors. Thank you too to the SFAE family and the Strathmore University community at large for urging us all on!
Penguins can fly, its all in the mind. Believe, Gammas Beta (September, 1992)
Wagacha is currently working as a Financial Risk Management Consultant at KPMG East Africa. He is also a Graduate Associate with SFAE. He is a co-founder of Beacher & Company (a start-up financial advisory firm) and founding Director of Nasibu (a youth mentorship non-profit). He writes poems for fun and is a keen foosball player. He is the proud owner of a dog, Psion.