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SFAE Students Tour Reputable Financial Services Firm in the UK

On 18th July, 48 members of the 4th year class of the Strathmore University’s School of Finance and Applied Economics together with four of their lecturers set out on what turned out to be quite a memorable tour of the United Kingdom.  Over 8 days, they visited 4 towns, 5 universities, a highly reputable financial services firm, the Bank of England, the Houses of Parliament, the Kenyan High Commission in London as well as other sites of their choosing.



Their first stop was the Scottish town of Glasgow where most students were taken by the calm and quiet that characterized the town. The students also got to experience typical Scottish weather during their stay in Glasgow. They visited the Glasgow International College, which forms part of the larger University of Glasgow. There, they were informed of the Finance and Economic related Masters courses available to them in addition to a pre-masters program used to acclimatize international students to life and studies at the university.  



This was similar to what awaited them in Manchester, London and Oxford where they visited the world-renowned University of Manchester, Cass Business School, London School of Economics, and University of Oxford. The mix of universities provided exposure to opportunities for further studies in all fields the students are currently pursuing; there was something for everyone.



In their interactions with the faculty members and the recruitment personnel of the schools at the various universities, different Masters programs were demystified. Additionally, they got to know of scholarships available for the various programs, the different application requirements and how to make applications that would give them an edge over other candidates.



After the visit to GIC, they went site seeing and not even the summer rains, and low temperatures, stood in the way of their exploration and shopping. For many of them, exploration involved losing their way till they found it, a handy art they would perfect over the 8 days.



Then came Manchester, which was beautiful, less rainy, and a bit busier than Glasgow, but less so than London. With newly gained confidence and independence, in a foreign land, students navigated the town to ‘must see sites’ such as Old Trafford, which proved worth the journey for all.  However, the stay in Manchester was relatively short, and many intend to return.



The first class train to London is something everyone should try out at some point in life, if not severally. London was fast-paced and exciting, and rich in history and culture, as were the other cities, this was especially evident during the visit to the Houses of Parliament; the traditions currently used date back many centuries. The true London experience was enhanced by taking the underground train (tube) to and from various locations. Though at times hectic given the rains, the students and lecturers braved it.



In addition to the universities, the visit to Goldman Sachs offices in London, which is the largest in the EMEA region, was an experience worth writing home about. It was encouraging to see that the company had numerous opportunities for the students, and was eager for them to apply. The students got to meet and network with analysts, associates and vice presidents from various departments, know what they entail and match the requirements against their skill set to see what function best suited them.  The human capital personnel also gave them counsel on how to write winning CVs and cover letters, which will come in handy very soon; given that they complete their course in a few months.



The mandazis at the Kenyan high commission, which they visited on Friday, was a welcome reminder of Kenyan hospitality. There, they had an opportunity to speak to and interact with the High Commissioner, the Deputy High Commissioner, and the Education Counsel. Both the lecturers and students were informed of various initiatives in place to enhance the academic interaction between Kenya and the United Kingdom and ways in which they can access them as an avenue to enhance their teaching and learning experiences. They are opportunities definitely worth taking up.



The major take out from the entire experience aside from the importance of time consciousness was the exposure gained from being able to see, and taking part in, a culture that is different from that which they are used to at home. For a number of them, it was their first visit abroad and it opened their minds to the possibilities and opportunities beyond Kenyan borders. Many are now excited for the future and what it holds; further studies, challenging and exciting job opportunities, and additional travel.  It was a fantastic trip and everyone is glad they got to take it together.