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Kenyan student wins scholarship to top business school

By ESMT Berlin
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A Kenyan student has become the first recipient of a prestigious scholarship to study at top European business school ESMT.

Nelly Kasei Ogonda, born and raised in Kenya as the youngest of 10 children, is the first Kofi Annan Fellow of the ESMT European School of Management and Technology Master’s in Management programme – designed for students with a background in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.

Despite being the youngest of four boys and six girls, Ogonda was treated equally by her father. He tried to educate every child irrespective of gender.

“My upbringing taught me not to shy away from difficult situations,” said Ogonda, “there is always a solution.”

Though her family struggled financially, her mother sold produce from their farm and her siblings shared anything they had, leaving Ogonda able to develop her interest in mathematics from an early age.

“I developed my passion for mathematics in primary school, so when I joined Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, I opted to major in it.” She said.

Ogonda then won a scholarship for academic excellence to study a Master’s degree at the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), but she wanted to know how mathematics could be applied to help solve Africa’s problems and challenges.

“The AIMS-Senegal experience was incredible and my interest towards the finance industry really grew – but it’s the opportunity at ESMT that will enable me to achieve my dreams of becoming a financial analyst, learning what things the developed countries are doing that we in the developing countries are not doing.”

Nick Barniville, Director of Degree Programs at ESMT, commented, “Nelly is the first Kofi Annan Fellow within our newly started MIM programme. We look forward to continuing to support the education of talented young people from Africa. Nelly joins a growing tradition of Kofi Annan Fellows at ESMT.”

Ogonda said, “I hope to make a difference in the world, one of my biggest motivators is the future for a better Africa. As they say, today’s hard work makes a better tomorrow.”