Francesco Pirola is a young enthusiastic man pursuing the Master degree in Management at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan. Last May, he decided to go to Nairobi, at Tangaza University College, to work 3 months as international business coach at the E4impact MBA, assisting the Kenyan Business Coach, Bikundo Onyari.
He shared his experience with us.
“I decided to start this particular experience in Kenya, because I really wished to meet a new world, apparently very different from the one I have lived in for twenty-three years.
The period of time I spent at Tangaza College was mostly in support of the Business Coach of the MBA program. The coach and two other Italian assistants attended all the courses together with the 30 students enrolled in the program. Many of the students are entrepreneurs with businesses already in place, others are graduates who wish to start their own venture. They use the theories taught in class to develop their business ideas and, moreover, they are linked to a team who supports them with one-to-one coaching sessions. I established a good relationship with many of these students and we eventually became good friends, which for me has been one of the greatest achievements of my experience.
I supported the students of the 4th edition of the MBA program during the last part of their journey; we initially worked on a financial model built by the interns who were in Nairobi before me. Gradually, I’ve helped them in the elaboration of a more structured business plan, trying to put together in 30 pages what they had done during the year. When I didn’t have any coaching appointments, I worked for logistics at Tangaza College or did some research.
The experience I had in Nairobi cannot be reduced to working time. I had the honour to meet people who helped me understand and live the Kenyan culture and feel at home. I returned to Italy with a collection of very exciting and memorable moments I won’t forget.
One of the best experiences I had was the attendance to the Independence Anniversary event organized at the Israel embassy. Israel had started a Business Competition on Agribusiness, and the best five ideas had proceeded to compete in a gala. The location was incredibly smart, the guests were prestigious, the jurors were of international level and the participants were the best African start-uppers.
The visit to the Parliament was another unforgettable day. One of the students I worked with at Tangaza College is a national assembly member and she has been so kind to invite the MBA staff to visit Parliament during an ordinary session, it was amazing!
But Kenya enchanted me also with its natural beauty. In the coast you can see the beautiful sea, in the highlands the mountains like mt. Kenya and mt. Kilimangiaro. In the northern part you can admire lakes and deserts, but the main attractions are the natural parks, that have to be visited once in life. We organized a weekend full of adventures and adrenaline with David Cheboryot, E4impact MBA Kenyan Project Leader, at Masai Mara. We saw lions, cheetahs and elephants and we met people from the Masai tribe with whom we spent the night in a tent.
I cannot foresee the future and I don’t know what will happen to my life in the coming years, but I am sure I’ll go again to Nairobi. I wish to keep updated with the progress the MBA entrepreneurs have done and I really wish to visit other places and communities I have not yet met.
I really fell in love with Kenya and I must address a big thank you to E4impact, than enabled me to live three beautiful months that have changed my life.”