E4impact

From the blog

My internship in Kenya: a life-changing experience

Hello everyone,

My name is Jacopo and I’m still a student. After bachelor degree in Corporate Management I’m about to graduate in Management as master degree in Università Cattolica of Milan.

Choosing to spend my internship in Kenya was easy; when I heard about this opportunity during a lesson in university I suddenly felt it was the right thing to do. I had never thought about finding an internship in a almost-unknown place for me at that time, so I decided to join in the program and start this life-changing experience!

When you first go to Nairobi you have to forget about some of your european habits: no efficient transport means, no constant electricity, no clean water from your tap, no big clubs. But just after some days you start to see things under a different perspective. Kenyans are a very interesting population. They’re cheerful people, always with a smile on their faces, able to make do with what they have and this shows you that with your abilities and passion you can make even more than what you are doing in your daily life.

Going to Tangaza College and collaborating with the staff of the Global MBA in Impact Entrepreneurship, you find willing people ready to help you dealing with everyday problems. You are required to work as a Business Coach assistant, developing the entrepreneurs’ business plans with a particular focus on financials and presentations through individual coaching sessions. So each day you see some young entrepreneurs with their issues and you suggest them how to improve their business idea, their balance sheets, their marketing plan and so on.

In my opinion, the most interesting aspect of working in the college is that you can go deep into a lot of startups from a favoured point of view: it’s very difficult to have such a possibility when you are still studying to reach your final diploma. Moreover you can find the right place to implement your theoretical knowledge achieved during 5 years of Management studies and get important soft skills as taking decisions, be precise, be flexible and listen and understand other people’s ideas.

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Beyond those, I had the pleasure to travel a bit upcountry to have a broader picture of the Kenyan environment: I went to Naivasha Lake to spend there a spare weekend, to Nakuru for a Business Idea Competition in Green Economy with David Cheboryot (E4Impact East Africa Manager), Fabio Bassi and Giulio D’Argento (the other two interns that were with me in Kenya) and in Eldoret (300 kilometers away from Nairobi), where we spent 3 days seeing a new culture and tasting nyama choma (roasted meat).

Once I came back to Italy I was so happy and proud of this experience that I decided to write my thesis on the agribusiness sector: in fact I spent the last summer in Nairobi doing interviews and gathering materials in order to build 3 different case studies on this area. This allowed me to travel a lot again around Kenya. One of the best experience was a three-days visit in Meru, where I studied Meru Herbs Kenya, a teas and jams factory run by a currently MBA enrolled student, Sally Eunice Kimotho.

By sharing this, I hope to encourage other students to live this amazing experience: sometimes you just need to seize a new opportunity to discover a new world!

Jacopo Livolsi



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