When Strathmore Business School was started in 2005, it conducted classes in hotels and conference facilities. Last Saturday, a hotel hosted the institution once again, including its alumni and friends, for a totally different reason, the Alumni Ball.
The event, first of four major events lined up this year was set up to celebrate the business schools tenth year anniversary. The event which took place at the Windsor Golf Hotel and Country Club, centred on the theme Africa: Take Your Place at the Table.
The dean Dr George Njenga welcomed the participants outlining the roadmap for the business school in the next few years, Wallace Kantai of Nation Media group moderated the knowledge session delivered by James Mworia (CEO, Centum Investments Ltd. – KE), Tabitha Karanja (Founder and CEO, Keroche Breweries Ltd. – KE), Manu Chandaria (Founder, Chandaria Industries Ltd. – KE), Theopista Ntale (Chapter Head, New Faces New Voices – UG), Prof Reid Whitlock (CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation – NG) and Dr Luis Franceschi (Dean, Strathmore Law School).
Launching the session, James Mworia mentioned that African financiers had the capability to fund capital investments. He further mentioned that focus needs to be placed in the right places when making investments and structural adjustments, giving the example of land, which is given excessive importance yet it can be administered effectively by only a small part of the population. The worlds biggest companies dont own much land, he said.
Asked to provide the American perspective on African prospects, Prof Reid Whitlock, who has been working in Africa for almost twenty years, said, There is a lot of optimism regarding the fast growth of the African economy, but we need to realise that the rest of the world is not standing still. For Africa to advance past the rest of the world economically, he said, it would need to grow much faster.
Manu Chandaria insisted that the place at the table which Africa needs to take wont be handed to Africa on a silver platter. Instead, Africa has to aggressively grab it. To this, Theopista Ntale added that, for the growth of Africa to be fully appreciated, all progress has to be measured.
Tabitha Karanja, who has gone through many challenges in setting up Keroche Breweries as a viable competitor in the beverage market, made mention of the need for people to believe in themselves in order to achieve greatness. To make people believe that something can be done, we need to do it, she said.
Closing the session Dr Luis Franceschi insisted that the educational system has to be remodelled, since currently it is overly oriented towards minting money. We have to make, not just good professionals, but good people, He said. Thats the only way well ensure they have the right skill sets.
The knowledge session was then succeeded by a dance from the Alumni representatives, dinner backed with music from June Gachui who led the guests to party away.
You can also follow the conversation online on #SBS10Years #SBSAlumni