Going home

Read more about: Emerging markets

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I am originally from Nairobi, Kenya. I left to earn my master’s in actuarial science in New York. After my studies, I stayed in the Big Apple for close to five years, working as a life insurance actuary at an accounting firm.

Dennis inline 2
Dennis inline 2

I always knew I wanted to move back and use the education and skills I gained abroad to make a difference at home. I envisioned doing meaningful work across sectors, and in this regard, a career in strategy consulting made sense. It would offer the diversity of projects I wanted and the opportunities and connections to work on important issues.

To facilitate this transition, I went to Oxford University. It was a good fit for me; it has a history of supporting students of African origin through scholarships and a strong network with all the top consulting companies on the continent. After business school, I moved back to Nairobi and joined McKinsey.

Dennis inline
Dennis inline

McKinsey lets me serve different clients in financial services. I just completed my first project: shaping the growth strategy for a large bank and one of its business units. This entailed understanding what customers wanted in their bank. We did desk research, held focus groups and interviewed internal stakeholders and external experts. I used that information to draft bundling plans, coverage models, and service improvements. It was such a great feeling to see my work debated by my clients, made their own, and implemented. Only at McKinsey could I have had such a large amount of responsibility and trust to do such meaningful work from day one.

Moving home has been the right decision for me. My biggest fear about moving back to Kenya was that good opportunities would be hard to come by in a smaller economy that is still developing. However, there are more and more exciting opportunities all over the continent. It pays to broaden your scope geographically and sector-wise.

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