May 2019 Pearl Nyaosi was standing in front of Cambridge Judge Business School,
a newly minted Master of Finance (MFin) graduate and also the recipient of a special
award for “The most positive contribution to the programme”.
the hugs, the photographs and getting used to the weighty feel of that graduation
gown, Pearl’s father told her, “you don’t have to pay me back any amount of
money ever because I can see where my money went, I can see the amazing return on
the investment, I am so, so proud of you”.
concludes modestly, “It was a very emotional moment for us all. My family were
there with me and could see that I had made it to a top global university, that
I’d made the most of my time there, and that my future was bright”.
was working for KPMG in her native Nairobi when she first applied for the programme
and was accepted within two weeks. She describes that part of the process as “very
smooth and very exciting, and I was touched to know the admissions team thought
that I could add value to the class.”
came the bump in the road. Originally destined for the MFin Class of 2016, Pearl
was forced to defer her place for reasons that were “purely financial”.
“disorientated” and unsure whether going to live in a country where she
knew absolutely no one to take a course that would use every penny of her savings
and require a huge financial sacrifice from her family was really worth it after
all, Pearl hesitated. Most of her colleagues advised her strongly against it. Too
risky. Too expensive. What if her life didn’t change for the better afterwards?
the deadline to accept her deferred place was only two days away. Pearl sat down
with her family, took a deep breath, and in what she describes as “a total
leap of faith” decided to join the Class of 2017 even though she was still
short of funds.
the School responded with a scholarship offer of £8,000 to cover 20 per cent of
her tuition costs. Pearl burst into tears.
that instant she knew that “this is a place I should go … the door was opening
and I felt a lot of peace about the situation from then on”.
at Cambridge Pearl got busy making her mark, organising the School’s Cambridge Africa
Business Conference and becoming the MFin alumni chair for the Cambridge Business
School Club, as well as acting as Vice President for the University’s East Africa
the programme’s end she did return to Nairobi, but not to KPMG. Instead Pearl followed
her heart into social impact investing, using her increased financial skills to
make a difference at AHL Venture Partners.
is also a very active ambassador for the life changing magic of the Cambridge experience,
meeting prospective Kenyan applicants for the MFin and persuading them to take the
leap too. “I sent one this academic year, and I’ve got one going next year,”
she says proudly.
her enthusiasm is contagious closer to home too. Having attended her CJBS graduation
her competitive younger brother Bugei immediately decided to follow in her footsteps.
“But of course he had to apply to Oxford!” she laughs.