This past spring break, 32 Kellogg students traveled to Kenya as part of the Global Immersion in Management (GIM) class and the Global Heath Initiative (GHI) at the Kellogg School of Management. During this two week trip, me and my classmates traveled to Nairobi, Masai Mara and Kisumu not only to learn how healthcare is delivered in Kenya but also to take steps at changing the world, by helping to commercializing a new HIV/Aids device in the region.
The program began in Nairobi. Upon our arrival I was immediately excited to see everything the country had to offer, especially the warm weather, which was a stark contrast to the Chicago weather. After arriving, we made it through customs quickly, we hopped into our 15 person vans, and our guides took us straight to the hotel where we would begin our epic trip.
During our two-week stay, we saw people from all walks of life, both personally and professionally. Professionally, students met a large variety of people on the trip. From meetings with government officials, entrepreneurs, local hospitals and clinics, and NGOs, students studied many of the strengths and challenges of Kenya’s health system. Personally, we took part in cultural activities in Kenya. We went to markets both in Nairobi and in Masai Mara to negotiate with the locals. We visited the Masai Mara village where we got a tour of the houses and the community. And we rounded out the trip by going on a safari, where we rode around in safari vans and encountered a unique variety of animals. What a great opportunity to bond with our classmates!
As our trip progressed, we learned so much about the system in Kenya and about the people who lived there. We worked together to consolidate our information, as we presented our observations to the larger group during the evening meetings each day. Ultimately the trip gave us the opportunity to explore the realities of Kenya’s healthcare system and apply our findings to help with GHI’s new business idea.
But contrary to popular belief, the trip wasn’t all about work. Team Kenya also had a lot of fun. We explored the town with classmates, went out for group dinners at places like Peppers, and spent our evenings “rocking out” in places such as Havana’s, Gypsie, and my personal favorite Black Diamond (I highly recommend Black Diamond if you visit Nairobi).
But more important than the analysis we did and the fun we had together is that we all had the once in a lifetime opportunity to take on the challenge of one of Kenya’s biggest problems. We interacted with experts who have devoted their lives to the cause. We collaborated on some of the world’s biggest problems with some our brilliant classmates whose interests are similar to ours. And we not only thought about a plan to launch a new product, but we also traveled abroad to start the process of change. A once in a lifetime opportunity if you ask me.
Thanks Kellogg for the opportunity!