Kylie is a recent Corporate and Commercial Law Masters graduate. She studied at London School of Economics (LSE) after being chosen for the Chevening Scholarship. She has an undergraduate LLB Law degree from the University of Kent and has also completed the Pre Kenya School of Law Diploma from Riara University. Kylie has gone on to mentor several students and supported them with their Chevening applications. We had a conversation with her on her Chevening journey. Here’s how the conversation went….
Q- What made you choose LSE for your post-graduate studies?
A- That is a very interesting question. Instead of giving the conventional answer about it being a top 5 university, I will give a slightly spiritual answer.
I first learned about the prestige of LSE while I was in prepschool in Kenya. The Chairman of my school was an Alumnus and used every opportunity to remind students that he and two former presidents of Kenya and pan African leader Kwame Nkurumah attended LSE. In my first year of university, I visited LSE for the first time during the London International Model United Nations conference and fell in love with the institution. I returned back to LSE several times after for other events and we the rest was history. In summary my response is that it was God’s plan.
Q- How was the Chevening application process?
A- To be completely honest, the application process for Chevening is daunting. It took self-reflection and planning. It forced me to really think about my skillset, my networking abilities and my career plans, in order to write quality essays which play a big part of the application process. I went through various stages of anguish – long listing, short listing, interview and conditional selection before receiving the award. It was not easy, but it was definitely worth it.
Q- What did you love most about the course?
A- I loved many things about the course, but I think what I loved most was the opportunity to create life-long connections and networks with students and professors from all across the world. My law cohort is such an amazing community.
Q- What support are you offered for masters programmes at university?
A- In all honesty, the student support is not the best. Although, I feel like in any case the LLM is based heavily on independent learning as opposed to an LLB where extra support would be needed. However, two main avenues of support that stood out to me were the LSE Life and Pfal. LSE Life was an amazing facility that offered student support services e.g. help in organization and planning, essay writing skills etc. They also give out lollipops which I loved on a stressed day. The Programme for African Leaders (Pfal) which is part of the Firoz Laji African Center at LSE offers great support to African masters students and definitely made settling down in London smoother. They would take all Pfalers out for a free meal and drinks twice a month. I promise I’m not just motivated by free food though.
Q- What does the university offer besides the course? What societies and extra-curricular activities do they have?
A- I loved LSE because it offered so much more than the academic course. For instance, the LSE Africa Summit which brings together the most brilliant minds from Africa and even offers career fairs targeted at African students. I would definitely recommend applying for the planning committee as it was a great experience to plan the event. As earlier mentioned, there is also Pfal; a course that runs concurrently with the program that is open to all Masters students from the African continent. The curriculum focuses on leadership in the African context and project management skills. It also provides access to an amazing community as the program has taken in about 90 students every year for the past 8 years, providing a wide network.
Aside from African focused societies, there is a wide plethora of activities to choose from. From law, fintech, international arbitration to salsa, there’s something for everyone.
Q- Would you recommend that our members apply to LSE and for Chevening?
A- Yes yes yes! There’s more to gain in applying than there is to loose. I would also recommend exploring alternative scholarships targeted at East African students. For instance, I would explore the Firoz and Najma Foundation scholarship open to Ugandan students, Margaret Bennet scholarship, The Snowdon Scholarship Scheme at LSE targeted at disabled students, the Standard Bank Derek Cooper Africa Scholarships open to Kenyans and South Sudanese applicants.
Q- Anything else you want to inform our members about?
A- I would encourage those seeking scholarships for masters to be open minded and think beyond the Chevening and Commonwealth scholarships. I would advise them to explore Universities and the scholarships they offer opened to East African students and apply. For those who may still be in their undergraduate stage, I would advise them to find a healthy balance between their books extra-curricular activities. They are crucial in both pursuing a masters and jobs.