Junior finance major Benjamin Eshiwani has gone through more than most of us do in a lifetime. For Eshiwani, born in Majengo, Kenya, growing up came with its own unique struggle, but like many, he turned to his education to help him through.
After receiving an acceptance letter and scholarship to attend Michigan State University, Eshiwani jumped at the opportunity to get a quality education that could help not only himself but also his family.
“Growing up for me was really tough, but I am happy because it made me more resilient and determined and that’s the main reason why I am where I am today,” Eshiwani said. “My hard work in school has been recognized by many, and that’s how I have been able to receive scholarships throughout my studies.”
Upon his arrival at MSU, Eshiwani quickly became a member of the Financial Markets Institute (FMI), and it has made all the difference in his journey so far.
“My FMI experience has been very transformational, and I have gained vast knowledge, made good friends with the same career goals and immense networking through my one year in FMI. Helen Dashney has offered me tremendous support and I really appreciate her presence in my life,” Eshiwani said. “Through FMI, I am able to take MBA classes, which are very rigorous and practical, and they offer in-depth knowledge of the industry.”
Pius Mithika, also a finance major and an FMI member, has traveled a similar path in life. He was born in Meru County, Kenya, and was accepted to Michigan State on a scholarship. School and his education have meant everything to him and helped guide him down his current path.
“Since my second year of high school, my desire for global exposure grew tremendously. My dream was to study in the U.S. someday,” Mithika said. “I was so determined that I turned down my admission to a Kenyan university to focus on college applications. I was lucky to be among the 20 undergraduate students from the entire African continent.”
For Mithika, many factors went into his decision to attend Michigan State, from friends to academic advisors. No matter the reasons, though, he believes MSU was the best choice for his journey.
“I chose MSU over the others because Patty Croom and Alexander Smith from MSU’s admissions office, who had visited Kenya for a university fair, portrayed MSU as a very diverse community that would give me the global exposure I desired,” Mithika said. “Additionally, I had some friends studying at MSU who proved to me there is no greater gift I could give myself than becoming part of the global Spartan family.”
As a member of FMI, Mithika has learned new skills and obtained a different insight into the world of finance. Membership has also opened new doors and opportunities he did not know were possible.
Doors continue opening for Eshiwani, as well, as he continues to plan for his future after MSU. He’s looking to give back and help provide for his home in Kenya in any way he can.
“After graduation, I hope to complete my two-year Investment Banking Analyst boot camp. Then I want to work in corporate development and strategy so that I leverage the experience into a corporate executive role in Africa,” Eshiwani said. “My other goal is to take part in diversifying security products and developing the African financial markets. There is a gap that needs to be filled, and I would love to be part of the team bridging the gap.”
Mithika has similar goals. “I’m also planning to eventually go back to Kenya and join politics,” he said, although he wants to work on Wall Street before he heads back home.
Both Eshiwani and Mithika have taken advantage of the privilege of studying at the Broad College to turn their lives into everything they always imagined for themselves. However, neither would be here if not for their hard work and motivation to have the best education possible.
“My life has been very unpredictable, and never in my remotest ideas did I ever imagine I would accomplish what I have today,” Eshiwani said. “What really inspires me is my background and my experience. My philosophy in life revolves around hard work, positioning and opportunities. If you work hard and position yourself well, then you will always succeed.”