Kenyan Billionaires Who Attended Harvard

  • Left to right: Kenyan Billionaires Josphat Mwaura (former KPMG CEO), Jaswinder Bedi (ICDC Board member) and the late Chris Kirubi.
    Left to right: Kenyan Billionaires Josphat Mwaura (former KPMG CEO), Jaswinder Bedi (ICDC Board member) and the late Chris Kirubi.
  • Since Barack Obama and his father, Barack Obama Senior, attended the prestigious Harvard University in Massachusets, US, it seems the floodgate opened for Kenyans (or individuals with Kenyan heritage).

    From politicians to investors and billionaires, the doors of the prestigious institution with bottomless endowments have accepted several Kenyans since

    Here are five billionaires who had their head-start at Harvard University.

    1. Chris Kirubi

    The late tycoon Chris Kirubi passed away on Monday, June 14, 2021

    Throughout his 80-year-old life span, billionaire and industrialist Chris Kirubi was known for his ruthlessness in business and zeal to succeed and never shied away from challenges, just like a Harvard graduate.

    The graduate of Harvard Business School (HBS) is considered a mogul, especially with 40 years of experience in managing fast-moving consumer goods, media, and communications companies.

    He has served as the CEO of Capital Group and owned numerous other companies besides being appointed as a member of Harvard University’s Global Advisory Council in 2012.

    He also served as the chairman of DHL East Africa, Haco Industries Kenya Limited and Kiruma International Limited, among others.

    2.  Zafrulla Khan

    Throughout his life, the founder of Chase Bank, Zafrulla Khan, has always been a dreamer and hard worker. He started the bank in 1995 aged just 35 years.

    As of 2016, the bank, which had its first branch in Kisumu, expanded to 53 outlets countrywide.

    His success was built on the experience he gained from Harvard School of Business's Owner/ President Management Program.

    He also served as a member of the advisory board of The Chandaria Business School at the United States University.

    3. Josephat Mwaura

    Former KPMG East Africa CEO Josphat Mwaura
    Former KPMG East Africa CEO Josphat Mwaura.

    On a low-key vibe, former Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) East Africa CEO and Senior Partner, Josphat Mwaura, has been a major power player across the region.

    Armed with a qualifications in Macroeconomic Policy and Management from John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Mwaura was once ranked amongst the highest taxpayers in the country.

    During his tenure atop KPMG, one of the big four accounting firms, he was responsible for the wider Eastern Africa region including Burundi, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia.

    He joined the company in 1995 and rose through the ranks to become a senior partner.

    4. Philip Ndegwa

    Former Central Bank Governor Philip Ndegwa.
    Former Central Bank Governor Philip Ndegwa.

    In his lifetime, Philip Ndegwa, hit a number of milestones including being the first Kenyan to bank over a billion shillings.

    From his childhood, the former Central Bank Governor seems to have had a life of privilege, attending the prestigious Alliance High School before heading to Makerere University in Uganda, where he lectured in economics before eventually heading to Harvard University.

    Upon his return in 1965, Ndegwa joined the government and was, at some point, appointed to serve as the second Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya.

    He also served as the chair of Kenya Commercial Bank and the National Bank of Kenya.

    5. Jaswinder Bedi

    ICDC board member Jaswinder Bedi
    ICDC board member Jaswinder Bedi.

    With over 32 years in Kenya's manufacturing sector, industrialist and entrepreneur Jaswinder Bedi serves as a board member at the Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC).

    He has also served as the Chairman of Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency as well as numerous other companies.

    Bedi can attribute his success to several executive business courses he attended, some of which were organized by Harvard Business School.

    In December 2012, former President Mwai Kibaki honored Bedi with the Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS) award.