Tanzanian making history in America at Harvard University

19Oct 2017
Frank Monyo
The Guardian
Tanzanian making history in America at Harvard University

BENJAMIN Fernandes has made some headlines for Tanzania in the United States and globally over the last 2 years.

BENJAMIN Fernandes.

In the past week, Fernandes became the first Tanzanian in history to attend both the number one business school (Stanford Graduate School of Business - MBA) in the world and the number one government school in the world (Harvard Kennedy School of Government).

On, October 8th 2017, Fernandes began his first class at Harvard Kennedy School of Government for a course in executive education. Fernandes also becomes the youngest person in history to be accepted to Harvard Kennedy School of Executive education, a programme catered to senior executives in business typically between the age of 35-50. Fernandes has received a full scholarship to attend the executive programme at Harvard.

Fernandes was the first Tanzanian to win the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship . A 365 Million ($160,000) Scholarship to go to the number one business school in the world..This scholarship is given to 8 African students of 8,000 applicants to Stanford Graduate School of Business. Stanford Graduate School of Business is the hardest business school in the world to get admission.

According to Business Insider, the acceptance rate is 4.69 per cent of over 8000 applications beating all the Ivy league institutions.

There have only been 2 Tanzanians who have gone to Stanford Graduate School of Business before Fernandes. The first one was Jonny MBA’2001, who works in New York at Goldman Sachs.


The second was Mbwana Alliy MBA’2007, ten years ago, who is the co-founder of the Savannah Fund, a venture capital fund focused on sub-Saharan African ventures.

During Fernandes’ time at Stanford Graduate School of Business, he became the first African to win the MBA World Summit award in 2016 .

An honour taken and selected from the top 100 MBA’s in the World. That summer, Fernandes went on to work for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with their Financial Services team.

Fernandes becomes the third Tanzanian ever to work for Bill Gates and the youngest one at the foundation (24 years old). On June 17th 2017, Fernandes graduated from Stanford Graduate School of Business and decided to return home to Tanzania.

A decision that stunned many Tanzanians given his potential salary offerings in the United States. Stanford GSB has the highest post MBA salary than any other school in the world.

According to Stanford Graduate School of Business, in the year 2016, the lower average salary offering for a graduating student was 418 million/- ($179,346).

From the 8 Africa MBA Fellows of the Stanford MBA Class of 2017 class, Fernandes is the only African who has decided to return home to his home country full time.

“Grateful. That is how I feel, I never dreamed in my life that I would ever go to Harvard or Stanford to study. God is so good and when we are faithful to him, he opens such doors, may he get all the glory.” Fernandes told The Guardian Tanzania.

Fernandes has made a commitment to serving Tanzania with interest in financial services and supporting Tanzania’s young and youthful population.

Top Stories