Whitman Student Gains New Global Perspective After Traveling to Kenya

Tage Oster ’24 found that his views on business and work ethic shifted following his experience on the pilot Kenya Cultural Immersion trip.

In May, Oster and 13 other students from Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management traveled to Nairobi, Kenya. The experience allowed the students to connect what they learned in SOM 354: Managing in a Global Setting and apply it to a real-life global environment. 

As a double major in finance and business analytics at the Whitman School, Oster was excited for the opportunity to go to Kenya, as he had never seen what business, economics or entrepreneurship looked like in another part of the world. 

Oster says, “I saw going to Kenya as an opportunity to gain a perspective that I would not be able to see in the business setting I am already familiar with domestically.” 

Prior to the immersion experience, Oster defined business very differently. Attending the trip allowed him to see how simple business can be. 

“Before going to Kenya, my view of business was that only one party could benefit. I thought it was cut-throat and a very corporate world. After going on this trip, I now see that business is taking what you have and seeing what you can do with it,” he says.

Oster acquired this new viewpoint through meeting Whitman’s global partners (South South Women and Tirzah International) in Kenya and learning how they started their organizations. He noticed how many entrepreneurs were able to create their businesses by using the limited resources they had.  

Business was not the only factor where Oster gained new insight. He was continuously reminded on the trip of how many opportunities he has by living in the U.S. and attending Syracuse University. Reflecting on his experience, Oster sees now that he approaches challenges and struggles differently after witnessing what people in Kenya must overcome. He finds himself more open-minded and flexible with whatever comes his way. 

“I have always had a good work ethic,” he says, “However, I felt I was working hard for myself, my own success and future. Now, I think about how there are people across the world who would do anything to have the opportunities I have.”

Looking ahead, Oster is eager to get back to Syracuse to see what he can do with his ambitions to find even more global opportunities for students. He is looking to work with other organizations to start a project to expand the reach SOM 354 has with global partners. 

He says, “I want to continue to pursue the idea that these trips are for a purpose, not a project. Projects have deadlines. A purpose does not; it is continuous.” 

Learn more about Whitman students and their experiences.

Anna Rooney