Student in 60 seconds – Robert Maranga

ACCA student Robert Maranga tells Student Accountant about his interesting and varied career

This article was first published in May 2006 in Student Accountant.

In contrast to many ACCA students, Robert Maranga has left the business world to return to academia, having just become a Reuters Digital Vision Fellow at Stanford University in the US. The move not only demanded a change of sector, but also country, as Robert has moved from Kenya to join the Stanford team.

‘My career has been in business information systems implementation and support. I started my working life in 1998 as a trainee assistant at Strathmore University in Nairobi, having gained a Higher Diploma from the Institute for the Management of Information Systems. While at Strathmore I went on to study for the Graduate Diploma, which I gained in 1999 with a bronze medal, and I began my ACCA studies in 2000.

‘Around the same time, I left Strathmore and joined Celtel Kenya as a systems operator, taking a break from ACCA to sit for my Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) exams. In 2002, I was promoted, becoming an ERP administrator and user support engineer, and took up my ACCA studies again. My responsibilities included business process implementation and user support. My ACCA studies proved very helpful at this point, and supported my work with various functional teams, including finance, HR, purchasing and logistics, sales, and technical asset management.

‘In 2004 I was promoted again, this time to the post of process quality control engineer for the commercial information systems section, where I was responsible for process quality control across the multiple systems in use, which included Oracle Financials, eHorizon HRMS and Datastream. While in this role I completed my Oxford Brookes BSc in Applied Accounting, and as a result was appointed network and systems revenue assurance correspondent – providing an interface between the finance department’s revenue assurance team and the network and systems department.

‘Last year, I sent a proposal to Stanford University offering to participate in the development of an open source management information systems (MIS) for microfinance institutions, which is an initiative of Grameen Foundation USA’s Technology Centre. As a result of the proposal I was offered a Fellowship with the Reuters Digital Vision Programme. I know that I would not have been considered for the Fellowship without my BSc from Oxford Brookes.

‘The Reuters Digital Vision Programme aims to support social entrepreneurs who want to exploit technology-based solutions in the interest of humanitarian, educational, and sustainable development goals. The programme fosters interdisciplinary projects and prototyping efforts that ‘address real needs in underserved communities’. Fellows are defined as ‘outstanding technologists and social entrepreneurs from around the globe’ brought to Stanford to collaborate with faculty, students, private sector firms, non-governmental organisations and, of course, each other.

‘I am working on a project entitled ‘Microfinance Services for the Developing World’. I aim to increase synergies by working with various stakeholders to complete the remaining system development phase. I am also developing a comprehensive implementation user guide, based on industry best practice, and I am documenting and putting in place structures related to system implementation. My aim is to make the end result a benchmark for future microfinance systems.

‘As well as the Fellowship, I have volunteered to participate as a member of the marketing and communications committee of the Information Systems and Control Association (ISACA) Silicon Valley Chapter. In September 2005, I finally achieved CISA certification from ISACA, having completed the required five-years’ work experience.

‘Accepting the Reuters Fellowship was a big decision, because it meant leaving behind an excellent career at Celtel Kenya, and moving to the US. I have only been here a few months, and so I am still settling in, but my new role is proving very challenging and full of opportunity. ‘My focus is now on making the project a success by applying my business information system skills.’


"My ACCA studies proved very helpful at this point, and supported my work with various functional teams, including finance, HR, purchasing and logistics, sales, and technical asset management"