Writing a bachelor’s thesis in Kenya

NLA students were given a unique opportunity to gain international experience. The are now writing their bachelor’s theses in innovation and management based on the Kenyan business sector.

Main image: Tomine Reistad-Gysler and Agnete Lønning Gjøsæter visit a tea plantation outside Nairobi, Kenya.

Five students studying economics and management at NLA University College’s Hauge School of Management have found their way to the Aro Centre in Bondo, a small town outside Kisumu in Kenya. For two weeks, the bachelor students will immerse themselves in the ‘real’ Kenya and act as consultants.

— We will visit small businesses and help them with simple improvements to their operations. For example, advising and guiding them on marketing and accounting, says Thomas Klungeland.

Hauge School of Management’s study trips to Nairobi over a number of years have enabled it to build a large network in Kenya. After the study trip in 2023, Thomas asked if it was possible for him to write his bachelor’s thesis in and about Kenya.

— The study trip was a magical experience where I got to meet businesses, people, hold seminars, and experience a completely different culture to what we have in Norway. Kenya was definitely a country I wanted to go back to! So me and some of my fellow students asked our teachers if it was possible to write our bachelor’s theses there. NLA opened doors and gave us contacts and opportunities, says Klungeland.

Thomas Klungeland holds a seminar in business management in Nairobi before heading for the Aro Centre.

Unique and exciting

Tomine Reistad-Gysler and Agnete Lønning Gjøsæter are writing their bachelor’s thesis together in the East African country.

— We think our thesis is unique and exciting. We’re learning a lot about the culture and getting an insight into the challenges faced by Kenyan business owners, they enthuse.

— We hope the businesses we visit will benefit from our stay down here. We’ll analyse their programmes and make suggestions for improvements, and suggest how they can implement some of Antler’s successful strategies when dealing with new entrepreneurs.

Antler is a company that runs start-up programmes in Nairobi.

— We’re writing about the project they’ve started, which focuses on business start-ups, and linking it to the Antler organisation, which works with entrepreneurs all over the world, say Reistad-Gysler and Lønning Gjøsæter 


The challenges in Kenya are quite different from those encountered in Norway. Klungeland places a lot of emphasis on this in his thesis, where he writes about the challenges that Norwegian entrepreneurs can face in Kenya.

— I want to write my bachelor’s thesis in Kenya because it makes it more exciting. I’m passionate about entrepreneurship, and I’m passionate about giving people better opportunities. Here in Kenya, I get to research both!

Valuable experience

In addition to data collection, observations and interviews for the thesis, all students participated in the Regional Conference on New Business Start-ups at the Aro Centre, which was attended by various businesses.

— We gain valuable experience and knowledge from this work. We’ve held seminars, visited businesses and contributed to the community here in Kenya. It will be beneficial for us, and we get to meet potential employers, says Klungeland.

The conference was one of the things that Klungeland was most excited about before the trip.

— It went really well, so I’m happy with it all. It was fun to be part of such a large project and to be involved in an important aspect of the work, he says. 

Agnete Lønning Gjøsæter teaches Kenyan business students at the Aro Centre.

Exceeded all expectations!

Before the trip, Reistad-Gysler and Lønning Gjøsæter were curious about how the cultural differences would impact on their experience.

— It exceeded all expectations! We were fortunate enough to have our own private chef who made delicious food for us. The cultural differences were more apparent here than in the capital, Nairobi, but the people here have been amazing. We’ve played football together and spent time together late into the night. They’ve made us feel at home. The landscape here is more wild and lush, and we notice that we’re in the countryside, with cows, sheep and goats everywhere, the bachelor students say.