‘Taking HELB Loan Was A Huge Mistake’: M-Shule Head of Operations

December 7, 2020

Phoebe Khagame is the Head of Operations at M-Shule, the first adaptive, mobile learning management platform designed to improve performance for millions of primary school students across Kenya and Sub-Saharan Africa.

She shared 6 lessons on money and careers.

It is important to be your own cheer leader, to beat your own drums and blow your own horn. I used to fear advocating for myself. I got over this fear when I learnt that the worst that could happen when advocating for myself is getting a no! Taking chances became more rewarding. I appreciated and acknowledged my worth and set personal and professional boundaries. I remember the first time I asked an employer to sponsor me to attend an international conference. I made a pitch and my request was granted. The feeling was surreal, what I learnt at the conference and the networks I established, made a difference in my skillset.

I love what I do and continuously reinvent the roles I am in to ensure they evolve in tandem. I confidently do this because I have been – and still am – very fortunate to have bosses and mentors willing to take chances on me and support my professional endeavors. I believe that most of us need that one person who will take a chance on us. Earlier on in my career, I dreaded having things go wrong. I was afraid of failing. I would end up overworking myself. This left me exhausted and badly affected my output. Today, I have learned to delegate.

Taking the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) loan was a huge mistake. I should have looked for other options to fund my university education. The penalties and the interest accrued are very punitive. Although I finally managed to pay the loan and get a clearance certificate, the experience under HELB made me fear loans.

Giving people second chances does not always work. I once gave someone too many chances when they clearly were not keen on improving. This was not just frustrating for me but also for my team. I still believe that people need more than one chance, but I am also aware that second chances are limited.

A standing order to my savings account has served me well over the past few years. Automating the saving process and letting my money run without interferences has brought in the discipline that is mandatory in saving money.

Everyone is replaceable. Always make sure that you are really good at what you do. Through your excellence, make it difficult for people to replace you. In addition, make a conscious choice to make the road easier for those who will come after you.

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