News & Features

MBA student enjoys his OPTIONS

Kenyan born Peter Karanja takes advantage of Fontbonne program

ByAnne Shaw Heinrich For the St. Louis American

January 11, 2007


Peter Karanja likes being an MBA student with the Fontbonne University OPTIONS program for many of the same reasons he likes his still-new status as an American citizen: freedom and choices.

"In Kenya, students couldn't change their minds about career choices. The government determined which track you were to stay on and once you started with a field, you had to stay with that major."

"One thing that I really like about America is that you can be what you want to be," says Karanja, who came to the United States when he was 24. "I had only $900 in my pocket when I arrived. I had nothing. I had no support from anybody. But like I try to tell people younger than me, here you can do anything you choose to do. It's all your choice."

It was his freedom to choose that led him to enroll in the OPTIONS program with Fontbonne University. After some in-depth research for an MBA program that would fit his busy life, Karanja came across the Fontbonne University OPTIONS program.

Even though Karanja did have a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Wildlife from Moi University in Kenya when he came to the United States, he knew that it would be difficult to achieve his professional goals his undergraduate education.

"I knew that I needed either years of experience or to get another degree," Karanja said. After he earned a Master's degree in Biology from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Karanja took his first job at the Washington University School of Medicine. Later, he worked in research at Monsanto.

He's been with Steris Corporation for four years, and was recently promoted from Associate Scientist to Scientist with the company. The company researches and manufactures disinfectants and Karanja and his scientist colleagues conduct research regarding infection prevention and surgical support.

In addition to his full-time work at Steris, he operates a small office-cleaning business and has a wife and young daughter.

With its main campus located in Clayton, the university has OPTIONS classroom sites in South County, Chesterfield, North County and downtown St. Louis. Most OPTIONS courses are five to eight weeks in length and meet on the same evening each week. Many of the OPTIONS degree programs have been sequenced to be completed in two years or less. Karanja anticipates receiving a degree in April 2008.

"I really like the flexibility that Fontbonne OPTIONS offers. The program is not building us to be first-time employees. The program is building managers," Karanja says.

Fontbonne University has been a provider of high-quality educational programs for more than 80 years. For more information about OPTIONS, call 314-863-2220 or visit the website at


with permission, copyright (2006) St. Louis American / Choices & Careers