Meet Ikenna Ekeh, a young Nigerian who is a skillful and excellent IT professional based in the United States of America and has conquered the corporate worlds of Google, Microsoft and Amazon and met with the former world’s richest man Bill Gates. Ikenna is one out of many Nigerians who is self-driven, optimistic and has desired to use his skills to develop the land of his birth which has great prospects.
Ikenna, shortly after completion of his secondary school education got admission into one of the reputable universities in Nigeria to study Engineering, although the notorious ASUU strike hindered him from completing his degree programme in Nigeria. His parents made a decision to send him to the United States to continue his tertiary education.
At the Pennsylvania State University, he studied Electrical Engineering and did a Master’s degree programme in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. He also went on with an MBA at the Wharton Business School in the University of Pennsylvania.
According to an article on Nairametrics, his first culture shock in the US, fondly known as Uncle Sam, occurred when he lived in Michigan. In Ikenna’s words, he said: “I had read about snow and cold winters but never experienced both. During my stay in Michigan, it got so cold that lake surfaces were frozen and people were told when it was safe to walk on them”.
At the completion of his tertiary education, he got a job with Microsoft where he did his internship as a software engineer and was opportune to have met Bill Gates, its co-founder and founding CEO at his residence. It was an extremely exciting moment for him. He later took up several full-time service and program management roles after interning there which made him exposed to many opportunities that technology has to offer.
The drive for more knowledge made him quit his job at the world’s largest software manufacturer, after working for nine-years. Afterwards, he proceeded to the Ivy-League University of Wharton Business for an MBA and also did an internship at the world’s largest search engine company (Google) for four months.
According to him, he described the American educational system as a “good mix of practical application and theoretical knowledge”. He added that the system made it easy for him to “transition to the corporate world after graduation”.
He is also an entrepreneur and the owner of a wedding planning company called ILUDIO. He established this company to solve the challenges of wedding planning in Nigeria. He further went on to explain why he set up the firm and the problems relating to planning a wedding. He said “The problems include vendor discoverability, price discrimination and last-minute cancellation. The focus was to provide a marketplace for couples to find vendors on ILUDIO”.
Regardless of the fact that he has been abroad for a long period of time, he is still very much connected to Nigeria, a proud one at that and has not forgotten his land of birth. He said: “I am a proud Nigerian. Nigeria is a country with great people, food, entertainment and culture”.
Furthermore, he gave a piece of advice to Nigerians who intend to relocate abroad. In his words: “My advice is to be introspective and ensure you are immigrating for the right reason. Once you have the right reason, you should work towards immigrating and avoid distractions”.
He also said: “Most importantly, you must diligently seek God and involve Him in all your plans. He will surely bless you”.
Presently, Ikenna works for Amazon as a Senior Technical Product Manager where he provides technology solutions to its internal finance teams.