Hesbon Oenga: Mixologist, globe trotter and budding Procurement Manager
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. That is the kind of the mantra that Hesbon Oenga lives his life by. Keen to get ahead in the hospitality trade, he has left his home, his country, and family behind to turn this dream into a reality.
We got to meet with Hesbon Oenga on his break from mixing drinks and pouring cocktails to find out what makes him tick, what his hopes, dreams, and aspirations are, and what has brought him to this point in his life where a homegrown guy from Nairobi, Kenya came to be working in a 5-star hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
He comes right out the traps by telling us that today, and most days, he is incredibly pleased to be working in an airconditioned hotel as a head mixologist, and not outdoors in 50-degree heat. That said, he obviously likes hot countries having worked in Jordan, Doha, and now Saudi Arabia.
Hesbon says, “I thought that Kenya was hot, but this just takes the biscuit. That is the downside of working out here, but on the upside, I am chasing my dream and loving the fact that I live in a tranquil and very safe country. Yes, it is frenetic, but I do have time to stop and smell the roses from time to time, and of course chat to my wife and kids back home. I do this every day. We are all making big sacrifices to ensure that I get ahead in the working world which one day soon will benefit us as a family.”
And that is why Hesbon has elected to do his BBA at Nexford. Yes, he has done well in his life and chosen career, but like most ambitious people, he wants more. He wants to go places and recognizes that hard work and top qualifications will get him there.
Nexford can help make your dreams come true
When asked about his career to date Hesbon says, “I didn’t always want to be a mixologist, I wanted to get into procurement. But my dad said no. Like most dads who don’t understand an industry, they just drive you into a sector that they know and understand and that for him was hospitality, an industry that is massive in Kenya. When I told him what I wanted to do he chastised me saying, “Oh you want to be a storekeeper,” what’s wrong with you? That said you should never give up on your dream and so when I get my Nexford BBA I will be able to move across to procurement, specializing in Supply Chain Management.”
That led perfectly onto just how and where he discovered Nexford. Like most who have elected to learn with the university, it started with a broad search of local and global universities. He was looking for a university where he could do a Supply Chain program, but he could not afford to be trekking to a campus each day as his work schedule would definitely not allow that. He would have had to quit his job and being the primary bread winner, and that was never going to happen.
Hesbon became keenly aware of online learning which would fit into his busy lifestyle, but the million-dollar question was who should he put his trust and hard-earned money in? Like a divine intervention, he spoke to a friend of his on LinkedIn, who suggested that Hesbon try this progressive university called Nexford. So, he Googled Nexford and within minutes he knew that this was the way to go.
The skills to succeed
Now that we found out where he heard of Nexford and why he wanted to learn with this 100% online university, we wanted to delve deeper into how his BBA had been going to date.
“Oh, it has been going great,” Hesbon says. “I feel that day-by-day I am moving closer to my dream and the reason I say that is because I am procuring the skills required in my future procurement and supply chain career. There are so many skills that I am learning, but if I were to single some out, I would say that my communications and leadership skills have improved, and I am learning how to be more flexible and adaptable in terms of how I work. Working in as many countries as I have, you must learn to quickly adapt to new cultures and work styles, and I honestly believe that Nexford is helping me to do that better.”
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Do what you love and what you’ve always wanted to
Even though his father drove him into the hospitality industry, Hesbon never hated him for it or regretted going down that career path. Far from it. In fact, he tells us that he grew to love it. It has made him more confident, taken him around the world, and helped him to meet interesting and influential people that have in an inadvertent way had an impact on his success to date.
When asked who the most famous people are that he has served a drink to, Hesbon smiles and says, “Off the top of my head I would say the Right Honorable Raila Odinga, former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Qatar Prime Minister, the footballer Roberto Carlos, and Amir Khan the world champion British boxer. Those are probably the top three. Two of them were teetotallers so I only served them soft drinks. No flaring on those occasions although I am still perfecting the finer details of that art.”
Hesbon lets us know that by doing a degree in supply chain, he can still remain in the industry he loves thanks to the transferable skills that he will walk away with when he finishes his Nexford BBA. He can go to purchasing and weave his magic there. That said, because procurement and supply chain drives almost every industry on the planet, the world will be his oyster once he has his degree in his hands.
Know where you are going, but never forget where you’ve come from!
Hesbon is a global player and soon to be the full package, but that does not mean that he has forgotten about his upbringing and his family and how that is helping to keep him grounded. And boy did he come from a big family!
He is the third to last child of a family of nine children. So, it makes sense that he had to try to assert some sort of dominance to get a look in to well almost everything on the domestic front. A dominance that he has carried forward into his professional life. But that did not mean that he could get overconfident at home, his father was too strict for that, and he made no bones about the fact that he was the patriarch in the household.
Hesbon tells us that he was brought up in the city of Nairobi but that they still have a home in the rural areas. One downside of growing up in the city rather than the rural areas is that he is barely able to speak his native language. He says, “If I may be honest with you, I can speak my mother tongue, but only 5% of it. I can understand a bit of what is going on when people converse in it, but I can’t read or write it. It is a shame that I did not spend more time with my grandmother who would have taught me, but at the end of the day it has not affected my life much. I am happy with who I am.”
With Nexford you can learn whenever, wherever
As a modern globe trotter, we had to ask Hesbon where he started doing his Nexford BBA. He tells us that he started it in Kenya but has had to carry it on in Riyadh after he moved there eight months ago. But, because Nexford is 100% online, he is quick to point out that moving countries had no bearing on his way of learning. His classroom is wherever he finds himself in the world.
Hesbon says, “Nexford gives you that flexibility to take your learning wherever you go, which is one of the big points that I think a lot of my fellow learners say they like about the university.”
Although he does miss his wife and two children, he says that not having them in Riyadh has helped him to dedicate all his free time to doing his BBA. And with his busy job as a mixologist, that free time is in very short supply.
Hesbon tells us that out of a 24-hour day, he works for 12-16 hours, and then only after that can he settle down to learn for his BBA. At the higher end of the spectrum, that pretty much leaves him 4-5 hours of sleep after he has closed the laptop.
When he is not doing all of that, Hesbon likes to keep up with current affairs and go to the gym. As far as hobbies go that is about it.
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Having the world at your feet
In the short term after he has earned his Nexford BBA, Hesbon says that he will return to Kenya to work there for four to five years and be with his family, but as a person that is looking to improve all their lives, it will soon be time to move on after that. He tells us that the plan is to move to Europe or America to find a higher-paying job than he would get in Kenya. He is sure that his Nexford BBA will help him get there and quickly climb the career ladder.
What will help him climb even higher up the ladder is to have a Nexford MBA behind his name. He tells us that even before he had started his BBA, he was already thinking of someday signing up for his MBA. After that he would like to pursue a PhD.
Whatever Hesbon decides to set his sights on in the future, we are sure that he will go far, continue to achieve greatness, and provide amazing things for his lovely family.
Seeing is believing, so check out Hesbon’s video.
Mark is a college graduate with Honours in Copywriting. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Nexford, creating engaging, thought-provoking, and action-oriented content.
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