Nicholas Ortana: Farmer, family man, and logistics legend

Nicholas Ortana is a man on the move. As a Manager at Newman Logistics in Nairobi, Kenya, he has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, but thanks to his Nexford MBA and the new skills that he is learning on a weekly basis, he is seemingly taking it all in his stride and reaping the rewards.

You have to start somewhere!

When Nicholas Ortana started his MBA at Nexford University from the comfort of his office, or home in November 2022, he had no idea of how quickly his business acumen and understanding of the ins and outs of logistics and supply chains would dramatically improve in such a short space of time, but it sure has.

Being quite a humble man, Nicholas is enjoying his newfound success but is still grounded and has not forgotten about where he has come from. He tells us that although he is now a city dweller, he still goes back to his ancestral home in western Kenya from time to time.

Of his two homes and their importance in his life, he philosophically tells us that in Kenya you have two homes, one where you live, and one where you go to while away your last days on earth. Thankfully, Nicholas still has lots of life in him and he tells us that when he goes to his ancestral home, almost three times a month, he has his hands full growing cereals, and tending to a few cows and goats.

Family matters

Getting ahead in life is of great importance to Nicholas, but so too is his family. He lives in his city home with his wife and four children, whilst his beloved parents live on the ancestral farm. Of his children that are his pride and joy, Nicholas says, “I am lucky enough to have four healthy children, the eldest, a boy, is 14 and the youngest is two and a half. They are a blessing and in fact we are having a celebration right now as it’s the eldest’s birthday today.

Never too cool for school!

Of course an interview with a Nexford learner would not be complete without having a nibble at how they came to find out about the university and what enticed them to enrol.

About his decision to do his degree with Nexford, Nicholas says, “I was told about Nexford by a customer who had taken the leap of faith to join the university. I was looking for a university that would help me become better skilled in supply chain and logistics and was corresponding with a few, but when I looked at Nexford I just realized it was the one. The fees were more affordable than the other universities that I was looking at, and the curriculum model was right up my street as it was flexible, so using Canvas, I could learn when, where, and on the device I wanted. Often that device would be my phone. I run two companies so I could not be tied down to inflexible set lecture times on a campus.”

Of his busy work life, and having his hands full doing the day-to-days at two companies, learning and working is as expected quite the juggling act for Nicholas. But with anything in his life, he has a plan for everything. He tells us that he blocks out about three to four hours a day to learn, which is usually divided between a couple of hours in the morning and a couple mid afternoon dependent on meetings.

Early doors of his Nexford education

Nicholas may have only started his degree in November of 2022, but he already feels like he has come far in the relatively short space of time that he has been with Nexford and is gaining valuable business skills hand over fist.

Of his newly acquired skills he says, “The positives so far that I am getting out of my Nexford degree is that it is better preparing me for the modern workplace. It makes you job ready virtually from day one with the real world business scenarios and case studies that you are exposed to. Also access to LinkedIn learning has helped augment my learnings. And I have also started using LinkedIn for networking with like minded business people and fellow Nexford learners.”

Taking his newfound skills a bit further, Nicholas says that improving his business acumen is coming along in leaps and bounds. He is better at setting career goals and developing business plans, so he is highly optimistic that under his expert tutelage, his companies will go from strength to strength.

All work and no play makes Nicholas a dull man

It seems obvious to say that we were not born adults and we all had a great time growing up and being able to smell the roses a lot more than when we reach adulthood. We know where Nicholas is heading, but we wanted to know more about where he came from.

Of his early days on this earth, Nicholas said that his younger days were care free and lots of fun. He grew up in a small village where he went swimming in the lakes and rivers, herded cows and goats, and was dispatched by his elders to fetch firewood from time to time. But, like everyone, Nicholas had to grow up and had to swap his village life for city life where he had his eyes set on launching a successful career.

That said, Nicholas also recognizes the need for downtime as burning both ends of the candle just leads to burn out. So when he is not working and learning, he tells us that he loves watching football, Manchester United is his team, and also loves watching his son play. Oh, and he also loves travelling. Travelling expands your horizons and exposes you to different cultures, and Nicholas tells us that those experiences continue to make him a very happy man.

He also likes to keep abreast of current affairs so when he is not working he is scrolling though news networks, BBC being his favourite, and Googling local news.

Nobody is too old to continue learning

Time waits for no man and the world never stands still, so Nicholas is one of the first to recognize that learning is a lifelong thing. Especially if you don’t want to stagnate or end up one day being tossed on the redundancy pile.

Obviously goal number one is to finish his current degree with Nexford, but then after that, he has an MBA in his sights, and then following that, a PhD. Then he is hoping the world will be his oyster, which of course with that many letters behind his name, we’re sure it will be.

But for now, he is looking to stay local and expand his two companies. Of his planned global domination he says, “I may not go global just yet because I've not even dominated the Kenyan market. In fact right now I would say just a very small fraction. I want to expand into Tanzania, and then maybe later on I may go global. That’s the business side, but I also look forward to traveling overseas probably the USA to look at the markets that I can market the businesses in. But that will take some inspiration and a fair deal of perspiration.”

On the topic of inspiration, it was interesting to find out where Nicholas drew his from. He says that the primary inspiration comes from his parents, but interestingly enough he tells us that he draws inspiration from the previous president of the USA as he sees him as a businessman first, and a political leader second.

He says, “So I realized that excelling in business can also mean you can excel in any other fields. So I look forward to becoming a business icon within the country and hopefully further afield. If I can make a global mark, the better for me.”

Lofty ambitions you might say, but having spent a half an hour in his company, and finding out a bit more about the man behind the man, we think that Nicholas has a good chance of achieving all that he has set out to do, both today, and in the foreseeable future. We wish him the best of luck!

Seeing is believing, so check out Nicholas' video below or on YouTube.

About the author
Mark Talmage-Rostron
Mark Talmage-Rostron

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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