Reuben Ngacha always dreamed of studying at a prestigious university overseas, then coming back home to take a position as a senior corporate executive.While at the Jamhuri High School back in 1999, he secured a sports scholarship to study business management at the University of Minnesota in the United States. However, his dream was not to be as he failed to get a visa to travel on time.I was a good tennis player and that earned me a scholarship. I was focused on going overseas. When I realised that nothing was forthcoming, I had to go back to the drawing board,says Ngacha.
After several other attempts to go to the US failed, he enrolled for an IT course at the Kenya Polytechnic. It was while studying at the college that the idea of starting an organisation of his own came to him.Recalling the experiences of hundreds of young people queuing at the American embassy to get a visa to travel to the US prompted me to set up a consultancy firm to advise and train young people planning to study abroad,he narrates.Ngacha, who failed some of the tests that students are subjected to before getting a visa, is now an expert in handling such examinations.He coaches those required to take the famous Test of English Fluency (TOEFL), which examines one's ability to use English and gauges a student's understanding of the language, and GMAT, a basic arithmetic test.
His job involves offering advice to students seeking to study in foreign colleges. He profiles colleges for such students and assists them to get admission through his firm, Symac Consultants, based in Nairobi.I attend to high school leavers who have qualified for college but do not know which institutions to choose,he explains. The colleges are in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the US.The firm also helps students make their travel arrangements, career counselling, and accommodation.Through his firm, which he formed in 2004, Ngacha says he has been able to successfully secure university placement for more than 100 students.With just two assistants, 30-year-old Ngacha has been able to carve a name for himself in the emerging industry. He says he plans to open branches in other countries in the region.
Ngacha also organises fairs to educate students about different courses Bilingual Master of Science, Economics and Management Science and Electrical Engineering that they can take up while abroad.He says that he is able to earn a decent living from the commissions he gets from the services he offers.Ambitious and determined, Ngacha, who started operating from a cyber café, now has an office at the Kenya Cinema Plaza in the heart of the central business district.However, things did not come easy. He had to slowly build trust among his clients by dealing honestly with them, given that many prospective students have been conned by firms offering his type of services.I spend about two months ensuring that a student gets a placement in an institution. It is a delicate process and my clients exercise extra vigilance,he confides.