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Nyagaka Ongeri Biography, Education, Career And Family

Nyagaka Ongeri, 50, is the son of incumbent Kisii County Senator Sam Ongeri. He has one of the most decorated resumes of Kenyans who have worked in the corporate world.

He is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ubora Advisors, LLC (Ubora). According to his LinkedIn page, Ubora is a New York-based advisory firm delivering innovative financing, risk and treasury management solutions to US clients across Africa and the Middle East and enabling financing for African clients in the United States.

Nyagaka boasts a career spanning over two decades, with stints at some of the most renowned financial institutions in the world.

Nyagaka Ongeri (center) during a meeting with former Kenyan Ambassador to the US Dr. Githae on January 28, 2015. |Courtesy| Facebook|
Nyagaka Ongeri (center) during a meeting with former Kenyan Ambassador to the US Dr. Githae on January 28, 2015. |Courtesy| Facebook|

Education

Just like President Uhuru Kenyatta and Jeff Koinange, Nyagaka is an alumnus of St. Mary’s School, Nairobi. This is where he attained his ‘O’ Levels. After St. Mary’s, he worked briefly for Kenya Savings and Mortgage, a housing finance entity that later closed shop.

He joined the Moi Forces Academy for his “A” Levels specialising in mathematics, geography and economics.

During an interview with US magazine Lifestyle in 2019, Nyagaka credited his strong religious background and the abolished 7-4-2-3 education system for his academic success.

“My faith has been central in my life through the highs and lows,” he said.

“Don’t undervalue the skill sets you have accrued from learning in Kenya. These, coupled with the experience I had at the firm, gave me the essential skill sets to pursue finance,”  Nyagaka narrated.

In 1988, he proceeded to the National Youth Service in Gilgil, at a time it was mandatory to join NYS before proceeding to University.

Later that year, he was selected to join Kenyatta University but received an admission letter to join Howard University in the United States.

He was attracted to Howard because of its emphasis on empowering the black population, and in January 1989, he left for the US to pursue a degree in business finance.

“I had these concepts of the US from the media. People were open and didn’t have qualms about speaking their minds. I just wasn’t used to that,” Nyagaka told Lifestyle Magazine.

His academic performances at the institution were exceptional, earning him a full scholarship at the school.

Career

Nyagaka while a student at Howard, interned at Maryland Bank National Associates, which was later acquired by the Bank of America for a period of three months.

“This was my first introduction to corporate America. It opened my thinking to the idea that I could work on Wall Street,” he recalled.

In 1991, he earned another internship stint at JP Morgan, one of the largest financial entities in the world.

“Until then, Howard had taught me how to write a CV, how to dress and what to say. But at JP Morgan, I learned the things that you are not taught in school the business etiquette. For example, I learned how to dress and to show up on time,” Nyagaka narrated.

In his final year, he applied for jobs and attracted offers from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Merrill Lynch, and settled on the latter.

He worked at Merrill Lynch for three years before going back to school (Havard School of Business) in January 1996.

“Books have been written about surviving the year at Harvard. It is incredibly intense. You are taught to make decisions, stand by them and fight to succeed. Every night we were given assignments which we were required to present in front of colleagues the following morning. These are smart and opinionated. If you are mediocre, you get exposed quickly,” Nyagaka stated.

He graduated from Havard in 1997 and was employed by JP Morgan. The New York financial behemoth placed him in South Africa where he served the firm’s capital markets division, servicing both local and international clients for four years.

In September 2001, Nyagaka joined Barclays. He worked as the managing director head of financial institutions debt capital markets for a period of seven years.

In July 2009, he relocated to Johannesburg, South Africa as the managing director, head of global finance and risk solutions at Absa Capital, an affiliate of Barclays Capital.

Nyagaka held the role for 2 years, till 2011, before relocating back to New York. He worked as managing director in charge of corporate banking coverage at Barclays until he left in July 2019.

In November 2019, he founded Ubora Advisors LLC.

Nyagaka serves on the US Board of Amref Health Africa, the largest African-based non profit that delivers health services to over 30 countries on the continent with a vision of lasting health change in Africa.

Family

He is the son of Kisii Senator Prof. Sam Ongeri. He is married to Eva.

File image of Nyagaka Ongeri and his wife. |Photo| Courtesy|
File image of Nyagaka Ongeri and his wife. |Photo| Courtesy|