Ezekiel Akpan: Tech master and digital native

Mark Talmage-Rostron
23.05.2022·11 min read

Ezekiel Akpan lives in Accra, Ghana. He is setting the tech world on fire with his in-depth knowledge in the sector and acquiring valuable new skills with his Nexford MBA

At first contact with Ezekiel Akpan, you quickly come to realize that through his steely gaze, and confidence in his abilities, he is destined to reach the heady heights in the tech world in which he plies his trade. Proof once again that through hard work and determination, and a Nexford MBA to open more doors, people like him can really go places.

And places he is going. If there is such an expression as that? Probably not! You see Ezekiel is currently plying his trade at Brassica Pay Limited, a well-known FinTech and enhanced payment service provider in Ghana. It’s of course not his first rodeo, as he’s been making his mark within the tech and banking space for the past eight to ten years.

He says, “My first discipline is in computer engineering. So, I’m very familiar with how the tech environment works as I have worked on a lot of solutions, basically financial solutions, core banking applications, and digital payment applications.”

Not that there is ever a typical day in the tech industry as it moves faster than a slippery eel on a wet surface, but when pressed Ezekiel was quite pragmatic about what he does and how he does it.

“For me, it depends on what the scenarios are on a day-to-day basis. As always, we have a couple of projects to run. I get up in the morning, nothing exciting there, head to the office, and more often than not jump straight into tackling a couple of projects within the solution delivery space. So, I must be a little bit more precise with policies, what is happening around the tech space, what is happening in the country within the financial space, and then familiarize myself with some resolutions that I can incorporate into my solution designs. Oh and in between all that I get to attend a couple of meetings and church programs. From there, I head home very late at night, wake up the next day, and do the same thing all over again.”

But for Ezekiel, it’s not as basic as that as one can appreciate that in the tech world things change rapidly. Staying ahead of the curve is super important. Besides keeping a handle on a fairly hefty workload, he also has to keep up to date with what’s new in the industry and ascertain how that’s going to affect his job description. That means having to keep an open mind to the concept of lifelong learning necessary to upskill and reskill to stay current and ahead of the chasing pack. Weighing all of these requirements up, Ezekiel came to the conscious decision that a Nexford MBA would be mission-critical.

Look before you leap

Ezekiel reflects on his path to getting where he is now, citing that at the beginning it was a massive leap of faith to do what needed to be done to get him where he is now. He admits that he never considered himself to be much of a businessperson as his first degree was in computer engineering, thus he hoped that he could be the quintessential tech person that does the techy bits, but still remain in the background. However, as mentioned before, Ezekiel was never destined to be a wallflower.

He says, “I took that decision a couple of years back to try something new and go into the business space. In fact, my current role is actually some sort of a blend of business and technical. So, although I understand everything technical, I admit that I have certain gaps when it comes to the analyzing business processes and working efficiently with a business team to translate their requirements into technical solutions. To remedy that situation, I opted to start my MBA with Nexford. I sure am glad that I did though as my learning path so far has really provided me with a detailed understanding of business environments. Not just local business environments, international ones as well. I now have a better understanding of how businesses overcome adversity, policies that they must adhere to, and all other business legalities in between.”

Ezekiel comments even further when he mentions that when working with top-notch business people in the organization and outside of it, he now has a deeper understanding of where they’re coming from, what they’re looking for, and what they are trying to achieve.

Family matters

Proudly displaying a wedding ring, he grins and speaks about his joy of being married to a beautiful woman but has no plans, for now, to have children, as with five years under their belts they are still relative newlyweds.

Talking about family, Ezekiel gives us an insight into his formative years as he recounts how growing up was really fun. He grew up in Nigeria in an environment where you were expected to be an engineer or nothing at all, and then moved to Ghana when he was relatively young. But a career in engineering was not for him. He really wanted to work in the technologies space. He always found himself leaning towards that, so he did a couple of tech courses before signing up to study at a university.

Not too cool for school

Ezekiel has always placed a premium on education, and he had the opportunity of doing his university course in Ghana. One of the universities in Accra was where he got his degree in computer engineering. He found himself doing techy stuff until he graduated and then decided to take working in that space seriously.

 

What drew him to taking up residence in Ghana 17-years ago, was to further his education in a location outside of Nigeria and judging by the smile on his face, it was the right thing to do. But Ghana was not top of the list first up. He says, “Okay, so I had another option in Canada, at the time, but I think one of the major factors for me not considering that option was costs. It was very expensive. So, I had to look for an alternative. Accra was right for me.”

He mentions that cost was certainly one of the major things that drew him to do his MBA at Nexford. The fact that he could learn an international American degree without having to leave the country, and thus save on the high costs associated with that, swayed his choice of university toward Nexford. He also wanted to learn something that would take him out of just the tech space and into a more business-like field. So, he needed an MBA to at least give him the necessary credentials to thrive in that space.

He says, “I had a lot of options. I had a couple of schools in Ghana, and some affiliate universities in Lancaster. Their main campuses in the UK were cool, but I think what swayed it for me was that Nexford is flexible and affordable. But there were many other reasons too. What also really drew me to Nexford was the ease of doing the course remotely. That meant that I could learn out of the comfort of my home, office, or anywhere else for that matter. But the one that really hit me between the eyes was the monthly payment terms which fitted into my budget beautifully. I just treated it as one of the monthly bills that you have to meet. That made it easy for me to fund my MBA.”

Getting an MBA must start somewhere

Ezekiel found out about Nexford when someone recommended the 100% online university to him. He met a business colleague who flew in from Nigeria for a project who told him that he had studied at Nexford. It worked out for him, so he told Ezekiel to give it a try. He had to look it up of course and did some extensive research on the school and everything about it. He tells us that he got all the information he needed and was satisfied that he was about to make the right decision and learn for his MBA at Nexford. He then never looked back and is well on the path to success.

“Once I finish my MBA, I have no doubt that it's going to open more doors for me and lay the foundation for promotions and other amazing things like that.”

Ezekiel puts his newfound and future success down to the fact that with his Nexford MBA he is realizing personal growth when it comes to his abilities to analyze business processes, learn from them, and make better business decisions. Prior to his MBA, he would walk into a business meeting and not be able to understand what was being said. Now he has a better understanding and appreciation of all things business.

He mentions, “I had a meeting or a discussion with my chief marketing officer just recently, we shared ideas and I realized that what was discussed was something I’d been working with, but just didn’t understand the intricacies of. So, through my MBA with Nexford, I was able to appreciate some of these things a lot better. So yes, for me, it’s going to help me a lot not just where I’m working, but also in other business fields should I choose to make a career change. And that will once again be a big boost for my business confidence and career.”

Although Ezekiel has not had many thoughts on specializing his MBA just yet, it is something that he is very much considering as he recognizes that it will add more strings to his bow. When pressed he says that he will probably take a specialization in artificial intelligence as it is the way of the future and part of the shifting modern business landscape.

MBA specializations are the way to go

Although Ezekiel has not had many thoughts on specializing his MBA just yet, it is something that he is very much considering as he recognizes that it will add more strings to his bow. When pressed he says that he will probably take a specialization in artificial intelligence as it is the way of the future and part of the shifting modern business landscape.

“I really want to specialize my Nexford MBA in AI, focussing on infusing AI into business analytics. It's an interesting area for me, but I am still trying to explore more before I take the decision.”

Changing the direction of business and his life is not the only change on the horizon as Ezekiel has not ruled out jumping on a plane with his family one day bound for Canada, the US or somewhere else in Africa. Nor has he ruled out becoming an entrepreneur and starting his own business. Interesting directions to take in life, but actually, Ezekiel says that he will probably look to do a mix of employee and entrepreneur.

He says, “Okay, so for me, it’s a blend, and the end game for me is to be an entrepreneur and do my own thing. But I still think that I have a lot more to learn within the business space. So, I feel, although that’s my goal, I don’t want to rush into that. If the opportunity comes up, I will take it.”

Curiosity killed the cat and so we could not let Ezekiel go without questioning him on just who he has drawn inspiration from to get him to where he is now. He looks to the ceiling and mentions that basically he has a lot of people who he looks up to but if he had to choose one, it would be his former boss and MD, John Awuah. Ezekiel points out that John was also a tech person, rose through the ranks, ventured into the business space, and then ended up being the MD of a successful indigenous bank in Ghana (Universal Merchant Bank). Now he’s the chief executive officer at the Ghana Association of Banks.

For Ezekiel, the story behind him is quite unique and inspirational. Furthermore, that story is relatable to him because he also came from that same background. He mentions that Steve Jobs is also inspirational, but because of the level of business that he operated in, his story was far from relatable.

Ready to take the next step and discover how a Nexford MBA could increase your salary as a working professional in Ghana? Download our brochure or book a call with our Nexford Advisors!

He says, “If it’s someone close to you and someone who you had an experience with, a genuine experience with, and you see that person rise through the ranks, it just makes so much more of a difference. It makes you more goal orientated and able to think to yourself, I can do that too. But that special relationship with his former boss didn’t end there.

Ezekiel says with much fondness that John still has an extremely healthy impact on his business career. By the way, he also recommended that Ezekiel get his MBA.

Ezekiel’s dreams will surely come true, and we look forward to seeing them come to fruition. As someone who is so goal-oriented and driven, how could we ever doubt him?

In the meantime, whilst he climbs the career ladder, Ezekiel will very much enjoy his downtime when he can get it. He loves football and is an advent supporter of Barcelona whom he watches on the TV at every opportunity. But because he is a get-up and go man, he doesn’t just watch football, he plays it too. When he is sedentary, he occupies his spare time playing online computer games and loves chilling with his lovely wife.

About the Author

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.

Join our newsletter and be the first to receive news about our programs, events and articles.