Prof. John Kester, the founder of Uniqconsult, spent many years studying away from his home country of Nigeria. We sat down with Prof. John Kester to discuss his experience studying in the former Soviet Union and how it helped build his path to success.
“I studied in Moscow, in the Soviet Union. It was a wonderful opportunity. We were the last batch of students that graduated before the break of the Soviet Union,” says Prof. John Kester, reflecting on his time at school.
The time spent away in the Soviet Union was for Prof. John Kester, a time incredibly pivotal to his life. During these moments, he gained opportunities that broadened his horizons and created a new path for him to follow.
Prof. John Kester says, “As one of the students that excelled in certain subjects, I was sent to the United States in 1986 to represent the school. I represented my school at a conference with the American Society of Agricultural Engineering. It took place in New Orleans.”
While representing his school at the conference, Prof. John Kester noticed that some companies focused on consulting work. As a result, he met many people and eventually became an American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ASABE) member.
Prof. John Kester received various opportunities to stay in the US and work through this opportunity. One of these opportunities was an associate professorship at a West Lafayette, Indiana university. “They offered me an associate professorship while I was still studying in the Soviet Union. They wanted me to move to West Lafayette, Indianapolis, to continue school and then, at the same time, begin working. But because I was also waiting for my wife to finish medical school, I didn’t go,” says Prof. John Kester.
While visiting the US, Prof. John Kester went to the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineering headquarters in Maryland. He spoke with the person who was the Vice President of the society. He says, “When I met with the Vice-president in Maryland, he encouraged me to return to the US. So I decided that after graduating from Russia and waiting for my wife, I had to move to the US to engage in consulting.”
When Prof. John Kester returned to the Soviet Union, this is when he began to put in the work to start focusing on consulting. He began discussing ideas with his lecturer on possible companies and consulting firms they could start to operate. “So we formed Uniqconsult in Moscow with Alexander. To register the company, they didn’t want me to leave Russia. They wanted me to stay,” says Prof. John Kester.
Instead of registering Uniqconsult in Russia, he moved to the US, registered the company, and began his journey into the consulting world. While there, Prof. John Kester also registered Uniqconsult as a company in Nigeria. Registering it in Nigeria allowed him to begin a project that would become one of the most important projects of his many successful ventures.
“After being in the US, I decided to share my experience with African Governments. So I came back to Nigeria from the US around 2004 or 2005 to propose to each state government to offer scholarships which I could secure, to train Nigerian students in Russia. So the major work Uniqconsult did was with the training of Nigerian students abroad,” says Prof. John Kester.
Prof. John Kester discovered his passion, met his wife and created a company thanks to his connections gained through his education and training in the former Soviet Union. He made many opportunities for aspiring students like him to train and study in Russia with a scholarship, a mentor and guidance from Uniqconsult.