Kenya Utalii College Stirred Up My Hunger For Education

Mark Rachuonyo Ogendi studied Front Office Operations and graduated on 22nd September 1997. So far, he has acquired a Bachelor’s Degree, MBA, Msc., PhD and five postgraduate Diplomas.

How did you join Kenya Utalii College?

I joined Kenya Utalii College (KUC) in September 1995 after a rigorous interview that was professionally carried out. During our time, it was not so easy to join KUC and only the best would pass the oral and written interviews. The competition was steep and admissions were based on a quota system to enable students from every part of the Nation to join the Government training institution. I studied Front Office Operations and graduated on 22nd September 1997.

How did you settle on a career in Tourism and Hospitality? Did you have other options?

Yes, I had other options. My interest was to pursue a degree in Communications but I received an admission letter to pursue an arts-related course.  This made me switch gears to hospitality and tourism training. At that time, KUC was the place to be. I picked this industry because it was taking people places; and the joy of adventures and expeditions. Working in the tourism industry and more so having trained at KUC made me get the best networks ever. 

How were your days at Kenya Utalii College – your experience with the lecturers, students, internships, events and exchange programs and the role they played in shaping your career and life as a whole?

I had a wonderful experience at the college.  Taking tea with “the big five” then, was refreshing and it also allowed us an opportunity to interact. The lecturers were wonderful and very professional.  We ate like kings and queens; a privilege that made students from all other institutions envy us.  If you ever invited a friend to the College for a students’ meal, they would come back, again and again.  Our uniforms and bed linen were professionally laundered by the institution. One was expected to change linen every week and this was taken with a lot of seriousness that no one would ever dare not to. This made us learn to be very responsible managers who take everything seriously, as we do, to date.

What stood out the most for you at Kenya Utalii College?

Professionalism and networking. All lecturers, students, and other staff members were so friendly. It is courtesy of this environment that I learnt all the soft skills I use today.

Tell us about your career journey and success story.

Kenya Utalii College made me what I am today; it stirred up my hunger for education and from there, I furthered my education and acquired the following academic qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management – USIU Africa, MBA-Strategic Marketing-Corllins University, Msc. Management and Organization Development – USIU Africa and PhD in Strategic Management-University of Nairobi. I also have five postgraduate Diplomas in PR, Management and Public Administration.

How did Kenya Utalii College impact your career journey?

Kenya Utalii College moulded me fully and prepared me for the future.  I will always talk “KUC” in every conversation that I make with my students and colleagues.  The memories of many years ago are still very fresh in my mind. 

Your message to our young alumni and aspiring tourism and hospitality students?

We must ensure KUC remains a center of excellence in training hospitality and tourism professionals.  We must guard KUC with all our might and weight. I have risen in my career from working as a receptionist to becoming the dean of Students at Mount Kenya University, Director Communication and Corporate Affairs, lecturer – Hospitality and Tourism (Rwanda University and in Kenya) and consultant in Leadership and Governance.

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