Why would an MBA graduate become a carpenter?
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Oct 16, 2016

Why would an MBA graduate become a carpenter?

This may seem like an odd reality. However, in the case of Mr. Ebai Ayuk Nkem, it is not an oddity at all; in fact, it’s his reality. C-life is delighted to profile this month, the story of how a highly educated Cameroonian professional chose to follow God’s calling into the field of carpentry.

Quality finish has always been the watchword with Index Woodworks

Quality finish has always been the watchword with Index Woodworks

For the past few years, Ebai Ayuk Nkem, owner of Index Woodworks–has been meticulous and professional in serving his clients with the best woodwork and joinery in Buea, Cameroon. Some may wonder how Mr. Ebai came to enter into the field of carpentry despite his flowery education. Here is his story.

M. Ebai grew up in the beach town of Limbe, which is where he developed the love for working with his hands.

Fast forwarding to the year 2000, Mr. Ebai graduated with a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Chemistry from the University of Buea. UnLike most young Cameroonians, he was fortunate to enter the job market and work for three large Cameroonian businesses. In 2012, he returned to the University of Buea to earn a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree in Chemistry and later on a Master of Business Administration (MBA). He believed that his education will help him be a business owner with a difference. 


Index staff display a high-quality finished product

Index Woodworks staff display high-quality finished product

When asked what led him into carpentry despite his academic background, Mr. Ebai explained with a smile that his love and skill for carpentry coupled with the market demand, led him to take the leap of owning his own business.

Cameroon’s landscape holds an average of 46 million acres of forest land, which makes up 40% of the country’s total land area. Cameroon timber is well known in the international markets, with high quality exports to China (28%), Viet Nam (12%), Belgium (12%), Italy (10%), France (4%) and Turkey (3%), to name a few.

Mr. Ebai’s gift of skillfully working with wood, aligns with the country’s need for carpentry and  joinery to supply various home and business construction projects. “The construction sector in Cameroon is a lucrative venture because it’s still in the budding stage,” Mr. Ebai explains to C-life.

He and his team at Index Woodworks are not only able to convert locally made wood to unique finished woodworks, but they are known to use computer simulated designs to masterfully craft the right wood designs to satisfy their customer’s needs. C-Life witnessed this exceptional work when we contracted with Mr. Ebai’s company for the furnishing of our office space.


The design layout Index Woodworks provided C-Life, to help us understand the best layout for our needs

Mr. Ebai’s motivation comes from continuously being able to deliver high-quality woodwork to demanding customers, and the opportunity he has of employing and managing five staff—he expects this number to grow. For these reasons, he hopes young graduates can see Index Woodworks as an inspiration to think outside of the box in order—apply their education in unconventional ways and achieve professional excellence. 

Resilience and discipline are necessary in any sector of life and the construction sector is no exception. The challenges of raising startup capital, securing a location, and keeping up with the accounting process are not only physically demanding but also mentally exhausting.

However, Mr. Ebai is a Christian husband and father of five who lives by the principle of Colossians 3:23 which says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” It is with this understanding and his dedication to his work that he has been able to develop such a successful business in Cameroon.

Mr. Ebai faces the challenging construction field with a smile

Mr. Ebai faces the challenging construction field with a smile

So with every project comes a new opportunity for his team at Index Woodworks to deliver work reflecting God’s glory and blessing their customers. His office is there to serve. 

Entrepreneurs like Mr. Ebai are a source of great motivation to us at C-Life. We are spurred on in our mission to grow integrity and professional excellence for the glory of God in Cameroon, through the hands of young servant leaders—we continue to serve to this end.

Nchemty OzonAshu (C-Life Cameroon Country Director) & Meghan Shrewsbury (Social Media Engagement) 

Index Woodworks, Buea-Cameroon| +237675937003 |+237650502858

The C-Life Profile initiative is a monthly profile that captures stories of local Cameroonian businesses or individuals who are already living out some of the core values and skills which pertain to the C-Life philosophy of glorifying God through one’s profession by living a life of integrity, professional excellence, servant leadership and giving back to the community. To find out more about our beliefs and philosophy, please go to myclife.org.


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