Jackie Howard (left) and Caroline Flowers (right) pose with their BBA diplomas.
In 2012, Caroline Flowers and Jackie Howard spotted a flyer at their university—a flyer that would shape the next three years of their college experience and beyond. It was a flyer was soliciting interns for IESC’s USAID-funded Investing for Business Expansion Program (IBEX), which provides business loan facilitation and technical assistance and capacity building to local business and commercial bank staff.
IBEX’s internship program aims to provide mentoring and training to college and university students, in hopes of preparing them for future employment. “When I first heard about the IBEX mentorship and career development program on my campus, I immediately applied, believing that I would learn and one day become a professional person after my graduation,” Caroline said. Before long, IESC hired both Caroline and Jackie, and since May of 2013, they have been supporting the IBEX program—first as interns, and later, after demonstrating their dedication and diligence, as full-time employees.
Both women indicated that they learned a great deal from their IBEX internship experiences about what it means to work in a professional environment. “Being a member of the IBEX team is one of the greatest opportunities for me as a student to develop professionally,” Caroline said. And according to Jackie, “[The] IBEX Program. . .gives college and university students the opportunity to learn basic office procedures and professional etiquette that prepare them for the competitive job market.”
On Friday, November 27, Caroline Flowers and Jackie Howard, along with 400 of their colleagues, proudly crossed the stage at Stella Maris Polytechnic’s graduation ceremony. Both walked away with bachelor of business administration (BBA) degrees in hand, Caroline’s in management, and Jackie’s in accounting.
Caroline and Jackie have expressed their gratitude to the entire IBEX team—both in Liberia and Washington, DC—offering special thanks to Watchen Bruce, who leads the IBEX program, and her deputy, Augustus Flomo, for their ongoing mentorship.
For Caroline and Jackie, November’s graduation doesn’t signal the end of their academic pursuits—they’re aiming higher. Caroline hopes to pursue a master’s degree in financial management, while Jackie plans to pursue a master’s degree in banking and finance.
This story is made possible with the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the sole responsibility of IESC and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.