In Calabar, there is another kind of school called “Calabar’s first Graduate Finishing School” run by the Bridge Leadership Foundation.
The foundation tells graduates yet to find their footing in business or professions: “if you think you are done with schooling, you are wrong.
“At this finishing school, we open the veil that shows you how the larger society looks and which direction you should chart,” the foundation claims.
It has had three sessions of “finishing school” since it started three years ago.
A graduate employability programme, like last year’s, guides and sharpens fresh graduates’ progress toward particular skills or profession by laying bare the risks, challenges and benefits.
The argument is that schools churn out graduates only versed in theory, and the impressionable minds of graduates see only the glamorous side of professions—never the thorns and thistles on the way.
BLF regularly panels banking executives and CEOs—not just elderly or famous but young hotshots and whizkids—who have surmounted ordeals to teach students what to know about job hunting and the business world.
Tony Raphael, CEO of StoneCraft, shares personal realities but is bothered about work ethics in the Nigerian workplace. In addition, he tells the 60 finishing-school graduates, diligence and job output must be above average.
Gabriel Nwakeafor, a senior official at Diamond Bank in Calabar, is more concerned about integrity—and its indispensability in banking sector. The sector also places premium on “neatness and etiquette” and a demand for outstanding behaviour and job conduct in a digital age.
Not to mention working doubly hard, honesty, perseverance and diligence. “These were the hallmarks that helped me in my personal business when I was setting out,” recalls Ini Utuk, the foundation’s acting director.