Shakir Simon was a part-time teller at a Chase branch in Hollywood, FL, starting her FIU classes at 7:50 am, going to work around noon and returning for classes that ran until 10 pm. That grueling scheduled ended in the fall of 2014, when she received a scholarship from the Florida International Bankers Association (FIBA).
“The scholarship let me focus 110 percent on academics without worrying about income sources and working,” said Simon, who received her bachelors in Accounting in 2016, got straight A’s and received five internship offers in her final semester. “I had no excuse to fail.”
On October 10, 2017, FIBA expanded a long-running partnership with the College of Business, committing to the Dr. Felix H. Reyler Memorial Scholarship for another five years.
The scholarship provides $7,500 every semester, equivalent to one year’s tuition, to a full-time junior or senior College of Business undergraduate student majoring in business administration. Over the course of the five years, FIBA will donate $75,000 to COB students.
“Kudos to the FIBA leadership team for believing in FIU’s College of Business,” Dean Joanne Li said during the presentation. “You’re helping our students make it to the finish line.”
Simon agreed. After graduating, she completed an internship in the international tax team at PwC and is currently working at the EisnerAmper accounting firm. “It’s all about getting there.”
Education is a priority for FIBA.
FIBA’s CEO David Schwartz noted that many students in South Florida attend FIU for its affordability as well as allowing them to continue working, sometimes two and three jobs.
“Many students have no other source of support,” said Schwartz. “We want to give them that first step to help them get a college education.”
College of Business finance professor Marcos Kerbel, a past-president of FIBA, noted that the Dr. Felix H. Reyler Memorial Scholarship shows the organization’s commitment to education and to FIU. Kerbel has played a key role in developing the relationship between FIBA and the university.
Partnerships between FIBA, which promotes international banking, finance and commerce in Florida, and FIU date back to 2007 when the organization established the FIBA Anti Money Laundering Compliance Associate (AMLCA) Certification focused on anti-money laundering training and compliance.
“The College of Business will continue to make strides with our partners,” said Li. “We’re going to make more dreams come true.”