University of South Carolina

Moore School announces Peace Corps partnership

Contact: Peggy Binette 803-777-5400 peggy@mailbox.sc.edu

In the same month the Peace Corps celebrates its 50th year, two graduate students at the Darla Moore School of Business will become the first University of South Carolina students to participate in the Master’s International Program, a partnership between the Moore School and the Peace Corps.

Henry Bennett and Renee Paris-Buchy, both first-year candidates in the Moore School’s International Master of Business Administration (IMBA) program, are also the first students selected for the Master’s International Program, which was launched in 2009.

“The Moore School is thrilled to partner with the Peace Corps and its Masters International program,” said Dr. Christine LaCola, assistant dean and director of the graduate division at the Moore School. “The IMBA is the ideal MBA program for preparing individuals who care about the integration of business and economic development. We look forward to a long partnership of preparing Peace Corps volunteers for their important worldview careers.”

Even before their Peace Corps experience begins this spring, Bennett and Paris-Buchy are preparing for a worldview career. The pair is in Chile for an intensive language and cultural immersion experience, a hallmark of the IMBA program.

After a short time with family, they will head to their Peace Corps destinations – Kenya for Bennett and Cameroon for Paris-Buchy – where they will spend 27 months providing service and completing their IMBA-required in-country language training.

Bennett, 24, from Summerville, said his travels to more than 25 countries and seeing Africa in 2009 inspired him to volunteer with the Peace Corps.

“While I was in Africa, I saw the extreme poverty many Africans live in every day,” Bennett said. “This trip alone had such an impact on me that I was determined to return to do development work that would hopefully improve some of the living conditions of people throughout the continent.”

It was during Bennett’s research on the Peace Corps that he discovered the Moore School’s specialized dual program. He graduated from the Moore School in 2010 with bachelor’s degrees in international business and marketing.

“It [Moore School] turned out to be the perfect fit,” he said. “It allows me to continue to learn and educate myself for my future career as well as giving me the opportunity to accomplish my goal of going back to Africa to do development work.”

Paris-Buchy, 29, said her interest in the Peace Corps began as an undergraduate student at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

“I used to walk in front of the main Peace Corps building all the time,” said Paris-Buchy. “I learned about microfinance when I was an undergrad international-affairs major and knew at that moment it was what I wanted to do for my career.”

When working at ACCION International, a major microfinance technical-assistance agency, Paris-Buchy met Moore School alumna Melissa Lumpkin, who told her about the IMBA program.

“When I found out I could do both the Peace Corps and graduate school at one of the top IMBA programs in the country, I knew I had found the right program,” she said. “I’m hoping that my time abroad will enable me to help people, while setting the stage for a NGO career, hopefully in microfinance. I want to help people help themselves out of poverty.”

Bennett said he isn’t sure what to expect but is sure it will be challenging and rewarding.

“I definitely think the service [Peace Corps] will challenge me physically, emotionally and intellectually, while helping me build skills and ideas that will help me later on as I go into a profession,” Bennett said. “I think the service will teach me how to be resilient, flexible and open-minded, all of which I will be able to use to help whatever organization I work with when I graduate the IMBA program.”

When Bennett and Paris-Buchy return to the Moore School, they will finish their fourth and final year, taking coursework in their areas of concentration.

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 03/22/11 @ 3:55 PM | Updated: 10/13/11 @ 1:59 PM | Permalink