Brilliant Doctor Beat 7,947 Contestants To Win Coveted Scholarship, Then Ditched Medical Practice to Sell Perfumes

by Gee NY
Kedei Ibiang

Kedei Ibiang, a 27-year-old Nigerian, achieved remarkable success in 2022 by winning one of the coveted Mandela Washington Fellowships amidst fierce competition.

Hailing from Nigeria, Ibiang triumphed over 7,947 applicants to secure one of the 56 spots for the prestigious 2022 Mandela Washington Fellowship.

Taking to her LinkedIn profile to share her achievement, Ibiang expressed her excitement upon arriving at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the United States.

She revealed her readiness to join her fellow scholars from The University of Georgia, Atlanta, marking a significant milestone in her academic journey.

Before her remarkable feat, Ibiang earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Calabar in Nigeria.

She further pursued her academic aspirations by enrolling in various Diploma programs at esteemed institutions like Copenhagen University in Denmark, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the University of Washington in the United States.

In her announcement about winning the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Ibiang conveyed her gratitude and pride, stating:

“I arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as part of 56 Fellows chosen from Nigeria for the 2022 Mandela Washington Fellowship, out of over 8,000 applications received and about 180 semi-finalists interviewed.”

Despite her impressive background in medicine and public health, Ibiang made a surprising career shift shortly after winning the fellowship.

Opting to explore entrepreneurship, she ventured into the business of selling fragrances and scented candles, departing from her clinical practice.

Detailing her daily routine in her newfound entrepreneurial endeavor, Ibiang shared insights into her workflow with the online news platform, Zikoko.

Beginning her day at 7 a.m., she dedicates time to checking social media platforms and responding to customer inquiries. Subsequently, she focuses on packaging orders within Abuja, ensuring prompt delivery to customers.

For interstate orders, she collaborates with a delivery company to facilitate efficient shipping processes.

“When I started using perfumes around 2006, I discovered that I couldn’t use most sprays because my mum and I are asthmatic. I had respiratory allergies myself, which meant that the alcohol in perfumes choked me. The best I could use were roll-ons and body mists because of their lower alcohol content. Even then, I would run into the bathroom, spray whatever I needed to spray while pinching my nose shut, and run back into the room, slamming the bathroom door shut so I wouldn’t inhale the spray. Wild times.

“But in 2017, I decided to look for non-alcoholic alternatives that are non-toxic and hypoallergenic. My search led me to start Kay’s Perfumery the following year. I eventually Then I expanded my product line to producing and selling scented candles, diffusers and room sprays. I also formulate fragrances once in a while,” she told Zikoko.

Her perfume-making process starts with contacting her supplier in Dubai: once every three or four months, she sends her supplier a list of fragrances she need, and they conclude on the quantity, sizes and pricing.

While her career trajectory may have taken an unexpected turn, Ibiang’s entrepreneurial journey exemplifies the versatility and resilience of individuals pursuing their passions.

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