Our Story

1963

Our story begins in New York in 1963. Inner city kids from underprivileged backgrounds face limited opportunities and, often, underperforming school systems. Students look for role models and support to achieve their aspirations.

New Yorker Michael Osheowitz is committed to the vision that ambition and intelligence – not zip codes or skin colour – should determine who succeeds. At age 24, he founds Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) as a mentoring programme to help underserved students gain admission to competitive colleges and universities.

1963
1980

1980

SEO New York launches the Career Programme, the first summer internship programme for under-represented college students on Wall Street. In a pioneering diversity initiative, eleven summer interns are placed at five investment banks.

 

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2000

SEO London is founded by SEO New York Career alumnus, Andrew Fairbairn. Andrew moves to London with a leading investment bank and witnesses the same opportunity to increase workplace diversity using the SEO New York model. That summer, 7 interns start at 5 major investment banks.

Today

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In the UK

SEO London’s scale has increased significantly across its three flagship programmes, SEO Careers, SEO Scholars and SEO Connect.

SEO London’s Careers Programme partners with over 50 sponsor firms across eight leading industries and has supported several thousand alumni into internships and graduate roles since 2000.

SEO Scholars provided hundreds of students with comprehensive training, mentoring and work experience.

SEO Connect connects our outstanding professionals with experienced job opportunities not just in the UK, but also Africa and Asia.

In the US

In the US

SEO USA is considered one of the most innovative and successful educational, career training and professional development programmes for high school and college students of colour in America. SEO USA’s Career Programme now has over 12,000 alumni and supports students into leading industries such as consulting, investment banking and corporate law.

SEO USA’s founding program, is now SEO Scholars, a rigorous eight-year out-of-school academic program that begins in the 9th grade and continues through college graduation.

SEO Africa

Internationally

Driven by SEO alumni leadership, the SEO movement is growing across the globe, with the establishment of SEO Africa, SEO China and SEO Vietnam.

The Team

Andrew Fairbairn

Chief Executive Officer & Founder, SEO London

SEO New York Class of: 1995

Qualifications: BA Economics at Stanford University, MA International Development Policy at Stanford University.

Professional Experience: Managing Principal at Fairbairn Ventures, Founding Partner at JVKelly Group Inc., Vice President at Deutsche Bank.

Top career tip: Trusted relationships matter.  Develop mentors, sponsors and protégés as you develop your skills and experience and you'll be amazed at how far you can go.

 

Ben Okolie

Finance Business Partner

Coming Soon!

Dumi Senda

Talent Manager & Media Lead

Qualifications: BA International Relations & Peace Studies at Leeds Beckett University, MSc African Studies at University of Oxford.

Professional Experience: Internationally recognised Diversity & Inclusion expert, with over a decade of experience working with International organisations such as the UN as well as grassroots organisations on strategies and frameworks for racial, ethnic, gender and other forms of equality. Motivational speaker, Author and Award-winning Poet.

Top career tip: When you have reached your comfort zone, put a stone in your shoe and grow!

Heather Poel

Head of Personnel, Alumni and Volunteers

Qualifications: BA History of Art at University of Kent.

Professional Experience: Intern & teacher at Sotheby’s, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at IC Bilbao Academy.

Top career tip: Learn how to ask questions properly. Asking the right questions to the right people will get you a long way.

 

Namrata Shanbhag

Director of Operations and Schools Programme

Qualifications: BA Mathematics at Mount Holyoke College, BE Bio-medical Engineering at Dartmouth College, USA.

Professional Experience: Programme Manager at SEO London, Associate at Goldman Sachs.

Top career tip: Build relationships!

Joel Summers

Schools and Projects Manager

Qualifications: MA English Literature, University of Glasgow; PGCE Secondary English, UCL Institute of Education; MTeach, UCL Institute of Education

Professional Experience: 4 years spent teaching English in secondary schools in London, teaching English as a foreign language in China, IT Support in pharmaceuticals and running a small tutoring business.

Top career tip: No job opportunity can be too small and no professional experience can be wasted time!

 

Tracey Abayeta

Programme Manager, Investment Banking & Asset Management

SEO London Class of: 2007

Qualifications: BA Economics with French at University of Nottingham.

Professional Experience: Debt Capital Markets at Citi.

Top career tip: Use university as a platform to develop your talents and discover both your strengths and weaknesses. A career is a journey and not a destination so be open, speak to lots of people and seek professional opportunities that will stretch and interest you, as well as expand your network.

Fola Oginni

Programme Co-ordinator, Investment Banking & Asset Management

SEO London Class of: 2017

Qualifications: LLB Law at University of Hertfordshire, Diploma in Professional Skills at University of Hertfordshire

Professional Experience: Project Manager at VNV Live Limited, School Student Representative Organiser at University of Hertfordshire.

Top career tip: Pursue excellence and success will naturally follow.

 

Jane Okechukwu

Programme Co-ordinator, Investment Banking & Asset Management

Qualifications: BSc International Relations at Covenant University, MSc International Financial Management at University of Surrey.

Professional Experience: Fixed Income and Equities Sales Analyst at CardinalStone Partners, Product Owner and QA Analyst at Fourth.

Top career tip: Build strong relationships and learn from every experience.

Chang Yate Tan

Programme Manager, Corporates, Engineering & Consulting

SEO London Class of: 2005

Qualifications: BSc Economics at London School of Economics.

Professional Experience: Structured Credit Trading Associate at Lehman Brothers, Front Office Risk Management VP at Nomura.

Top career tip: Networking is key - build your network early on and don’t be afraid to ask for help – if you never ask, the answer will always be no.

 

Charles Holton

Programme Co-ordinator, Corporates & Consulting

 

Qualifications: BM K-12 Instrumental Music Education and Performance, University of St. Thomas Aquinas

Professional Experience: Closing the achievement gap as a School Success Advocate in Portland Public Schools, Designing and implementing extended-day/extended-year co-curricular programmes connecting students with university and career possibilities, recent Return Peace Corps Volunteer serving in the Youth Development sector in Morocco.

Top career tip: Build relationships and build empathy.

Dillan Vyas

Programme Co-ordinator, Engineering, Corporates and Consulting

QualificationsBSc Business and Management studies, Sussex University 

Professional Experience: Work experience with Investec in London. Worked for an export, import company in multiple cities in China, including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

Top career tip:  Hard work leads to success. 

Julie Quist-Therson

Programme Manager, Corporate Law and City Solicitors Horizons

Qualifications: BA Hons French with Linguistics, King’s College, University of London; LLM International Economic Law with Justice and Development, Birkbeck College, University of London.

Professional Experience: Project Coordinator and Caseworker with the UKBA and UNHCR Gateway Project, Recruitment Consultant at third sector recruitment specialists Harris Hill, sourcing talent and undertaking projects to and beyond set targets.

Top career tip: Strive for excellence, be yourself and be open to bold new opportunities.

 

Meredith Hughes

Programme Co-ordinator, Corporate Law and City Solicitors Horizons

Qualifications: BA Music at Oxford University, Dip. ABRSM (Piano) 

Professional Experience: Experienced semi-professional orchestral player (Oboe), Nightline Association EddiRegional Conference Events Assistant

Top career tip: Put yourself out there. Never be too afraid to ask for help or opportunities - enthusiasm looks great to potential employers. Even if they say no, they may remember you for the future.  

Asher Iduoze

Programme Co-ordinator, Corporate Law

SEO London Class of: 2017

Qualifications: Law LLB at Queen Mary University.

Professional Experience: Customer Services Executive for boutique loan company, Mayer Brown Vacation Scheme, Future Dentons Trainee Solicitor.

Top Career Tip: Rejection is inevitable, but if you resolve in yourself that you are going to make a career happen, then a job offer becomes just as inevitable.

The Board

Michael Osheowitz

Founder of SEO & Chairman Emeritus

Qualifications: Middlebury College

Professional Experience: Chairman Emeritus at Edwin Gould Foundation, President at Arthur Schmidt & Associates Inc.

Randolph Sesson Jr.

Chairman of the Board of SEO London, Managing Partner at Blackbird Capital Partners

SEO New York Class of: 1984

Qualifications: BA History at Yale University and MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Professional Experience: Head of European Transportation/Senior Advisor at Evercore, Managing Director and Head of European Transportation and Infrastructure, Investment Banking Division at Morgan Stanley, Managing Director and Head of European Transportation, Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs.

Top Career Tip: Relationships are everything. People who know you and like you, will help you. Get to know your junior and senior colleagues as they will become your best mentors.

Mutuma Marangu

Director, SEO London, Investor in Natural Resources

SEO New York Class of: 1983

Qualifications: Phil Economics & Politics of Development at Cambridge University, MBA at Wharton Business School. 

Professional Experience: Financial Analyst at Morgan Stanley, Commodity Trader at Phillip Bros Inc, Market Analyst at Glencore.

Zoe Ashcroft

Director, SEO London, Founding Partner and Head of Corporate & Finance, Winston & Strawn LLP

Qualifications: Bristol University (LLB Hons) at College of Law Guildford, Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England & Wales, Solicitor of the High Court of Hong Kong.

Professional Experience: Partner and member of the Global Executive Committee at Winston & Strawn LLP, Trustee at The Climate Group (not-for-profit), Partner and Head of Business & Finance London at Morgan, Lewis and Bockius LLP, Associate at Turner Kenneth Brown (London and Hong Kong).

Top Career Tip:  Seek out and absorb as broad an experience as you can. Think internationally, think laterally and always thank people for their efforts. 
 

Ausaf Abbas

Director, SEO London

SEO New York Class of: 1983 

Qualifications: BSc Economics at London School of Economics, MSc Economics at London School of Economics.

Professional Experience: Managing Director at Coombe Advisors, Head of Sales and Marketing at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Head of the EMEA Global Private Client group at Merrill Lynch.

Nishi Somaiya

Director, SEO London, Partner at Goldman Sachs

SEO London Class of: 2000

Qualifications: BA Politics, Philosophy & Economics at Oxford University, CFA.

Professional Experience: Partner and Head of Private Capital at Goldman Sachs.

Mohit K. Agarwal

Director SEO London, Chief Risk & Strategy Officer at Plutos Sama LLC, MD at Distressed Capital Management

SEO London Class of: 2000

Qualifications: BA & MEng Information Engineering at Cambridge University, CFA.

Professional Experience: Chief Risk & Strategy Officer at Plutos Sama LLC, Managing Director at Distressed Capital Management, Director at Deutsche Bank. Previously at UBS and JPMorgan.  

The Alumni Advisory Board

Join the team

If you are interested in working for our organisation, or volunteering with one of our programmes, please email us at: info@seo-london.org.

To find out more about opportunities to volunteer, mentor, or become a sponsor firm, click here

Contact us

Students, alumni, firms, volunteers and donors we would love to hear from you.

If you are a SEO Candidate or potential Candidate please check our FAQs or contact us via your Careers team:                  


For enquiries concerning SEO Scholars:  


For enquiries concerning SEO Connect:


For all other enquiries: