WHO WE ARE
Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, Ltd (SEO London) is a UK-registered charity delivering superior educational, training, and mentoring support to young people from underrepresented and underserved backgrounds. SEO London programmes cover the entire cycle of professional development, from pre-professional training to career access and long-term success within global industries. In our virtual circle, SEO London alumni become mentors and trainers, passing on their industry experience to the next generation of students.
Our story began in New York in 1963, when Michael Osheowitz founded Sponsors for Educational Opportunity Inc as a mentoring programme to help students from New York city secondary schools gain admission to competitive colleges and universities. The motto was then and still remaining that ambition and intelligence – not post codes or skin colour – should determine who succeeds in society.
That year, 60 years ago, the first summer internship career programme for underrepresented college students began on Wall Street. In a pioneering diversity initiative, eleven students got internships at five investment banks. By 1980 SEO New York had broadened its approach to involve internship and alumni programming and expanded across the United States.
In 2000, one of those SEO New York Career alumni, Andrew Fairbairn, who had studied at Stanford University, moved to London with a leading investment bank and witnessed the same situation, the same needs and, crucially, the opportunity to increase workplace diversity using the SEO New York model.
Our Career programme started, and we began our work with university students helping them to gain the necessary skills to excel at a job interview, land an internship, or get a full-time job. That very summer the first seven university students from the newly launched Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, Ltd (SEO London) started their internships at five major investment banks in the City of London.
In 2012, SEO London launched its Schools programme to inspire and serve high-achieving year 11-13 pupils, give them the chance to explore their options and make informed choices about their future.
In 2013, SEO Alumni – then called SEO Connect– was launched, supporting SEO alumni once they enter the professional life.
Over 20,000 diverse students are registered with one or more of SEO London’s programmes: Investment Banking and Asset Management, Alternative Investments, HerCapital, Corporate Law, City Solicitors Horizons, Commercial Real Estate, Consulting, Corporates and Technology and Insurance.
Students benefit from sponsorship and engagement opportunities with over 120 world-class firms in these industries. Our programmes provide comprehensive training, tutoring, coaching, mentoring, and direct access to professionals in the industry through an intense calendar of events, workshops, webinars, assessment support and work experience to prepare them for the world of work.
Thousands of SEO London alumni work in global organisations; many of them holding senior leadership positions.
Our SEO London Alumni platforms connect them and support their professional growth through seminars, life-long learning and networking, jobs boards and professional and volunteer opportunities.
Since its launch, SEO London has faithfully delivered its mission to provide individuals from underserved and underrepresented backgrounds with access and opportunity to fulfil their professional potential and, consequently, create a more equal society.
Although we know that there is work to do, SEO London proudly celebrates these two decades of transformative leadership for more diverse and inclusive workplaces.
We will continue working tirelessly with talented young people with the potential to thrive in top industries, connecting them with the firms that are looking for them.
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