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.
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.
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.
SEO London launches the Schools programme to serve high achieving year 11-13 pupils from low socio-economic backgrounds. The Schools programme broadens students’ horizons through access to academic, professional and enrichment opportunities.
SEO London launches the Connect platform to support SEO Careers alumni and like-minded professionals as they progress their careers, through providing experienced hiring opportunities.
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
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.
Driven by SEO alumni leadership, the SEO movement is growing across the globe, with the establishment of SEO Africa, SEO China and SEO Vietnam.