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10,000 Black Interns: Olusola's story

22 October 2021
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Olusola Okocha, Research Analyst Intern

This Black History Month, we hear from Olusola Okocha, an intern from 10,000 Black Interns, a programme set up in 2020 which aims to tackle the under-representation of black business leaders in the UK.

“I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, to American and Nigerian parents and I went to school there until I was nine. I came to the UK for school and eventually university, where I studied Law at the University of Edinburgh. I had reservations about practising, but I’d always had an interest in finance, and internships in my final year and after graduation developed this further. I went on to Imperial College London to study a Masters in Management.

I came across 10,000 Black Interns at Imperial College Business School. As the Strategic Partnerships Director of the Africa Business Club, part of my job was to identify these kinds of opportunities for our members. When I came across this programme, I thought I would apply too. The focus at the time was on the investment management sector, which was something I was very interested in pursuing a career in. Since then, the focus of the organisation has expanded out to other sectors – from media and the arts, to technology and not-for-profit.

The guidance 10,000 Black Interns provided in the aftermath of my application was unrivalled. Two or three times a week, we had workshops or talks from senior executives at wealth management firms or investment banks, who spoke about the industry and shared insights on how to land a role in the sector. And, once I had secured the role, the help and guidance in the lead-up to the start of my internship was extremely helpful. They were in constant contact with me and assigned me a mentor - a black professional working in financial services. I had the pleasure of having a brilliant mentor who works at Legal & General. It was great knowing she was there to help me with anything I needed, particularly at the start of my internship, and it allowed me to gain a contact in the City of London who I can lean on for advice.

The organisation has a very personal touch and really cares about their applicants, constantly checking in on how our interviews are going or just to provide support. They made sure we were equipped with the knowledge we needed - by sharing insights from black industry professionals, we learned about their own experiences in the industry and how we could make an impact during our internships. For people less familiar with wealth management, they had talks to explain the industry in more depth.

With 10,000 Black Interns, it’s been much easier to secure an interview and internship than through other recruitment processes I’ve been through. They went above and beyond to support us.

Personally, Black History Month is so important, particularly for educational purposes and inclusivity. In my opinion, that was one of the best outcomes of the Black Lives Matter protests that swept across the world last year and still continues. People are more open to talking about racial issues or educating themselves through the variety of resources that are out there.”

LGT Vestra is proud to support 10,000 Black Interns, which aims to transform the horizons and prospects of young black people in the UK by offering paid work experience. Find out more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion here.

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