The first six students—with an additional 19 joining them later this year—have been chosen to participate in our new program designed to help young people from diverse backgrounds in the U.K. pursue careers in the financial industry.
One day this past April, Mahir, a 19-year old student at University College London, saw an unknown number pop up on his mobile screen. The mystery caller turned out to be a Morgan Stanley campus recruiter reaching out to offer him a Future Generation Scholarship, part of an initiative the firm launched in February to provide tuition assistance and career-development support for up to 25 U.K. students a year from ethnic minority and/or socially mobile backgrounds.
“I was close to tears,” recalls Mahir, who had applied to the newly launched program a few weeks earlier after attending two previous introductory finance programs hosted by the firm. “The Scholarship will take away the financial struggle and allow me to solely focus on my university studies.”
Mahir and the other Future Generations Scholars will each receive a grant totaling £10,000 towards tuition fees and living costs while at university, as well as a dedicated Morgan Stanley mentor, a professional support network and other personalized career guidance. It all represents the firm’s commitment to a multiyear investment of more than £1 million to support the advancement of diverse U.K. students as part of its overall program to attract and recruit more diverse talent.
Beginning next summer, Mahir will intern in the Investment Banking Division in London, with the hope of launching his career at the firm. He is one of six students in the scholarship program’s inaugural cohort; 19 additional recipients will be offered a chance to join the firm in either its London or Glasgow office by the end of 2021, having previously been accepted into the firm’s Summer Analyst or Industrial Placement programs.
The Future Generation Scholarship Program is the latest in a series of diversity initiatives championed and funded by Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Inclusion, which was established last November to support underserved communities and drive workplace diversity and inclusion, among other equality-driven goals. The program is the firm’s first aimed at diverse university students in Europe. It comes on the heels of the Morgan Stanley HBCU Scholars Program, which supports students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the U.S. “We hope to ignite the career aspirations of underrepresented and/or disadvantaged groups by addressing specific factors that may impede their application and career outcomes, such as socio-economic and racial disparity,” says Katrina Hayes, an Executive Director and Head of Campus Recruitment in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Adds David Russell, Global Co-Head of Institutional Equities and Co-Chair of the Future Generation Scholarship initiative, “This program could be a gamechanger for so many students who may be financially burdened by life at university and uncertain about their career prospects.”
Indeed, the goal of the program is to give students more than just financial support, and that includes the kind of personal connections that can make all the difference in establishing a successful career. “Mentorship and sustained support is critical, especially for students with little to no prior knowledge of the financial sector,” says Arun Kohli, Chief Operating Officer for EMEA, and the other Co-Chair of the Future Generation Scholarship initiative. Kohli knows from personal experience just how important such connections can be—and how hard it can be to make them for those from disadvantaged backgrounds—recalling the hurdles he faced pursuing a career in finance. “Advice from experienced professionals was invaluable when I could not get that guidance from family and friends,” he says. “I would not be where I am today without the support of my professional network, especially during the most crucial decision-making moments of my career."
Mahir hopes to find similar success one day working at Morgan Stanley, and he is counting on the Future Generations Scholarship to pave the way. “I can’t wait to see where it takes me,” he says.