The firm's initiative designed to help young people from diverse backgrounds in the U.K. pursue careers in the financial industry continues to grow and thrive.
One spring day in 2021, 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. The scholarship, part of an initiative the firm had launched that February, provides tuition assistance and career-development support for up to 25 U.K. students a year who are 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 each received a grant totaling £10,000 towards tuition fees and living costs while at university, as well as 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.
Last summer, we welcomed Mahir and 24 other Future Generation Scholars to our internship program, the next step in their journey with the firm. In preparation, each scholar was paired with a dedicated mentor and was also invited to participate in tailored training and networking opportunities.
The Future Generation Scholarship Program is one in a series of diversity initiatives championed and funded by Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Inclusion, which was established in November 2020 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 and followed the launch 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 within Diversity and Inclusion in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Adds David Cantillon, EMEA Head of Institutional Equity and Co-Chair of the Future Generation Scholarship initiative, “I am very excited about this program, as human capital remains our most important asset. The early identification and support of a diverse talent base is critical to our future success.”
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 getting ahead. “Having a successful career in finance must not be dependent on already knowing people in this industry," says Jessica Alsford, Chief Sustainability Officer, CEO of the Institute for Sustainable Investing and Co-Chair of the Future Generation Scholarship. "We can help to level the playing field by providing support and mentorship to a broader range of students, giving them a safe space in which to ask questions and seek guidance."
Mahir hopes to find just that sort of career success 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.