SMBP Alumni Committee
The Alumni Advisory Committee is formed of SMBP alumni students from across the UK with varied career interests. They work alongside the SMBP team to increase students’ engagement and experience during their WISE programme.
Tenishia Prah, Class of 2018
“I took part in the SMBP programme in 2018 with the Birmingham cluster. I gained insight into ITV’s and Barclays’ in-house legal teams. I was also able to see the intersection of law and media at ITV, and law and finance with Barclays. This helped me understand the role law played in both sectors. The programme also enabled me to build competency and soft skills. This was through team working activities at Deutsche Bank and at the SRA. These helped me with communication, problem-solving, presentation, and negotiation skills. One of the most impactful days was the Resilience Day with Wasps. The sessions that they led focussed on internal development and self-management. They used real-life scenarios to teach us about the impact of too much stress and how to manage our emotions. I gained more confidence in knowing how to handle myself under pressure as they gave me a toolkit to refer to. It was very empowering. I am now using the lessons and skills that I learnt on the programme to complete my undergraduate Law degree and on the Bar Training Course studying to become a barrister.”
Stefan Nikolov, Class of 2019
“Hi I’m Stefan, and I completed the SMBP Work Insights and Skills Week in August 2019 in London. Throughout the week I engaged in interactive workshops which helped me develop my skills. With Latham & Watkins I developed my ability to appreciate the viewpoints of others while debating, as well as present my line of argument in a clear manner. With ING, I participated in a negotiation exercise that enhanced my skill of employing a persuasive tone of voice. Whilst with Fuse, I cooperated in a team exercise that bestowed me with the confidence to present an idea in front of a group. I developed my leadership skills with Google in an exercise where I proposed a new phone application to developers. During my Resilience Day at Harlequins, I engaged in various team-building exercises which further ensured that I was confident was tasked with working in a team.I studied Law at the University of Manchester, and I graduated in July 2023. In the course of my degree, I had the opportunity to complete various work experiences such as mini-pupillages, internships at PR agencies, and legal placements. I’m currently seeking to pursue a career in policy or PR/Marketing.”
Tara Waldman, Class of 2019
“My journey in law started back in high school where I completed the young lawyer programme and an insight into law scheme at a firm in Manchester. I then joined college and started studying law as an A-Level and fell in love with the subject. I moved to London and unfortunately had to switch courses, so I chose subjects that paired nicely with law while also being enjoyable. In 2019 I took part in SMBP’s Work Insight Programme and have never looked back. During my time with SMBP I gained more than just a simple insight into the field I chose as my career. I gained friends, networking contacts, insights to different pathways, different methods, opportunities, and so much more. The SMBP week changed the trajectory of my life as I knew it. While one door closed, the week opened an unbelievable amount of new doors that would never have been possible without it. Since the SMBP, I have partaken in various law opportunities have which only solidified my choice to study law and become a lawyer. I now study both English and Scots law in Scotland where I am also a member of my universities law clinic, too. I am looking to qualify as an English solicitor in England and work within the corporate law sphere.”
Kerry Lewis, Class of 2019
“Now in my final year studying law at the University of Nottingham, I attended SMBP’s Bristol Cluster in 2019. The week really helped me kick-start my career journey, bolster my CV and develop crucial employability skills. For example, interviewers are always really interested to hear about my experiences with household names such as Yeo Valley, ITV and BT. This has helped me stand out in application processes and enabled me to secure various work experience opportunities with city law firms and governmental departments. Additionally, the confidence I developed in professional environments throughout the week helped me perform my best in interviews, networking events and during work experience placements. SMBP has been invaluable in helping me overcome the imposter syndrome I once had in professional settings and I now feel confident in pursuing my career goals.”
Chloe Taylor, Class of 2019
“I am a final year LLB Corporate Law student at Salford University. I’m originally from Wolverhampton but was fortunate enough to live in Spain for five years. I am dyslexic and the first person in my family to go to university. I aspire to be a Commercial Lawyer in the City and I am interested in Banking and Finance and M&A. I am particularly passionate about improving social mobility in the legal sector. Alongside my position on the SMBP Alumni Committee, I am part of the PRIME Commitment Alumni board regularly contributing ideas about how to improve diversity in the legal sector. I have also completed vacation schemes at Clifford Chance and Herbert Smith Freehills.”
Megan Fisher, Class of 2020
“I attended the SMBP Work Insight & Skills week in 2020 in Bradford and so far it has been a huge help on my path towards a finance career. The skills I picked up have been so essential to what I have achieved since: a lot more confidence, planning, self-branding and teamwork! Since doing the programme, I have started a degree in Economics at University College London, joined a Muay Thai club, worked in a Blockchain advisory, bagged a summer internship in Global Markets at a top financial group, and undertaken a year-long placement at Capital Economics. I have also been a member of the SMBP Alumni Advisory Committee for the last 2 years which has given me my first experiences in a board meeting and shooting a promo video! I am incredibly grateful to give a little back to the charity, and make the SMBP programme the best it can be for as many students as possible.”
Julia Gadek, Class of 2021
“I am currently a Year 13 student at BHASVIC college in Brighton studying A level History, English Literature and Language, Polish, and Textiles. I’m also a part-time Teaching Assistant at the Polish Saturday School, and a Scout General Leader where I’m working towards being trained in health and safety, and child management.
This year, I will sit my Level 2 exam for Fundamentals in Financial Services with the help of sponsors from CISI, and finish my Catalyst Education program lessons. I will also begin my first year of University studying Law, and aim to continue working with the charity Energywise which will hopefully revive in the summer. My aims are to gain connections within the Legal and Finance industry so that I can apply for summer vacation schemes and internships to gain insight and experience, and to learn how my studies can be implemented into a career.”
Gursimran Singh, Class of 2022
“My journey with SMBP started in my 2022 October half-term holidays in sixth form when I completed the SMBP work insight and skills week in the Coventry & Rugby cluster. During the week, I was able to listen to a very encouraging resilience talk, followed by the opportunity to spend a day at various businesses such as; RAF, Meggitt, MTC, Aviva Investors, and Squire Patton Boggs. At RAF, I took part in various team-building exercises, which helped me connect with my peers and learn the strength of networking. MTC and Meggitt helped me explore my career options as I came to know that even in STEM-focused companies, there are various business and legal roles available. Finally, with Squire Patton Boggs, I came to know of a career in commercial law, the various routes into it, and what it takes to get there. This week really helped me solidify my career goals and opened up new routes for me, helping me to diversify my career options. I am currently on a gap year, looking to add to my work experience while working full-time. I aim to commence an undergraduate law degree in 2024 and one day qualify as a solicitor in a commercial law setting. Finally, this journey that I started in 2022 with SMBP has been continuous, as I am now a member of the Alumni Advisory Committee, and I look forward to working with the organisation and contributing to its growth and prosperity as much as possible.”
Aliyah Nadeem, Class of 2022
“My name is Aliyah Nadeem and took part in the SMBP insight week in partnership with Ashurst in Summer 2022. After taking part in the insight week, I applied to be an ambassador to chaperone for 2023 cluster and then joined the Advisory Alumni Committee in August.
During sixth form I studied Criminology, Media and Sport and now currently in my first year studying Law at the University of Westminster. I hope to qualify in the future as a solicitor working in Sports Law. During my free time I play for my county netball team and I also have my own small business baking cakes and cookies which is something I love doing! “
Daisy Wu, Class of 2022
“My name is Daisy Wu and I completed SMBP in 2022 in Bristol. My journey began with a small footnote at the bottom of a rejection email saying I didn’t make it into a programme I applied to but I would be perfect for an alternative programme. And they were right, I flourished with SMBP. I went from an attendee to an ambassador and then I made it into the Alumni Advisory Committee. During 6th form, I studied History, Sociology, Criminology, and EPQ and I am now a first year History student at the University of Nottingham. Career wise, I want to wait until I graduate to think about the path I want to take and what speciality in law I want to go into but I have attended a work experience week at Burges Salmon and completed two online law workshops. My personal goal is to speak more than 7 languages, become a lawyer; I also want to visit a lot of different countries. For hobbies, I like learning about history, my favourite topic to study is contemporary East Asia and I like knitting. Sports-wise, I love muay thai, ever since I picked it up as an alternative to kickboxing.”
Aqila Rafa, Class of 2022
“I took part in the SMBP work insights week in 2022 in partnership with the Access Ashurst programme. Within this week, I was able to visit the likes of Uber, Amazon, Nomura and Paramount pictures and was fortunate enough to be able to speak to the legal teams within these large businesses. SMBP enabled me to explore the various facets of the law and the different career paths available within this sector as they are not just exclusive to being a solicitor or barrister. It was because of SMBP that I had greater confidence when applying to university and proceeding with applications which would help me progress closer towards my goals. Having witnessed myself the transformative effect this programme can have on student’s lives, I then decided to return back as a chaperone in 2023 and have now joined the AAC. During my time at Sixth form I studied Economics, History and Religious studies and successfully obtained an offer from the University of Cambridge! Currently, I am on a gap year volunteering and hoping to study there next year. In my free time I love travelling and taking part in adrenaline seeking activities and I cannot wait to see what comes next in my journey!”
Fateha Jesmi, Class of 2022
“In the summer of 2022, I completed the Social Mobility Business Partnership Work Insight and Skills week. I visited various companies such as BT, The Crown Estate, AIG, Lloyd’s of London and Barclays! It was so incredible to see the different routes into law and how many pathways exist. The week taught me lots about teamwork and communication and was very informative. The SMBP week helped me decide whether I wanted to pursue law or psychology. I later on become a SMBP Ambassador, which helped me gain confidence in public speaking.
I am currently a first-year undergraduate studying Psychology at Goldsmith University of London. I have joined the newspaper team in my university, and I write articles which get published weekly. I have also volunteered at charity events to support ‘Lonely Orphans’.
Now I am officially a member of the Alumni Advisory Committee for SMBP! I look forward to all the new opportunities being SMBP Alumni committee member brings me!”
Vanessa Uweru, Class of 2022
“As I participated in the SMBP work experience of 2022, it opened a multitude of opportunities for me and I was able to step into doors that I never thought existed: being provided exclusive insights to visit established organisations that focus on diverse career paths, meeting professionals in the field of law, business and accounting and visiting big name offices such as Manchester United, ITV, Boohoo plc, PWC and Squire Patton Boggs.
I had the chance to recognise the work that is conducted day-to-day and also experience them firsthand by indulging in thought-provoking activities.
During the great journey of being an ambassador and chaperone, i was invited to interview for the role as an Alumni and to join the advisory board. I gladly applied as i was committed to this impactful organisation and eager to contribute to the influence by sharing my ideas and feedback to what could be improved. I am now seated as an alumni and I look forward to incorporating my visions and ideas to create a fundamental change in careers and students’ confidence as some become the first generation in their family to attend University.”
Ibrahim Alom, Class of 2022
“During my time as a student on the SMBP Programme, I had the unique opportunity to explore various professional realms, including visits to Arsenal, TUI, Warner Music, M&S, and the Department for Work and Pensions. These diverse work experiences played a pivotal role in shaping my career aspirations, solidifying my determination to pursue a legal path by providing me with a breadth of legal experience distinct from my previous endeavours.
As well as being an AAC member, I am a first year History and Politics student at LSE. Balancing these commitments is a challenge by I am dedicated to giving back to the SMBP that helped me realise my aspirations.”
Fiona Berhe, Class of 2022
“I completed the London SMBP insight week in the summer of 2022, visiting Arsenal, Google, Kingston Upon Thames local council, ITV, Osbourne Clarke and King and Spalding. Where I was for the first time able to practice skills, I never had the opportunity to do so before, for instance pitching at Google, negotiating with ITV and Osborne Clarke and presenting ideas at Kingston Upon Thames local council.
I then followed with the Ambassador programme shortly after that, volunteering myself to be a chaperone for the 2023 SMBP Insight week, and I found it really interesting and eye-opening being able to have both the student and the staff perspective, particularly all the work that goes into it. I joined the Ambassador programme which helped embrace my fear in public speaking and engaging with new people and to develop those vital skills, imperative for a professional workplace.
During that time, I was completing my A-level studies, studying Law, Economics and History and I now study at the University of Exeter. “
Isabella Isufi, Class of 2022
“I completed the SMBP week in 2022, where I visited Arsenal, ITV, Kingston Council, Google and King & Spalding. It was great to learn about each business and also the opportunities they had for legal careers. This motivated me to pursue a legal career and I am now currently studying law at King’s College London! Taking part in the SMBP week has already given me plenty of opportunities to advancing my career, from gaining unique work experience to being a finalist in the Scholarship programme offered in partnership with Squire Patton Boggs. I am now part of the Alumni Advisory Committee where I have the opportunity to mentor students and advance Social Mobility further, something which I am very passionate about coming from a low-income background.”
Amna Farooq, Class of 2022
“Having completed the SMBP Programme in 2022, I’m very grateful for the invaluable skills that it taught me, and the amazing opportunities that it opened up for me, including my role as an Ambassador, and now an AAC member. In sixth form, I studied History, Chemistry, and Psychology; I am now in my 2nd year at the University of Cambridge, specialising in Sociology. Unsurprisingly, my course has made me an ever-stronger advocate for social mobility. Therefore, I aim to work with the charity to constantly improve the SMBP experience for the incoming students, but – more importantly – to share with them what I personally gained from my own SMBP experience.”
Harisah Malik, Class of 2022
“In 2022, I joined SMBP as a participant while studying Law, Sociology, and Business Studies at Sixth Form as part of the Northwest Cluster. I joined SMBP to gain work experience after the pandemic. Through my visits to Manchester United, Adidas, BUPA, and Squire Patton Boggs, I gained a number of useful insights regarding negotiation, resilience, and problem solving, which will be useful for my future career aspirations as a barrister. The program was a great experience for me and I was fortunate to apply for, and receive the SMBP Alumni and Squire Patton Boggs scholarship after graduation. I am now studying law at the University of Liverpool during my first year of studies. The experience I gained as an ambassador and student of the program in 2023 has helped shape the mindset and skill set I possess today. My participation in the program has provided me with numerous opportunities. I would recommend the program to anyone who is struggling to find work experience, or is unsure of their career.”
Here’s what others had to say - SMBP
I took part in various tasks and activities throughout the week working with companies such as BNY Mellon, Simply Business and Dow Jones. I learnt about capital markets, the people that are involved in businesses and how they run, how to gain commercial awareness and what competencies I can improve on before applying for jobs...some of these competencies included teamwork & leadership and communication, both of which I feel I have really improved on during the week.Bailey Coates
Every day was amazing, I enjoyed the insight I discovered from different businesses that held the 5 sessions. I loved meeting new people on the course and employees at the companies...I don’t think anything could have been improved, regardless of it being run on Zoom...I recommend this to every student that wants to gather business insight or just wants to expand their knowledge.Millie Smith
I’ve learnt about different job roles and also about resilience, coping under pressure, breathing and the fight or flight response. I also learnt about methods to use when applying for a job such as the STAR framework. I would recommend this experience to a friend as it was helpful and it gave me skills I could use in the future.Saida Poci
I did sessions with Collins Aerospace, Mishcon de Reya, Flex, PwC and Cleartrack Performance. Obviously with Coronavirus, I don’t think anyone expected the programme to go ahead and to be able to take part from home. I still took loads from the experience and I feel like it was incredibly valuable, I’m thankful to everyone who was involved.Beth Macaulay
Through connecting with all of the partners I’ve learnt so much more about different pathways into careers and I’m even more excited and motivated to begin mine. I’ve developed my commercial awareness and some key transferable skills for my future so thank you!Molly Hoy
SMBP’s work experience week has just been fantastic through and through. They dealt amazingly with all kinds of changes and the virtual week was fun and insightful as though I was physically there. There were a range of companies that we as students got to interact with, whether from the dairy industry or media. I learnt so much about so many different types of work.Zainab Malik
Taking part in SMBP was an exceptionally valuable experience and we received some brilliant insight into the corporate world. I’m confident that throughout my career and many other aspects of my life I will look back on this placement as a resource which contributed significantly to my professional awareness.Joseph McDonnell
My favourite part of the week was being able to talk to successful people who share the same passions that I do. It made me so excited for University and my future career. I recieved really valuable advice and it was very inspiring. I loved the week and I can’t thank you all enough.Courtney David