The Opportunity Bursary fund is supported by JP Morgan Chase. The fund makes grants available to financially support students with accessing opportunities which boost employability, such as internships and volunteering. Two of our alumni, Toba and Toni, share more about their experiences on the programme. 

Toba Odumosu, who was part of the 2022 Cohort of our Opportunity Bursary, outlines the skills he developed and opportunities he accessed thanks to the bursary. Toba also spoke at our recent launch event for the Opportunity Bursary.

Toba speaking at our Opportunity Bursary launch event in March 2023.

My name is Toba Odumosu and I’m a final-year accounting and finance student at the University of Nottingham. Although I’m studying accounting and finance, I’ve been trying to transition into the tech industry and the Opportunity Bursary was a key element that assisted me in breaking into tech.  

In 2021, I applied for the Opportunity Bursary and used the funds to help with living costs after I quit my part-time job, as well as pursuing courses to help me gain the skills I would need to move into tech. I also gained the free time to work on my project, eSports Academy, an application and website aimed at aspiring gamers looking to gain skills in eSports, an up-and-coming industry.  

Thanks to the bursary, I developed skills which I demonstrated in applications and interviews. As a result, I was successfully able to get an offer for a summer internship in tech and data at Lloyds Banking Group, on top of an offer for a graduate role in technology consulting at Deloitte. And the bursary hasn’t just been beneficial for me.  

Last week, I had the chance to speak at this year’s Opportunity Bursary launch event, during a panel hosted by Cecil Peters (EMEA Head of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, JP Morgan), alongside another student from my cohort. We discussed our experiences throughout the year and the journeys we had taken to apply for the programme. I also had the opportunity to meet some of this year’s cohort who are pursuing a range of aspirational projects, from improving the resource gap for the deaf in medicine to research into helping asylum seekers.  

It was genuinely wonderful to hear about the various ways the bursary continues to help students pursue dreams and ambitions that they may not have been able to do otherwise. 

To conclude, this collaboration between JP Morgan and Sutton Trust is exceptional. It is heart-warming to see such efforts made to help students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds such as my own, and I am proud to have been a recipient of the bursary.  

Best of luck to this year’s cohort of the Opportunity Bursary, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for all of you! 

Member of the 2023 Cohort, Toni Iheonye, tells us about her experience at the Opportunity Bursary launch event held in mid-March at JP Morgan’s Victoria Embankment building.

Toni Iheonye

The Opportunity Bursary launch event was an amazing evening, filled with opportunities to learn, be inspired and network with fellow students and industry professionals.  

The values of the programme were very much reinforced by all the speakers of the night, which started off with insight from former MP Chuka Umunna. He discussed the reasons JP Morgan chose to fund the bursary, noting that longevity was a key aim of the fund. Each of the speakers touched on how happy they were that the fund was going to be bringing about change for the long term, rather than being a pot of money that would be used once. 

There was also a panel discussion where we heard from two of last year’s bursary recipients, Fiorella Gallardo Sarti and Toba Odumosa, who spoke about their truly moving stories. The bursary gave them the opportunity to make changes they would not have been able to do otherwise.

Fiorella discussed being able to undertake an internship where she made some substantial impact for the company, and Toba spoke about how he was able to explore tech as a potential career path. A major takeaway from them was that the bursary ‘gave them the ability to take up space’. The bursary gave both of them the opportunity to make changes they would not have been able to do otherwise. 

The night ended with an opportunity to network. I had the chance to speak to students who were doing a range of activities with their bursaries. These ranged from shadowing MPs in Parliament, to gaining qualifications to help with their careers. Furthermore, speaking to the JP Morgan employees who chose to be part of the programme as mentors, it was clear that they all shared a sense of excitement about it and had a vested interest in seeing our success, which was very encouraging.   

The event definitely taught me a lot.  I would say my two takeaways are firstly, that I should feel a sense of pride in what I’m setting out to do. Secondly, a quote has stayed with me from a panelist who said because of the bursary she was ‘no longer in the mindset of necessity’. This suggests the bursary is an opportunity to explore things we really want to do.  

Moving forward I am determined to ensure that I’m entering my funded activities with confidence and an understanding that I belong in all those spaces. As I aim to move into a sales graduate role, the bursary will provide me with the opportunity to take a French course and attend a range of networking opportunities within my university. I believe that these activities will enhance my corporate communication skills as well as enable me to feel more confident in my ability to undertake the role.

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