SEO-China was founded in 2006 to help all college students achieve their fullest potential, by providing intensive professional and leadership training to underserved students and working with corporate sponsors to remove the opportunity inequality caused by unequal distribution of social capital, thus instilling faith in hard work and dedication back to the youth community and promoting social mobility.
SEO believes only by mobilizing all of society, giving the most promising students from all walks of life a pathway to success, and allowing them to set examples and give back to society, can poverty and social inequality be truly eradicated. Based on research, compared to graduates from rural families, those from urban families enjoy much higher employment ratio (81.2% vs. 87.2%), starting salary (USD 450 vs. USD 547) and chance of being employed by multinational companies (2.5% vs. 10.4%). These gaps are rooted in the unequal distribution of social capital and opportunity inequality in firms’ hiring process. More educated and socially connected parents influence their children to actively recruit for competitive positions and use personal connections to make it happen. Contrarily, students from rural areas and poor families, unable to receive guidance and support from parents, unsure of different career options, and unprepared for the job, can only settle with less competitive positions.
SEO-China works with universities to select students of underserved background, based on their hometown (a Tier 3/4 city in China) and family income (disposable personal income <$2,600 per year) and takes the students through their entire professional development stages in college. The program consists of 3 modules: training, mentorship, and internship.
- Training: Our training program consists of 12 sessions, 72 hours of classroom training and subscription to online financial training product Zoologic. The classes first help students explore different career options. We then train them on all the critical recruiting skills, such as writing resumes, cover letters and conducting interviews. Finally, we help students develop a set of on-the-job skills, which include both hard skills such as building financial models and soft skills, such as communication at work. Meanwhile, the Zoologic online training program, the top financial training program used by leading investment banks on Wall Street, helps the students sharpen their financial knowledge.
- Mentorship: Because of our students’ family backgrounds, most of them need to go through a personal transformation to succeed professionally. For instance, many of them joined the program shy and unwilling to take chances. Our mentors work with students on a one-on-one basis, to identify their personal strengths and development needs, help them step out of their comfort zones, and inspire them to become well-rounded and socially responsible young leaders.
- Internship: Finally, we connect students to internship opportunities in the most competitive positions. Our corporate network includes top players in investment banking, venture capital, consulting, and accounting and many Fortune 500 companies.
To sum up, by developing professional skills, granting opportunities, broadening horizons, and building confidence, SEO-China fundamentally changes the lives of the students it serves. As of today, SEO-China has successfully placed more than 120 students into highly sought-after internship positions and helped them jump start their careers.