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How Sumeru Creates Opportunity for Underrepresented Populations in Finance

Aspiring to close the gap, Sumeru Equity Partners (Sumeru) supports students that have historically been underrepresented in technology & business through the Sumeru Fellows Program. Established in June 2020, the immersive ten-week internships provide unique opportunities for college students to build transferable skill sets, hear from leaders in their industries and build a professional platform to succeed in their careers.

The Year of Lost Internships

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, in-office employees shifted en masse to working from home. Colleges and universities transitioned courses to online and remote learning. At its peak, half of the country’s spring internships were canceled. By May 2020, internship hirings dropped to 49% of prior year hiring as estimated on Glassdoor. Internships are irreplaceable opportunities to support students’ exploration of potential career paths, and unfortunately many organizations had to step away from offering these opportunities due to logistical challenges.

Sumeru observed the decline in internships offered to students and believed this would be an optimal time to begin the first Sumeru Fellows program, and do a small part in filling that gap. The program is also targeted towards addressing the systemic problems of underrepresentation in the workforce, while also enabling Sumeru’s portfolio companies to benefit from the talented pool of interns. After opening applications for two weeks, Sumeru received over 100 applications for 25 positions in the inaugural class.

Taking Action

Through investing in over 50 growth-stage companies, Sumeru recognized the importance of encouraging more diversity in finance, business and technology.

Sumeru adds value to the workforce by diversifying students’ professional experiences, outside of the classroom. Vice President, Jialin Zhang, notes that, “There appears to be a gap between the classroom and the workforce in the business world. Students often graduate unaware of how their degrees can apply to jobs in sales, marketing, operations, human capital management, etc.” Bringing awareness of these opportunities through high-impact internships can significantly contribute to the soon-to-be graduate’s development.

Everyone deserves a chance. “It’s super valuable to have people who have come from a different set of experiences to evaluate strategy, goals and operations; to make sure that we have everyone sitting at the table where decisions are made,” said Zhang.

Sumeru’s enhanced recruiting promotes racial, gendered and socioeconomic equity and builds a more inclusive community for the business.

Driving Diversity

Diversity is a core value of the Sumeru Fellows Program. It strengthens businesses by providing fresh perspectives, creative solutions and, of course, authenticity. “The best performing companies have and will continue to make diversity a critical element to building their businesses,” said Zhang.

Become a Fellow

The goal of the Sumeru Fellows Program is to enable entry into technology and business careers for a group of terrific and gifted students. And this program is only the beginning. “We’re hoping that Sumeru Fellows is one that really opens the aperture of what’s possible for students,” said Zhang.

Are you interested in becoming a fellow? Applications open in Spring 2023 for the Summer 2023 program.

You can also discover more about Sumeru and their fellowship program by listening to the Scaling X podcast.

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