The F1RST steps towards a bright future
Despite talent and ambition, many students from underrepresented backgrounds do not see higher education as an option open to them, and a career in business and finance may feel unrealistic when role models from the same background are few and far between. F1RST is a unique collaboration between universities, the business community and civil society, with the intention of creating new career paths for young people whose experience and background is underrepresented in the business sector’s top management positions.
Vivien Kovacs is one of the first students to have participated in the F1RST initiative to get accepted to the Stockholm School of Economics. This fall she started her first year as a student at SSE.
She vividly recalls the Open Day in March, 2023 – the day that marked her first interaction with both SSE and the F1RST community. "It was after I walked out of the building through the oak doors that I realized that SSE was undoubtedly the ideal place for my academic interests and ambitions," she says. “It was an out-of-this-world feeling to enter the school as an enrolled student, especially knowing the hard work that had led me to this pivotal moment in my academic journey,” Vivien says.
Vivien knew she wanted to pursue higher education, but had not decided on what path to pursue when she first came in contact with F1RST. The initiative became a significant contributing factor in Vivien’s decision to apply to SSE and study Business and Economics, she explains. "Thanks to the F1RST community, I have had the opportunity to connect and network with like-minded students and meet inspirational people, especially in the fields of economics. Taking part in other people’s stories and experiences has inspired me to pursue higher education in economics."
Armed with a versatile degree in Business and Economics, Vivien sees a wealth of possibilities ahead. "Whether it’s in finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, or even public policy, the skills and insights gained can lead to a wide range of fulfilling career opportunities," she says enthusiastically.
"The power to pave the way"
Transitioning from a different background than most SSE students to a very competitive institution like SSE comes with its own set of challenges – one Vivien is fully committed to taking on. "My experience with F1RST has equipped me with valuable skills and insights to tackle these challenges effectively," Vivien remarks. When asked about the issue of lack of diversity in the corporate world, she is optimistic. "Initiatives like F1RST have the power to pave the way for more diversity in executive positions," she notes. Through mentorship and a sense of community, F1RST serves as a catalyst for change.
Beyond the academic realm, F1RST has significantly shaped Vivien's personal and professional journey. "F1RST's talent community and support network have had a profound impact on both my personal and professional growth," she says. Through networking events, interactions with mentors, and being part of a community of ambitious individuals, Vivien has gained valuable insights and connections that have guided her career path.
Reflecting on her experiences and the path she has paved, Vivien has a message for other students considering pursuing higher education, ""Just do it! Your future self will thank you for putting yourself and your dreams F1RST!"