Credit Suisse Inspire Programme | Surbiton High School
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Credit Suisse Inspire Programme

Posted: 25th January 2022

At the beginning of summer ’21, a team of five Year 13 students at Surbiton High School took part in the Credit Suisse Inspire Programme. The challenge was to create a fundraiser to raise as much revenue as possible for Credit Suisse’s charity partner, Cancer Research. We were allocated an advisor from Credit Suisse to help us with the process.

At first, the task seemed difficult; it was slightly awkward discussing and challenging others’ ideas over Zoom. The process required us to be as creative and innovative as possible to design a fundraiser that was feasible, realistic and practical and would generate the most revenue, whilst being interesting for participants. Working and collaborating in a team ensured that we made decisions by incorporating and building on everyone’s ideas. After much planning and discussion, we came up with the name ‘Wonder Women’ (a nod to our all-girls’ school) and we decided that our fundraiser would be (what Surbiton High School do best) – a fashion show. It would take place at Credit Suisse offices all around the world, at around the same time.

We know that fashion accounts for around 10% of greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. So, with environmental considerations in mind, wanting to avoid “fast fashion”, incorporate our passion for upcycling as well as to help increase profit margins, we decided that all the runway outfits had to be made solely from clothing bought at Cancer Research charity shops and modelled by staff from Credit Suisse offices around the world.

After spending an hour listening to other schools’ presentations, it was finally our turn. All members took part, and our pitch was presented to a panel of judges, the clients (Credit Suisse) and to the other school competitors via Zoom again. We presented our ideas and described how the events should be run and included details of costs and a projected profit. We managed to present to the panel in a concise manner while conveying all the key elements. I was very impressed by how confident and clear everyone was, and it was clear to see that the judges were impressed too. The quick-fire questions at the end of the presentation taught us that a well thought through process while building an idea is essential; this ensures that the solution is foolproof and will stand up to scrutiny.

I loved hearing other school competitors’ pitches and how their creative ideas would be both feasible and profitable charity events. Some of them were inspiring and well thought through, so we were thrilled when we learned that Surbiton High School’s Wonder Women team were declared joint winners of the Credit Suisse Inspire Programme. For part of our prize, we have been invited to the Credit Suisse offices in Canary Wharf to discuss implementation of our fundraiser in real life; this is an experience that we are all extremely looking forward too.

There was such a lot that we learned from taking part in the Inspire Programme, including collaborative decision making and working as a team. It was also a great opportunity, although nerve-wracking, to practice presenting online – a valuable experience, as a large part of the future world of work will be online.

It was interesting talking to our advisor about his journey which led him to working at Credit Suisse. As a group of young people interested in working in business as a career, we found it very inspiring. We learned about the range of employment opportunities on offer at a multinational company such as Credit Suisse; finance, IT, marketing, law and banking.

Finally, Cancer Research is a fantastic charity, doing an amazing job and it’s great to know that our idea will help to raise much-needed funds.

Categories: Senior School