Manchester medical student George Obolo has been named one of the most outstanding Black students in the UK – and with good reason, as we find out.
George Obolo certainly is busy right now. Not satisfied with training to become a doctor, the third year medical student is also working with a tech start-up, a charity, and has co-founded a mentoring network – the latter of which netted him a place in a list of the top 100 Most Outstanding Black University Students in the UK.
Black Excellence Network
The Black Excellence Network, which George set up alongside three other students, offers both mentorship and consultancy to Black sixth form and university students. It aims to provide Black students with the practical support and guidance they need to apply and get accepted to Russell Group universities.
“Going through sixth form and seeing all of the barriers to higher education or studying a degree like Medicine, we wanted to make sure that wasn’t the case for people younger than us or people behind us,” George explains.
“Seeing those barriers, we just wanted to make them disappear and equal the playing field for Black students compared to other ethnicities within the UK,” he adds. “More opportunities for the Black community is something I’m really passionate about.”
The Black Excellence Networks pairs Black sixth form students with an undergraduate studying the degree for which they’re applying. This partnership provides support and advice for the mentee as they apply for university. “We do believe that as we change one student’s life, we’re ultimately changing the world, because we’re equipping them to change someone else’s life.”
George talks more about the network in the video below:
Making a difference through mentorship
So what would George say to other Manchester students wanting to make a difference and become a mentor? “I don’t think any sort of intellectual ability makes a good mentor. I think it’s people skills, ultimately. I think it’s care. I really do believe your mentor should really care for you deeply. Someone who makes you feel welcome, so you can be super transparent with them. You can share your struggles with them – I think that also makes a good mentor.”
And his time at Manchester is one of the things George believes has made him a good mentor. “When you’re back home, sometimes in your friendship groups it can be an echo chamber, where you’re just hearing the same thoughts and perspectives. But being in a student-packed centre, I just got to see so many perspectives on life and that helped my leadership. “Because it meant that I see the benefit in diversity.” If George has inspired you to help others, visit our Volunteer Hub for local ways to give back.