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Not a Nepobaby? Here's How to Level the Playing Field

Not a Nepobaby? Here's How to Level the Playing Field

You might've heard the term "nepobaby" thrown around, but what does it mean? If your mom or dad has a high-flying career and is super well-connected, then you're what's often called a nepobaby. It means you've got a head start when it comes to careers, but let's be honest, not everyone has that advantage. So how do the rest of us get ahead? We'll tackle that too.

What Are Nepobabies?

"Nepobaby" is a blend of 'nepotism' and 'baby,' and it's a term used to describe young people who benefit from their family's social and professional network. These are the kids of well-connected people who can easily get internships, jobs, or other opportunities because of who their parents know.

Here are some famous examples. 

  1. Ivanka Trump - Daughter of former U.S. President Donald Trump, she has held various roles in her father's companies and served as an advisor during his presidency.

  2. Kylie Jenner - Part of the Kardashian-Jenner family, Kylie leveraged her family's fame to launch a highly successful cosmetics line.

  3. George W. Bush - The son of George H.W. Bush, he followed in his father's footsteps to become the 43rd President of the United States.

  4. Jaden Smith - The son of actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Jaden has had roles in movies and also pursued a music career.

  5. Brooklyn Beckham - The son of soccer legend David Beckham and Spice Girl-turned-fashion designer Victoria Beckham, Brooklyn has ventured into photography.

  6. Paris Hilton - The great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels. Paris became a socialite, businesswoman, and media personality.

  7. Chelsea Clinton - Daughter of former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Chelsea has taken on various philanthropic roles.

  8. Anderson Cooper - The son of Gloria Vanderbilt, he became a well-known journalist and CNN anchor.

  9. Paul McCartney's Children - Stella McCartney, for instance, is a successful fashion designer, partly boosted by her father's fame.

  10. Rory and Aileen Kennedy - Members of the Kennedy family who have been involved in filmmaking and activism.

It's essential to note that while these individuals have had advantages, many may have also worked hard to build careers in their own right. Family connections may offer a leg up, but they don't guarantee sustained success—that often requires skill, hard work, and a bit of luck.

The Advantages of Being a Nepobaby

What Research Shows

  • Family Networks: A Harvard study found that people are more likely to get a job through family connections.
  • Social Capital: According to a Stanford research, social capital — the benefits gained from social networks — significantly impacts a person's career trajectory.
  • Financial Cushion: Research from Princeton shows that a financial safety net allows you to take risks like unpaid internships, which can pay off big in the long run.

Evidence-Based Ways to Achieve Social Mobility

Social mobility is all about moving up (or down) the social and economic ladder. It's when someone born into a low-income family ends up with a high-paying job or vice versa. Sounds good, right? So how can you climb that ladder if you're not a nepobaby?


According to a comprehensive report by the Brookings Institution, the level of education you attain directly correlates with the quality of job opportunities available to you. It's not just about going to college; vocational training and certifications can also provide a path to better-paying and more stable jobs. The takeaway here is simple: The more you learn, the more you can potentially earn.

  • Research Different Paths: Not all careers need a 4-year degree. Look into trades, certifications, and online courses as well.
  • Take Relevant Courses: If you know you're interested in a particular field, tailor your high school classes to get a head start.
  • Consider Dual Enrollment: Some high schools offer courses that give you both high school and college credit.
  • Apply for Scholarships: Start early and apply to as many as possible to offset the cost of further education.


A groundbreaking study published in JAMA Pediatrics underscores the power of mentorship. It shows that having a mentor can significantly improve your odds of climbing the social ladder. A mentor can provide personalized guidance, offer valuable insights from their own experiences, and even introduce you to people who can help you get ahead. So, don't underestimate the value of finding someone to guide you in your journey.

  • Identify Potential Mentors: Look for professionals in your area of interest who might be willing to guide you.
  • Be Direct but Polite: Reach out through social media or email and ask if they would be willing to offer some advice.
  • Join Mentorship Programs: Some organizations match young people with experienced professionals.
  • Listen and Learn: A mentor can provide a treasure trove of wisdom, so be all ears and ask insightful questions.


A Forbes article makes a distinction between nepotism and networking. While nepotism relies on family connections, networking is about creating your own contacts in the industry. The piece argues that strategically building a professional network can be an equalizer in the social mobility game. Attending industry events, joining online forums related to your field, and reaching out to people you admire are all proactive ways to expand your network.

  • Join Clubs or Teams: Find groups in your school or community that align with your career interests.
  • Attend Events: Keep an eye out for industry seminars, webinars, or job fairs you can attend.
  • Social Media: Use platforms like LinkedIn to connect with professionals in your area of interest.
  • Alumni Networks: Check if your school has an alumni network you can tap into for connections and advice.

Skill Development

report from McKinsey emphasizes that honing in-demand skills can propel your career forward. Whether it's learning to code, becoming proficient in a foreign language, or mastering the art of negotiation, specific skills can make you more marketable. Take the time to identify what skills are in high demand in your chosen field and work on acquiring them.

  • Online Courses: Platforms like Coursera or Udemy offer courses on everything from coding to project management.
  • Internships: Look for opportunities to get real-world experience and learn the skills you’ll need in the future.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice: Whether it's public speaking or coding, the more you practice, the better you'll get.
  • Feedback Loop: Always ask for feedback to know where you stand and how you can improve.

Access to Capital

While money shouldn't be a barrier, the reality is that sometimes you need a financial boost to kickstart your career. According to The World Bank, even small loans and grants can make a significant difference in getting you off the ground. Whether it's funding for education, a startup, or an internship abroad, a bit of capital can go a long way.

  • Part-Time Jobs: Save up money to fund further education or projects related to your career path.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter can help raise funds for a business idea or project.
  • Small Loans: Look into microloans designed for young entrepreneurs or students.
  • Grants and Scholarships: These don't need to be paid back and can give you a financial leg-up.

Here's a rundown of some trusted websites where you can find scholarships for high school students post school.


  1. Good Universities Guide: Offers a variety of scholarships for both local and international students. Website: Good Universities Guide


  1. Fastweb: One of the largest scholarship databases in the U.S. Website: Fastweb

  2. Offers personalized scholarship searches. Website:

  3. Cappex: Provides scholarships and college reviews. Website: Cappex


  1. ScholarshipsCanada: Offers listings for both scholarships and school programs. Website: ScholarshipsCanada

  2. Yconic: Allows you to set up customized scholarship alerts. Website: Yconic

  3. Student Awards: Another good place to find scholarships tailored to Canadian students. Website: Student Awards

New Zealand

  1. Study in New Zealand: Official government site that offers various scholarships. Website: Study in New Zealand

  2. Generosity New Zealand: Good for local scholarships. Website: Generosity NZ

  3. Universities NZ: Offers scholarships managed by New Zealand’s universities. Website: Universities NZ

United Kingdom

  1. The Scholarship Hub: UK-focused scholarship search engine. Website: The Scholarship Hub

  2. British Council: Offers scholarships for international students. Website: British Council

  3. Prospects: Provides postgraduate funding options in the UK. Website: Prospects

Start your search early and make sure you meet all the eligibility criteria before applying. Good luck!

You Can Level the Playing Field

These evidence-based methods offer a blueprint for social mobility. They might not completely level the playing field, but they'll certainly give you a fighting chance.

If you're a nepobaby, you've got a head start, but that doesn't mean the rest of us can't catch up or even sprint ahead. By focusing on education, mentorship, networking, skill development, and access to capital, you can climb the work ladder (if that is what you want). 

More Resources

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Careers That Matter provides online programs to teenagers across the globe. The organisation is based in Melbourne Australia. We have students from across Australia including Sydney, NSW 2000, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Brisbane, QLD 4000, Perth, WA 6000, Adelaide, SA 5000, Hobart, TAS 7000, Canberra, ACT 2600, Darwin, NT 0800. We also take students from The United Kingdom including London, Europe, and the United States including New York , Canada, New Zealand including Auckkland and Wellington, and Asia including Singapore and Malaysia.