Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme
Business Management with Marketing with a Year in Industry, 2022
Mentored by Henrietta Brealey
Hello, I'm Jessica Conn. I'm a final year Business Management with Marketing student who did a Year in Industry as the Brand and Social Intern for Disney+. I'm being mentored by Henrietta Brealey, who is the CEO of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.
The experience so far has been amazing. I remember walking out of my first meeting with Henrietta with a massive smile on my face and feeling really motivated. Some of our early meetings consisted of me talking through my experience and my ideas for the future. Even though I did an industrial placement, I was still really unsure and quite confused about what I wanted to do. My mentor was able to put me in touch with someone within her marketing department which gave me an amazing insight into marketing. Having this knowledge was really helpful in application processes to grad jobs, and not to mention the interview practice I did with my mentor. I think through it all, just being able to build relationships and connect with people has been so wonderful through this experience.
Advice from mentor
One piece of advice I was given from my mentor was in terms of interview practice. I actually had an upcoming interview for a grad role so I went to my mentor for any advice that she may have. I learned when answering interview questions, you should always start with the question that's being asked. For example, 'tell me a time that you worked in a team', the answer would always start with 'a time I worked in a team' and your answer. I think this really helped me when interviewing, it made my answers clear, it made sure I wasn't going off on a tangent. I was actually able to secure the grad job, so it really did work!
Preconceptions of the mentoring scheme
Initially I was a little worried about balancing university work with the mentoring scheme. I wanted to make sure I got the most out of the programme, without falling behind on any university work. So far, I have not found this a problem whatsoever. In fact, I have really enjoyed meeting up with my mentor as I have been able to remove myself from university work, get out of Selly Oak and also focus on my future career. It's given me an opportunity to face things that I've been putting off, such as my career path and areas I need to improve on. So it's really been a great opportuntiy to make those vital improvements before going into working life.
Top tips for making the most of your mentorship
My top tips to make the most out of the mentoring opportunity would be to go into every meeting with a goal, and after every meeting, have actions you need to complete. My mentor talked through so many opportunities and even put me in touch with people that she knew. So being open minded and taking that advice on board is really important. I think that writing down key points and actions in a notepad after every meeting is vital as well. Not only as a reference point, but to actually make yourself accountable for making those improvements and actually taking on the advice. I made a real effort to make sure that the advice that I'm being given, I'm actually taking on board and making those actions. Finally, it would be to just enjoy it. It's an amazing experience and I'm so glad I took this opportunity up.
I would recommend this scheme to other students because I think it's an amazing opportuntiy to learn about yourself through things like talking about your personality traits, and areas you need to improve on. I am now going into my graduate job feeling really confident, that's not something I thought I'd ever say. I didn't think I would be in the position where I would have a graduate role, and feeling confident about it, and that's through the help of my mentor. Not only do you learn a lot about yourself, but you learn a lot about your mentor as well. I've been completely inspired by the work that my mentor does. I now have a greater awareness of corporate life, and I hope that one day I will be in a role similar to my mentor.