Akber Khanbhai

Careers Network Mentoring Scheme
BA International Relations, 2019

Introduction - Careers Network Mentoring Scheme

Hi, my name is Akber. I'm a University of Birmingham graduate. I studied International Relations and I currently work in digital marketing. Before this, I took part in the scheme in the 2020 Spring cycle.

I was paired with a Senior BBC Correspondent for the West Midlands. I initially joined the Mentoring Scheme because I was a bit lost in terms of what I wanted my future career to look like and I wanted to talk to someone with industry experience to give me guidance. I would have chats with my mentor about once every two weeks and I was even able to attend some policy conferences and news events. After that, even though I'm no longer on that path, I still have a good relationship with my mentor. We discuss how our professional careers are going and she keeps me up to date. She's even offered me a reference for my résumé which has really helped me secure my first job.

Advice from mentor - Careers Network Mentoring Scheme

One piece of advice that I learned from my mentor that I could share with other students would be the value of consistency and persistence. I learnt this by listening to the story of my mentor and how she made her steps slowly but strategically to be able to get into the position that she's in now. It really taught me how to think long-term about my professional development. But, having said that, I learnt the importance of relaxing a bit and understanding that it's a marathon and not a sprint. Making small steps in the right direction is better than thinking a thousand things and never taking action.

Top Tip for Mentorship - Careers Network Mentoring Scheme

So, my top tip for making the most out of the mentoring opportunity would be to be as proactive as possible. Before every meeting I would have a list of the things I specifically wanted to talk about, and I would have goals that I would bring forward to every meeting. Another way that I was proactive was by looking into what the mentor does and seeing how you can fit into their daily schedule and bring value to them. A big reason that I was able to attend my first press event was because I had written an article on that specific policy issue the week before and I presented it to her. So, be proactive and make sure you know what you want out of the mentoring scheme and how you can both together work to achieve those goals.


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