Careers Network Mentoring Scheme
BSc Chemical Engineering
Mentored by a mentor from the Business and Management sector
Tell us a bit about your mentoring experience.
Hi, my name is Anjli, I am a Chemical Engineering graduate and I took part in the Careers Network mentoring scheme from December 2020 to May 2021. My mentor worked for Shell for over 30 years in various business management roles, before starting his own consultancy in the chemical sector. The mentorship took place virtually because of the pandemic, so our meetings were held over Zoom every few weeks and in between we kept in touch via email and WhatsApp.
What did you gain from taking part in the mentoring scheme?
My mentor offered me ongoing support as I completed my final year, as well as preparing me for the transition to the working world. He supported me as I went through the job application process, giving me feedback on my CV and cover letters, and helping me prepare for interviews. Fortunately, I was able to secure a graduate role. He also put me in contact with his previous mentee, who had graduated the year before in the same degree, which was really helpful. I thoroughly enjoyed partaking in the scheme and am very grateful to my mentor.
Did you have any preconceptions about the mentoring experience that were challenged as a result of your experience?
At the beginning, I was unsure about how formal the scheme would be and what exactly to expect since it was my first time being a mentee. From the first meeting, my mentor was friendly and approachable and quickly helped me to identify areas he could support me with. The scheme was really flexible, and I found more ways than I expected where my mentor’s advice and experience ended up helping me. There was no pressure, and I was in control of the pace of the mentorship.
I was also quite apprehensive about the scheme taking place virtually as I imagined it would be difficult to engage effectively with my mentor online. However, the virtual relationship worked out well as the meetings were not limited by travel, and the extra flexibility made it easier to organise regular meetings around both our schedules.
What are your top tips for making the most of your mentoring opportunity?
My top tip for ensuring you get the best out of the mentoring experience is to be pro-active as a mentee. I recommend being clear about your goals, readily sharing ideas with your mentor, and following up on any agreed actions to deliver the best outcome.
I also think it’s important to be open-minded about trying new things, and to trust in your mentor’s experience. Be willing to follow the advice they give, even if it seems outside your comfort zone. This will help you to maximise your opportunities. Lastly, I would encourage you to take onboard any constructive criticism, as I found this really helpful.
One piece of advice you learnt from your mentor you could share with other students
One of the most important things I learnt from my mentor was to not underestimate your own worth, especially when applying to jobs. I think it’s easy as students to doubt your own capability, and forget that you have something valuable to offer. When approaching companies and exploring new opportunities it’s really important to try and be confident and not undersell yourself.
Why would you recommend the scheme to other students?
I would recommend the scheme for many reasons. It gives you the opportunity to meet somebody with first-hand experience and knowledge of industry, who is willing to help you develop your skills and confidence. My mentor was very helpful and encouraging, and went above and beyond to support me throughout my final year at university and help me secure a graduate job. The mentoring scheme is also a great way to expand your network and access opportunities and ideas you wouldn’t have otherwise come across. As a final year student, I found that working with my mentor really helped me to boost my confidence and employability as I prepared for the transition from education to the working world.