Careers Network Mentoring Scheme
BSc Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science
Mentored by Jing Tang
Tell us a bit about your mentoring experience.
I'm Chit, a soon-to-be second-year student studying Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science. I took part in the Career Network Mentoring Scheme. My mentor is a software engineer at Google. We talked bi-weekly about what I should do for my career, what are my different career options, and most importantly he helped me in my process of looking for a summer internship, although I failed to get one, I still very much appreciated the help and encouragement I have gotten, and will try again this summer.
Did you have any preconceptions about the mentoring
experience that were challenged as a result of your experience?
I initially was anxious about meeting my mentor, as I'm not sure what to say in meetings and am afraid to waste his time. Therefore I planned what would be the topics of discussion and did a lot of preparation. Turns out my mentor is very chill and patient despite being busy. This really helped me feel at ease and connect with my mentor better. My mentor also turned out to be very understanding, he said he appreciated my effort in looking for an internship despite me not being able to get into one.
What is one piece of advice you learnt from your mentor you could
share with other students/graduates?
One thing I learned from my mentor is to start planning for your career earlier. My mentor told me he wish he had started thinking and working towards his career goals earlier in his study. That is also why he joined the career mentoring scheme, to help students not make the same mistake as he did. A thing I must mention is that he encouraged instead of pressured me to think about my career. Students sometimes don't want to think about a career so early because they think it is a lot of work, but the truth is we can take one step at a time, such as looking at job descriptions or asking people in the field. Then when we look back, we can see how much progress we already made.
Can you share any top tips for making the most of the mentoring
opportunity and how to be an effective mentee?
My top tip is Regular Planned meetings. Regular means figuring a date and time to meet at regular intervals, preferably bi-weekly or monthly, so that it is not too far apart that you'll have forgotten about the last meeting's content, but not too close that there are no updates on the content of the last meeting. Planned means as a mentee, you'll think about what to talk about in the meeting, so that you can learn from your mentor because you'll have to take the lead and decide what you want to learn from your mentor.
Why would you recommend the scheme to other students?
I would recommend the scheme for one simple reason, learning from someone in the industry is a surefire way to enhance your career progression. You can learn about the role, the environment, the trends, and how to apply for a job there. So figure out what you want to learn about your career, and apply.