Careers Network Mentoring Scheme
BA History, 2019
Hi, my name is Scarlett and I was a student at the University of Birmingham and I studied History. I was interested in going into the finance industry, so I reached out to the University of Birmingham career service which in turn put me in contact with the mentoring scheme. I was paired with a mentor who has a lot of experience in the industry that I want to go into. I found it really interesting and a really useful experience to ask those questions that I can't necessarily get the answers to. I just feel that being able to speak to someone who’s been in the job and has worked their way up to kind of the roles that you could potentially want to go into is a really interesting experience. My mentor also helped me navigate the best path to get into the job I want to go into and for this reason I would definitely recommend it to anyone who's thinking about getting a mentor.
Advice from mentor
So, one piece of advice my mentor gave me was to really embrace this opportunity to practice mock interviews and all those skills that you'll need for real assessment days. It's a great way to see what you do well and what you can improve on and it's so much nicer doing it with your mentor rather than on the day. It also preps you to tackle those difficult questions that you want to be prepared for and it gives you the confidence to enter that room and really do well in your interviews. And, on a broader scale, I would just say that this mentoring programme has been great, and I would definitely encourage anyone who's thinking of doing it to embrace it and go for it because it's a great opportunity.
Top Tips for mentorship
Some advice I have for students is to approach these mentoring sessions with goals in mind. So, mine was very defined. I knew exactly what I wanted to go into, the industry and the job role, so I was able to ask really specific questions which just built on my knowledge that I already had, and I was able to ask for specific advice which I found this really useful. I don't necessarily think you have to have such clearly defined goals as the ones I just mentioned. It could be that you just have an idea of the industry you want to go into, and you want to be able to talk to an expert in the field about that and I think that could be really useful too.
Secondly, do your research on the industry. Kind of approach these meetings as they're enhancing your understanding. You don't want to necessarily ask the basic questions you could find off Google because that's a waste of time. You want to be able to ask or gain advice and insight into maybe things like their job role or the like. Maybe questions that are harder to get answers to and that's definitely something that I found very useful in my experience. My mentor was very happy to talk me through the day-to-day role and it solidified my knowledge of what I was going to go into and it convinced me even further that I wanted to go into the field that I am going to go into.
And thirdly, do some preparation. So, you might be doing mock interviews, then just think that these are professionals who do have limited time. So coming prepared and having real specific questions about things you want to tackle with them is really useful. So definitely come prepared and know what you want out of meetings, and you'll get it.