My main reason for applying to the Alumni Leadership Mentorship Programme was as a source of advice to help me make informed decisions about the career path that I wanted to take. Jane Lodge, having a lot of experience in the UK manufacturing industry, was to me an excellent choice for a mentor as at this point I had already decided I wanted a career as a manufacturing/mechanical engineer.
After connecting with Jane through email, we arranged to meet at the Costa Coffee in the Bramall Music Building at the University of Birmingham in the middle of term 1. Before the meeting I had a list of bullet points on topics which I wanted to cover in the first meeting:
1. Guidance when applying/what to apply to
2. Interview Preparation
3. General Career Advice
During our meeting, Jane and I initially talked about our experiences so far, especially of the manufacturing industry. I explained about the year in industry I had undertaken in Ireland and she explained about companies and sectors she had been involved in. I explained to Jane about some of the companies that I had applied to and what stage of the application process I was in. Jane was able to suggest a few other graduate schemes/companies to apply for that I had never heard of. More importantly I explained about a few interviews (including a video interview) that I had coming up and tried to seek her advice on how to prepare, especially as I was quite nervous as some of them included a technical interview. One crucial bit of advice she gave me was to practise whilst looking in the mirror, trying to make eye contact with myself in it and another was to never underestimate the amount of company research you need to do. During our meeting there were a few awkward silences, however Jane was able to encourage me to open up and I was able to ask more questions and talk about what I felt I was going to do after I graduate.
After our meeting, I was pleased with how it went. My topics had all been covered and I put the advice Jane gave me about how to prepare for an interview to immediate use. I’m looking forward to our next meeting and feel that Jane has a lot of knowledge in UK manufacturing that I can take advantage of.