The mentor scheme has proved to be a truly inspiring and valuable experience that has given me an insight into the world of work and helped to form a strong foundation of skills that will no doubt help me as I progress with my academic studies. Having saw the scheme advertised on the University website many months ago I knew this would be a one-off opportunity to learn from an ex UOB student who shared a similar interest in a subject area as did I.
I have been studying for the past 2 years with no work experience whatsoever and very little realisation of what was waiting for me outside university. I applied to a number of companies for summer placements but we all know its very competitive you have 1000s of applicants applying for 1 role. After receiving a lot of the “I am sorry we cant offer you a place” letter I felt very discouraged.
I received an email informing me of the mentoring scheme, I thought it will be a useful experience to get inside information and advice on what to do when I finish uni because as of that point I was completely clueless about what I wanted to do.
Whilst a lot of students volunteer for the scheme to further their existing career plans, I was almost the opposite. I applied at the beginning of my second year studying English Literature and History and I was struggling to decide what I wanted to do post-university. I had always had an interest in publishing although the PR industry had started to look more appealing. I was paired with someone who although was working in a different industry now, had a background in PR and had studied the same subject as me whilst at Birmingham. By the end of the scheme I wanted to be in a position where I would be going into my final year with a clear idea of what career I was aiming for, equipped with the skills I would need to get me there.
I have found mentoring a very enjoyable, insightful and exciting experience. Throughout the year I have found the mentoring relationship an enjoyable one. I have looked forward to the arranged calls with my mentor, as I knew I was going to find out more about the oil and gas industry. Overall I am very grateful of all the time and effort my mentor put into the relationship which has made it so successful. I will continue to keep in touch as a contact in the industry.
I was successful in being accepted on to the Scholarship scheme which has since opened many career and networking opportunities.
Bethan Dean, BSc International Business
I have found my mentor to be very supportive and helpful throughout the year. He has supported me throughout the process of graduate scheme applications and my final year. I found my mentor easy to talk to and he always provided me with good advice.
My mentor helped me by providing tips and advice for some of my applications and allowed me to visit his office for the day to learn more about procurement. This was extremely interesting and I gained a lot from this experience.
How have you found the mentoring relationship?
The relationship with my mentor has been great. He has been extremely supportive through the stressful second year medical exams and has always been on hand to help. Phil always replies in good time and is willing to go the extra mile to help out – may that be with proofreading an essay – answering clinical questions or giving general advice. Having a mentor that truly understands the stresses associated with medical school is imperative to why the relationship works. Phil has been able to provide honest advice in order to improve my standard of work which I have really appreciated.
Phil always replies in good time and is willing to go the extra mile to help out
How have you found the mentoring relationship?
I have very much enjoyed the mentor scheme and have found it very useful to be put in contact with someone in my potential profession.
Was there anything specific your mentor helped you with?
My mentor was able to advise me about making decisions such as: whether to go straight into practice or to continue with further education by completing a PhD. My mentor advised making a mind map to weigh up the options, which I completed and now have a much clearer idea as to which I would rather do at present.
How you have found the relationship with your mentor?
Siobhan has been an amazing mentor – since our first coffee in December, I have felt comfortable to be open with Siobhan about my academic and career plans, and current insecurities. She gladly and actively listened, giving me valuable feedback which not only will be useful in the future, but it has already paid off during the academic year.
We discussed my skills, personal and career development, possibilities for improvement and different scenarios at the workplace.
When I first read the profile for my mentor I was extremely happy, as I felt he was exactly what I had described in my initial application: he had done an Economics based degree and had worked for the UK government. I was also pleased that he was from a nearby region as I thought we would be able to meet up regularly. However, in our first exchange of emails I discovered he would be working in Pakistan for the remainder of this academic year. Although, I was disappointed, he regularly emailed me with CV advice, details of his career path, and possible work experience I should look for.
My mentor studied the same course as me just a few years before, and even did some of the same modules, so she had a real understanding of where I was coming from and could tell me what the next steps were to get into the industry. She gave me advice about grad schemes and even suggested routes she thought would suit me. She also gave me some academic advice on the modules we shared, which was extra useful.
I enjoyed hearing what life was like in a graduate job from the perspective of someone similar to my own age. It made the prospect a lot less daunting!