I was so delighted when I heard the news that I had got my first choice – Sam as my mentor. Having done the exact same degree as me, and successfully having founded her own business (an aspiration of mine), I knew she would have a wealth of knowledge and advice to give about the biotechnology sector. After my first meeting, I have to say I was not disappointed.
We arranged to meet on campus at the University. I immediately felt comfortable around Sam, her positive demeanour instantly put any nerves I felt at ease. First of all she asked me about myself, what my interests were, why I chose to do the mentoring scheme. She then told me how she got to the position she was in today, what she would do differently, and what she did well. We spoke about the differences between Managers and Leaders, and what skills it takes to run a business. I left excited for the rest of the mentor scheme, and feel there is a lot I can learn from Sam!
Since meeting, Sam has offered her advice on my career decisions and further education. As someone who has done the exact same degree, from the same University as me, so her insight is unique and something I really value.
I am sad to see such a helpful scheme come to an end, reflecting on the year gone by I am glad to say the mentor Mentee scheme has given me the confidence and knowledge to embark on my dental career. Barry has not only been a guide and support system, he has been a great friend to me. I hope to continue engaging with mentors further down the career line as I have seen what a difference it can make to a student and now newly qualified dentist’s perspective of Dentistry. I hope to also act as a mentor and share my advice and knowledge with others as there are just some things you can’t learn from lectures!
I was asked to go to the client meeting room on the 6th floor of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch office in central London and wait for Lucy. Having spoken with Managing Directors during my work experience at Morgan Stanley I was very aware that they can often be blunt and come across in a cold manner. Managing Directors seem to have the ability to cover, what would take a 30-minute meeting for most people, in the space of 5 minutes. Minimal small talk and getting straight to the point means every conversation is exceptionally concise. This often can often come across as being rude or blunt however it’s often really just a mixture of trying to be efficient whilst being under the inherent pressure of working at a senior position within an investment bank. Knowing all of this, I was very nervous as I saw Lucy Baldwin approach me at the office in London.
I was taken aback by the genuine and approachable manner in which Lucy greeted me. She was eager to learn more about me, my experience on placement and university, and my career aspirations. We talked about her past experiences within the banking industry and how new regulation is going to impact the investment research division. Lucy was kind enough to me in touch with 3 other colleagues from BAML who have all been keen to give me an insight into their role within the firm. We have been in contact since meeting in September and have arranged to meet up again when I’m back home for the Christmas holidays.
My first meeting with Baroness Patience Wheatcroft took place on Tuesday. Reading over my notes one last time in the train down to London I was looking forward to discussing the various questions I had for her and to gain some initial advice to set me in good stead for the year ahead.
Making my way to the Peers Entrance of the House of Lords I had forgotten how beautiful the building was having only visited the outside of Parliament when I was much younger. The Baroness showed me around the inside of the building before we sat down to discuss over coffee.
The meeting was a success and I learnt so much in the hour we spent together. I was able to set a variety of goals and I will be keeping the Baroness up to date with my progress with these goals over the coming weeks and months.
I will be focussing on beginning research for my next steps (exploring possible training schemes etc), doing my homework on the industries which I am interested in including Journalism and developing my writing voice/style.
Louise was really quick to get in touch with me and we arranged to meet in London at the Crew Clothing head office. I was quite nervous before the meeting but also excited to talk to her and find out how she got to where she is now. I really didn’t need to be nervous though because Louise put me at ease as soon as I met her and we chatted in her office for about an hour.
We spoke about her life and her time at Birmingham University and we talked about my goals and what I am interested in. We also spoke about what I wanted to get out of the mentoring scheme. It was so interesting to hear her opinions and talking through different ideas with her about what to do after university was really helpful.
My ALMP experience has begun with a flying start. I got an email from Barry Cockcroft very soon after the scheme commenced. It was clear that Barry was an enthusiastic mentor who was genuinely keen to assist. All participating mentees had a briefing session organised by Careers Network on how to get the most out of a mentoring relationship. Before this session was even scheduled, Barry and I had already had our first meeting!
We spoke at a New Street station coffee shop for over an hour. I felt privileged at this meeting as Barry had prepared a brief agenda and advice sheet on his train journey which I took away with me. It included recommended reading material and people I should get in contact with. I was really lucky to meet face to face as it was a great way to make our introductions. The atmosphere was professional yet relaxed so it was an opportunity for me to explain my past and future intentions as well as finding out some of Barry’s career highlights which aren’t so well known.
Before meeting my mentor, Jane Lodge, I was really impressed with what I read about her achievements and the various accolades she had collected. She is currently a non-executive director on 4 boards and previous Senior Audit partner at Deloitte, this alone explains why I was feeling pretty nervous (and excited) when I met her for our first meeting in Costa in the Guild.
We began the session with a bit of small talk about how she travelled in and how our respective days had been. Jane immediately made me feel at ease as she has such a calm and relaxed demeanour.
During the meeting that lasted about an hour and half we discussed her experiences at Deloitte, how she first got onto a board and what exactly a board of directors does.
My first meeting with Cilla was on campus; she was coming to Birmingham for the evening to talk at the ‘5 years of mentoring’ celebration event, and suggested we met up beforehand. I must admit I was very nervous about meeting her as while planning what to ask and my first session, I’d read a lot about her which did little to rest my nerves! Knowing I would be meeting with such a powerful industry leader seemed overwhelming!
It was during my medical elective whilst I was working in South Africa that I sent off my application for the ALMP. I hadn’t heard about the ALMP prior to applying for it so I was unsure what to expect but was very pleasantly surprised when I was invited to attend an interview at the university. I felt that the ALMP would be a great opportunity to learn from the experience of previous alumnus and also would be a way of enhancing my career once I graduate from the University.
Last Tuesday, 27th October the University of Birmingham’s two main mentoring schemes celebrated 5 years of linking students and professionals. It was a great event and there was definitely a feeling of success and achievement in the air.