Career mentoring program supports student transition to the workplace

Thursday, 27 June 2013  Features

Now in its third year, the Australian School of Business Career Mentoring Program in 2013 paired 50 undergraduate and postgraduate students with an experienced business mentor. Mentors are drawn from the ASB alumni community and include professionals working in a diverse range of industries and roles. Students spend three months meeting with their mentor regularly where they discuss their career goals, ambitions and expectations - in preparation for the transition from full time study to work.

Expanding from a pilot program in 2011, the initiative has been successful in forging long-term professional relationships between alumni mentors and students, many of whom remain in touch well after the program's completion.

Students greatly value the opportunity to learn from a supportive mentor and alumni equally enjoy 'giving back' and connecting with a current business student from the ASB community.

For many students, the program gives them their first taste of professional working life and one of the main aims of the program is to get students thinking about a wide range of careers and opportunities they might like to pursue after university.

Third year Bachelor of Commerce student Kish Sivapalasundaram says his mentor, Investment Manager Danny Sze (MBA Exec '06), taught him valuable problem solving skills while giving him a realistic picture of what it's like to work in the finance and investment industry.

"When looking at a job opportunity, Danny taught me to identify the physiological, analytical and psychological benefits and costs of the occupation. Then to use these to determine the possible exit opportunities or prospects of career advancement that await," says Kish.

Danny says it is "extremely important" for students to have the opportunity to have the opportunity to develop a mentoring relationship.

"Having a mentor that guides your garden path helps the professional journey immensely...It can sometimes be hard to really know the 'ins and outs' of a particular industry unless you have a mentor who has been there, done that," he says.

Bachelor of Commerce student Jess Wong, who was mentored by Baker & McKenzie IT Director, Mark Andrews (MCom '98), says one of the most beneficial aspects of the program was being able to draw from her mentor's own experiences.

"Mark has been open and honest when I've asked questions, and has always given me well thought-out answers. His insights into life after uni have been extremely beneficial in helping me shape plan my future path," says Jess.

"Apart from telling me about his own career and life experiences, he has also helped me in a practical sense. Through meeting his work colleagues and other people within his professional circle I have gained a better insight into the different roles and areas of work that are out there," she says.

The ASB Career Mentoring Program will next run in early 2014. If you are an alumnus wishing to get involved in Business Buzz, a one night 'speed mentoring' event for undergraduate students held on October 1, please email an expression of interest to asbalumni@business.unsw.edu.au

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