Some of the greatest relationships of human history have been those of mentor and mentee. Aristotle and Alexander the Great, Dumbledore and Harry Potter, Larry Summers and Sheryl Sandberg…
The Career Mentoring Programme opened on the Monday 4th May and will remain open for the next three weeks. Run by Careers in the Base (opposite the library), the scheme is aimed primarily at current first years who will be entering their second year this September, though students of all years may apply. Full details on how to do so may be found here: http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/careers/students-graduates/help-and-advice/career-development/mentoring/. The programme was launched in 2008 and has been growing in popularity ever since. The scheme matches each student, based on career aspirations and the field they wish to work in, with an alumnus who is already working in this sector. The process is all done online, and you will be asked to answer a few short questions, with 150 words for each:
1. Why that career?
2. What research have you already done?
3. Why do you want to be involved in the mentoring programme?
The programme is competitive, so you should try to answer the questions as fully as possible. Proportionally, the value you gain from the scheme is likely to far outweigh the time you spend on the application, with 95% of 13/14 mentees rating their experience positively. In October, at the start of the 2015/16 academic year, the careers team will be in touch (if a match is found) with the contact details of your mentor so you can set up a time to talk about your hopes for the relationship and to see if you’re a strong mentor-mentee fit. The programme lasts from November to May.
During the programme, you make contacts and learn from those who have already succeeded in a given field. I did the scheme myself last year, which landed me on the 5.30am train to London (I’m excessively early for everything). Free from the pretense of Insight Days and Internships, I had the opportunity to see the bank properly. That experience was much more enlightening for me than any prospectus or Insight Day with this company ever had been. Experiencing the tube at 8am was a revelation in itself. My mentor provided me with invaluable feedback and was always happy to give guidance on applications. Your experience with your mentor is what you make of it (yes, I did really just say that). But first, you have to apply!
If you have any questions or queries about the scheme, you should contact Claire Lawrenson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to email me at email@example.com if you want any information on how the scheme plays out, from somebody who’s taken part in it! I couldn’t advocate the experience more.