Geography graduate mentors current students
27 February 2017
Launched in 2015, QMentoring connects undergraduate students with a member of our alumni community, or a UK-based professional, who can provide first-hand insight into their business or industry. The scheme is designed to help students make better informed career choices, build professional networks and potentially gain work experience. School of Geography graduate, Oliver Bowler, shares his experience of being a QMentor.
Why did you decide to become a QMentor?
International development is a wonderful career to be in, however, it is notoriously cut-throat and difficult to get that first leg up into the industry. There is so much competition from so many graduates for so few jobs. Many fields are similar (Law, Economics, etc.), however, in International Development the majority of applicants are driven by one goal – to help people in the developing world. Throughout my career, I have met some fantastic and motivated people and I think it is unfortunate that not all of them have been able to break into the sector and let their enthusiasm and drive contribute to making the world a better place. My decision to become a QMentor is linked to this; the entry into a job doesn’t need to be as difficult if students are given the right guidance on what they should be doing now to improve their chances. As a proud QMUL graduate, I want to give back and help those who want to help others.
What do you think makes career mentoring a valuable experience for an undergraduate student?
It is truly invaluable to have as much access as possible to the professional world when you are studying throughout your undergraduate years. Mostly, it makes the eventual jump from university life to professional life a lot easier. It also builds confidence for skills that are invaluable once someone has graduated, such as networking with other professionals and communicating with a range of people at different stages on their professional journey. Finally, it is the ultimate opportunity for an undergraduate to dip their toe in the water and find out whether their dream job really is what they want to do, and what steps they can do now to increase their chances.
How have you benefitted from participating in the scheme?
Mentorship is a very rewarding experience, it is great to use your experiences and give back to a community which you yourself have been nurtured within. My own journey is very personal as I want to give individuals that have aspirations to help others in the world every possible chance to achieve their dream. It is also rewarding as I have learnt some important lessons with regards to mentorship styles and how different people respond to various methods of providing advice or guidance which can be replicated in my professional life.
What advice would you give to a prospective QMentor?
Enter the scheme with an open mind, questions and thoughts that crop up during discussions can be very challenging! It is also important to remember that the mentorship relationship is a two-way street; mentors will have to be ready to ensure communication is consistent and it is not totally the responsibility of your mentee to do so. It is also crucial to ensure expectations are managed in first meetings. Make sure that your mentee is clear what they want from the scheme and also what is realistically achievable.
- If you are a graduate of the School of Geography and are able to volunteer for 1-3 hours per month, over a 6 month period, then please do get in touch!
- To find out more about the scheme, or to sign up, contact firstname.lastname@example.org