Date: 19 September 2009, Saturday
Time: 2.00pm – 4.00pm
Venue: Guild Hall, Kent Ridge Guildhouse
Organizers: Global Alumni Network Office
Bright eyed and idealistic, most students enroll in academia with the high hopes and expectations that it will lead them to brilliant careers and success. Reality eventually temper those expectations so they emerge as worldly-wise professionals, some more successful than others. The difference between success and mediocrity can stem from the guidance and advice of good mentors who are able to help young aspiring professionals chart their careers. Recognizing the role of mentors and the rewarding relationships that can result from successful mentorship programs, MBA Alumni – NUS and NUS MBA Club instituted the MBA Mentorship Program which links its students and its alumni.
Dr Peter Alsop (APEX 2004), Acquisitions and Divestments Project Manager at Shell, says he signed on as a mentor as “there is satisfaction in thinking that you can help others get more from their careers and their lives.” With 20 years’ professional experience, Dr Alsop says, “The appeal of mentoring has more to do with helping younger or less-experienced people see and understand things, and take perspectives they might otherwise not take until they were older, wiser or maybe just more cynical. Being a long-timer in the business they wish to enter allows me to do this.”
A good mentor-mentee fit is instrumental for a successful relationship, as Megha Mittal, currently pursuing her MBA, has found. “I was highly fortunate to get a mentor who comes from the same industry and company. This helped us to get on the same page quickly. Since my mentor is an NUS alumni and currently working with my future company, it gave me a two-fold perspective, both helping me in my MBA programme and aligning me with my future professional expectations. We clearly defined my learning objectives and tried to locate opportunities in the MBA programme to meet them, which led to my participation in many competitions and lifetime consulting projects.”
Megha’s mentor, Vikash Mishra (MBA 2007) of McKinsey & Company Association, points out that mentoring and coaching not only helps the mentee, but the mentor too. “Learning is one thing you should consider throughout your career, and your mentee can be a source of learning. I remember how Megha had done research on consulting companies, which helped me understand the different skill sets required by other consulting firms.” The knowledge acquired had practical value too, for Vikash says, “I got to know of current market opportunities; given these economic conditions, we all have to look for opportunities.” Adrian Ruzsicska (APEX 2006), Nokia’s Marketing Manager, Games, agrees that mentoring has been beneficial for him, “particularly in the areas of network extension, a fresh perspective on today’s issues, and refined access to current academic thinking.”
Saurabh’s fellow mentee, Yudhishthir Agrawal, adds, “Adrian hails from a marketing background. As it matches my chosen preference of specialization, we have been able to discuss various aspects of each other’s career. It has given me the opportunity to step away from the books and gain a present-day perspective on the marketing industry.”
Andrew Hayan Lee, Dr Alsop’s mentee, feels that his mentor has given him an overall perspective on life, and not just his career. “He made me think about more philosophical issues, such as how to set goals in life. Our conversations made me step back and think about my life from a long-term perspective. He is also a counselor on life,” Andrew explains. Fellow mentee, Hnin Phyu Phyu Aung, agrees, saying “a mentor is like a guide who can show you the light“.
Learning and Lives Enriched
Another mentee of Vikash Mishra, Deepak Mohan, sums up the value committed mentors bring to their mentees. “Experience teaches you many things. Good mentors are able to share such lessons with their mentees. This complements what you learn in class, enriching the overall MBA experience.”
Read about the launch of the MBA Alumni Mentorship Program.
Florence Leow (firstname.lastname@example.org)