by Kieran Gregory, Economics with year in industry student

As a student, there are many decisions to make when deciding upon which career path is best and how best to get there. Making these decisions can be challenging and having a supportive figure to offer guidance and advice is a valuable asset.

For nearly three years, I have had a mentor that has supported me from Sixth Form through to University. After joining the Social Mobility Foundation’s Aspiring Professionals Programme, I was paired with a mentor working in my career area of interest (finance). The programme was designed to last a year but I gained so much from the relationship that I continued to remain in contact.

I was able to learn more about my mentor’s role at investment firm, Castlefield Investments, and was also able to gain invaluable insights into the investment sector. I had the opportunity to network with other employees within the firm and learn about roles across various departments.

Some of the highlights of my mentoring relationship thus far, include attending an event on the topic of revisions to the UK Corporate Governance Code by the Financial Reporting Council, attending a meeting with a Chief Economist on the subject of emerging markets and economic forecasts; and discussing video interview tips with a member of the HR department.

Yet, I have found the best part of having a mentor is being able to discuss questions or ask for advice when making a decision becomes challenging. Having a mentor to offer an unbiased and honest perspective on my challenging decisions, such as which university modules to choose, often helps me to make a more informed decision.

Since having a mentor I have become more confident in my decision making abilities through their support and experience. I have also had the opportunities to network amongst other professionals and learn about the importance of building a diverse network which I continue to do. Throughout my experiences, I have been able to apply what I have learnt to working towards my career targets and working towards my degree at Swansea University. 

I would highly recommend that students who do not currently have a mentor, to reach out to your network and build a relationship with a professional in the career area of your interest. LinkedIn is a great networking platform; engage with your current network, or reach out to new people. A friendly introduction and demonstrating a genuine, proactive interest will certainly catch the attention of professionals, upon which you can look to build a long-term mentoring relationship.

The School of Management also offers an Employability Mentoring Scheme which is an exceptional opportunity to gain real life experience from a practicing professional who can help to guide you through from University to graduate employment.

Blog written by: Kieran Gregory, Economics with Year in Industry student
Date published: 11/06/2020