Make a difference: be a mentor
There are a tonne of benefits to finding a career mentor – we’re talkin’ building your network, identifying career goals, and having someone in your corner to help encourage you. But what’s in it for the mentor? Turns out… a lot!
For some, the benefit of being a mentor is as wide-ranging as giving back to their university community to championing women in their industry. We chatted to UTS Engineering alumni Ajanta Moitra about how the Professional Mentoring Platform (PMP) has helped her reach a diverse range of students, both assisting them in their careers and learning a thing or two herself on the way.
Here are the four most rewarding things about being a career mentor.
Making sure others don’t repeat your past mistakes
We all have things in our past that make us sit up in bed in a cold sweat. Whether it be a misplaced comment in a meeting, failing a subject at uni, or passing up on an amazing opportunity, making mistakes in our past is an embarrassing but somewhat inevitable part of the career journey. Even though it can be tough to think back on, mentors have the ability to pass on hard-earned knowledge to students looking to make their mark in their industry.
As Ajanta puts it, “I enjoyed the opportunity to be in touch with students and guide them with their questions from real life experiences. I think it is valuable for students as they can get suggestions from people who are already working in the industry, people who can give them the best advice to do exactly what actually works.”
Sharing experiences that didn’t work is a powerful way that mentors can help students learn what not to do, and help them avoid repeating mistakes of the past.
Giving back to the community
UTS gives students a bunch of opportunities to be involved in uni life; from taking part in clubs and societies, to free food on campus, to joining a peer support group. But once you graduate, do all those connections to your university just disappear?
While studying her undergraduate degree, Ajanta was involved in things like the Lucy Mentoring Graduate Program. She was even a mentee for the Peer Mentoring Platform, for which she now mentors other engineering students! Giving back in this way is a rewarding full-circle moment and a great way to continue to stay connected to your university.
Championing students in your field
No matter what industry you’re in, it’s exciting to see newcomers shake up old ways and make their mark. Unfortunately, despite programs and initiatives aimed to drive up the number of women in engineering (including some by UTS), the number of women studying undergraduate degrees in engineering is still low when compared to their male counterparts – around one in six. This has the effect of narrowing the scope of perspectives available to engineering industries and excluding women from adding their ideas to the mix.
Seeing a successful woman in STEM like Ajanta could inspire female students to believe a future in engineering is possible. As Marian Wright Edelman says, “You can’t be what you can’t see.”
Inspiring and championing students who want to succeed in your industry is an immense privilege for career mentors. And for mentors like Ajanta, it might just help to change the face of the future engineering industry.
Learning from the next generation of leaders
It’s expected that a mentee will learn a lot from their mentor, but students also have a lot to give back! Learning lessons from the students you mentor is just one of the unexpected but valuable things about a mentoring relationship.
“I personally learnt so much from them as well. The passion they have to make it right is praiseworthy and infectious. It helps me to perform even better in my job, as I feel I am adding value to others.”
From reigniting your passion in your chosen industry to giving back to others, the next generation of leaders have a lot to teach us all.
Mentoring isn’t a one way street! If you’re looking for a career guru, Ajanta is here to help with interview prep, resume and LinkedIn updates, and can offer advice on working within different management styles. And if you think you can benefit from a mentorship relationship with some eager students, why not head to the Professional Mentoring Platform today?
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
Lily Cameron is a writer and editor based in Sydney. She is a Communications (Creative Writing) graduate, and current Communications Assistant at UTS Careers. She is passionate about telling stories, both hers and others’, and the way digital and social media is changing the literary landscape. Her writing has appeared in Voiceworks, The Brag, and elsewhere.
Ajanta has extensive engineering experience across many industries and in various organisations including Optus, Equinix and NBN Australia. She is currently a Business Development Manager and Consultant at Gibson Quai International.