Mentoring in my mind — The diary of an Alumni Relations Specialist

How excited I was in January 2023 when our mentoring programmes were about to start! I would be back to mentoring. At my previous job, I had trained on mentoring, run mentoring programmes and lectured on the subject. Now I would get to witness again the encounters, the interactions, the friendships. Success stories — maybe disappointments too.

Kuvituskuva
23.05.2023
Article

Pairing alumni (mentors) and students (mentees) was a tough task. The working days got longer. I tried to find just the right, suitable mentor for each of our students. I sent potential mentors emails, text messages and eventually made phone calls. "Sorry to bother you in the middle of your workday. Do you have a minute? Yes, this is volunteer work. Could you help our student?"

A lot of people did! (And some had to answer that their circumstances in life were not suitable for mentoring.)

One of the biggest surprises appeared at the kick-off meeting. In both groups – taught in English and Finnish – I think there were more mentors present than people to be mentored. Some students had not indicated that they would not start the whole course. What a hassle! It was embarrassing to tell some of the mentors who had come to the initial meeting that they had come in vain; I had persuaded them to join the programme, they had arrived at the school after a day's work, they had listened to the classroom introductions and the orientation to mentoring. Only to find out that the student hadn't bothered to show up.

On the other hand, one of the greatest joys was witnessing real success stories: "I got a new job." "We took our mentees to our workplace to get to know the culture of the organisation."  "We are going to form a team and do group mentoring in addition to one-to-one meetings." "We want to share the contact details of everyone in the group – right now. These networks are useful!" "I learned about myself and my skills through the discussions."

So, what happens in mentoring? By classical definition, it's a trusting relationship between two people, where the more experienced guides the less experienced one to develop professionally. The person being mentored sets goals for the mentoring process, such as getting a job, clarifying their career plan, completing their studies, or developing their own skills. The mentor can be challenged by the mentee, and so perhaps the mentor also learns something new. For the mentor, the process is eye-opening, allowing them to reflect on their skills, career, and choices.

As the course was coming to an end, I experienced once again, that when the process is successful, both the mentee and the mentor renew and strengthen themselves. They can discover their own sparkling potential, learn to dream, and set ambitious goals. Goals that they might not have dared to think of on their own. For our international students, mentoring can be a unique way to get to know Finnish working life.

I can't wait for August and the start of the new mentoring programmes.

Helsinki, 21st May 2023

Elina El Amrani, Alumni Relations Specialist

Pictures from the mentoring programmes of spring 2023.

About the mentoring programme

Students

Haaga-Helia's mentoring programme is open to all degree students, regardless of campus, education or orientation. Master's students can also enrol, but credits are not included in the degree.

Registration for the first selection is open for students from 29th May until 5th June 2023. The second selection starts on 12th June 2023 at 8 am.

Alumni

Alumni can volunteer to become a mentor via the registration form. Mentors will be contacted before the start of the mentoring programme if the information of their profile (what education they graduated from and what field they work in) matches the wishes of the student enrolled in the course.

Registration of alumni as mentors. It is important to fill in the text box "You can here describe briefly what kind of experience and knowledge you have" to make your skills and motivation visible.

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Contact
Elina
El Amrani
asiantuntija, alumnisuhteet
Specialist, Alumni Relations
+358 294471077