First established in 2019, the Alumni Mentoring Programme is a key aspect of the Edinburgh Award for Effective and Responsible Leadership, reflecting the essence of the coaching culture within the Business School.
The Edinburgh Award empowers undergraduate honours students to take ownership of their development to become the person they want to be. By tailoring it to their needs, students develop leadership skills and abilities to succeed in their future and to make an impact in whatever they do—all while being mentored by one of our alumni, either in-person or remotely.
Over the past year, both local and internationally based alumni have taken part in the mentoring programme, including alumni from as far afield as India, Indonesia, Thailand, Chile, USA, and Canada. They represent a diverse range of career areas and sectors, and depending on their time, alumni have the option to mentor up to three students. Where possible, alumni are matched to students based on the student's development goals, sectors of interest, and career aspirations.
We know from feedback that the student mentees gain a huge amount from the experience citing increased confidence, enhanced skills development, and securing employment to name just a few of the benefits, but it is also rewarding to hear just how much the alumni themselves gain personally from being a mentor.
New to the programme last year was Cecilia Bosman (MA (Hons) 2021), who, although she is a recent graduate herself, was keen to offer her time to support current students.
"Taking part in the Business School's Alumni Mentoring Programme was an incredibly positive experience. As a recent graduate myself, I wanted to give back to the community that supported me during my academic journey and make a positive impact on a student who is currently going through the same experience that I went through a few years ago.
"Not only do I hope that my mentee benefited from our relationship, but I also think that I learnt as much from her as she learnt from me. I truly gained confidence in my ability to guide a mentee through their journey at university and the start of their career. Building relationships like this are incredibly meaningful, not only for the mentee but also for the mentor."
Similarly, James Sime (MA (Hons) Business and Finance 2020) highlights how it has helped in his own career development.
"The opportunity to be a mentor to students undertaking the Edinburgh Award has helped me develop my listening and leadership skills, learn how to understand what motivates people, and most importantly, how to facilitate an environment where people feel they can learn and grow.
"It is often hard at the start of your career to gain experiences in acting as a mentor, role model or leader, so I am incredibly grateful to the Business School for providing this development opportunity not only to their current students but also to their alumni."
Other alumni, including Lorraine Porteous (MBA 1999) have been involved in the programme since it was first established and continue to gain from the experience year on year.
"Being a mentor is a great way to give something back and help shape the future leaders of tomorrow. I enjoy getting the best out of students, watching them grow and blossom, by equipping them with the right skills professionally and personally through capitalising on their strengths and weaknesses. It’s also lovely to hear back from students that something you have said has stuck with them and been of benefit years down the line."
Reflecting on the success of this year's Alumni Mentoring Programme, Professional Development Coordinator, Valerie McIntosh, tells us how much it means to have so many alumni involved:
"It's wonderful to see a growing number of alumni based all over the world volunteer their time on top of other commitments who are invested in and support the development of our students.
"By simply even sharing their life experiences, achievements and challenges, they truly provide an enriching, meaningful and rewarding experience to students as they navigate their university year and transition to their next steps. The programme wouldn’t be the same without them."
Many of last year’s alumni mentors have already signed up to once again mentor students in the 2022-23 academic year but knowing the huge interest in this programme from students, we are looking to recruit more mentors. We would love to hear from you if you are interested in taking part.
Volunteer to be an alumni mentor
For more information on what's involved and to sign up, read our information sheet:
For any questions, please contact the Alumni Team.