The importance of mentorship

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Taara and Ali

9 minute read

The ANU College of Business and Economics (CBE) is dedicated to ensuring students are prepared to successfully navigate the global job market and meet the expectations of their future employers.

The College’s flagship mentoring program, MomentuM, is designed to complement the mentees’ academic studies, while building a strong foundation for continued professional development. Students are paired with an industry professional (mentor), who provides them support and guidance as they complete program activities, workshops and milestones.    

Through their participation in MomentuM, mentees consider career goals and develop industry-identified key skills that equip the program participants to become well-rounded graduates, who are prepared for their future workplace. Meanwhile, mentors share their knowledge and gain fresh perspectives from the next generation of business leaders.

CBE student and mentee, Taara Chaudhuri, and Ali Qureshi, a manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia (PwC) who mentored Taara and others, share their insights following their participation in MomentuM during Semester 2, 2020.
 

Taara Chaudhuri
Bachelor of Commerce and Arts, The Australian National University

Q. How has MomentuM prepared you for the professional world?

The MomentuM program has been invaluable to me in numerous ways. Meeting with my mentor, Ali, every couple of weeks, discussing milestones and hearing his general career insights and advice, have given me lots to contemplate. He has helped shape the way I think about what working in the professional world looks like and what I would like to do when I graduate.

The industry-led workshops on prominent corporate themes were enjoyable and taught me about important things to consider in the workplace. For instance, the diversity and inclusion presentation really sparked my interest, and demonstrated what conducive and thriving work environments look like.

I appreciated networking and meeting other mentees, as these interactions gave me plenty of practice to gain confidence. Having the CBE Career Consultants there to guide and advise us really encouraged me to engage and learn about how to better position myself to be ready to join the professional world when I graduate. 
 

Q. What are some of the valuable insights you gained about effective communication through the program?

I learnt a lot about communication being multi-dimensional. In one of the workshops I attended, we covered verbal and non-verbal communication, and the importance of personal presentation. First impressions are long-lasting, so you must carry yourself well and professionally. Ali and I also discussed having difficult conversations with colleagues, including with people who are superior to you, and when you are in a management position.

The CBE Career Consultants and workshops held provided very helpful and simple tips to use when talking to industry professionals in networking situations or interviews as well as in everyday life. For example, one session covered the importance of emotional intelligence when communicating. 
 

Q. Can you share an experience from MomentuM that changed or challenged your critical thinking?

One thing that really resonated with me was learning about the common thought traps that everyone finds themselves caught in. I reflected on all the ways we tell ourselves we aren’t good enough, we are a failure, or that our wins, however big they may be, shouldn’t be celebrated or acknowledged. Having a growth mindset is important, so you can learn from mistakes and make sure you strive to constantly better yourself and improve. I have realised over the course of this program that having a good attitude is the important thing – without it nothing will be as rewarding or worthwhile. 



Ali Qureshi
Manager, PwC Australia

Q. What are some of the key highlights from your experience with MomentuM?

Watching the growth in some of my mentees. Each of my mentees had different areas that they were looking to develop their abilities in, so it's been great to see that development over the period of MomentuM and mentoring. 
 

Q. What are the critical attributes in personal branding and career management related to today’s global job market?

Today's students have a much higher level of understanding of what they need to do to get a job and are able to reflect this through their resume. Personal branding feeds much more into you as an individual and ensures that the organisation you're applying for a job with knows who you are, and what you’re about. This is especially important with the increased focus on organisational culture and making sure potential hires are a cultural fit. With the shift towards new ways of working and a “new normal”, a lot of this has to be able to be conveyed before you meet with someone – whether virtually or in person – and is often achievable through platforms like LinkedIn. Having a well-established personal brand can help you stand out from the sea of competitors.

For me, there are three main components to career management: planning, self-development (whether through formal (degrees and qualifications) or informal (learning from others through conversation, reading the news) methods, and networking. Planning has to come first, because without it – you won’t know when you’ve achieved your goals. 
 

Q. How can students best work on their teamwork and leadership skills before entering the workforce?

The best instances I've seen of this are through programs like the CBE Internship Program and the Special Industry Project, and taking on leadership roles in societies and clubs. That being said, a lot of what everyone does on a day-to-day basis revolves around teamwork and leadership, but we don't perceive it that way because it's ‘business-as-usual’ (BAU). You can learn a lot by taking a step back from what you're doing and really thinking about the impact of each interaction or BAU thing you do, and how it is developing your teamwork and leadership skills. 


If you would like to learn more about MomentuM or are interested in mentoring a student in 2021, please contact the CBE MomentuM team at momentum.cbe@anu.edu.au or submit your Mentor EOI here.

The ANU College of Business and Economics offers an extensive range of specialised programs. Click here for more details.