4 minute read
Ankit Patro and Ali Qureshi recently participated in The Australian National University (ANU) College of Business and Economics’ (CBE) professional-development initiative, Momentum. The initiative pairs students with industry professionals to help them successfully navigate the workforce and the expectations of their future employers.
Currently studying a Master of Applied Economics at CBE, Ankit is eager to learn about performing insightful economic research and analysis at a global economic consulting firm.
Ankit was paired with Ali Qureshi, a Senior Manager and Chartered Accountant at PwC, as his mentor.
Since 2019, Ali has developed two large-scale programs to improve the operations, financial management, business maturity, workforce management and human resources practises of aged care providers. He also coaches and mentors junior staff to support their career progression.
In their interviews, Ankit and Ali reflect on the value of Momentum and how, whether you’re a mentee or a mentor, there’s lots to be gained from the experience.
What was your Momentum highlight?
My key highlights were the workshops on personal brand, communication, critical thinking and problem solving, and meetings with my mentor. My mentor has been incredibly helpful and has offered a useful perspective on the industry. He also helped me develop as a person and challenged me to think about things I had not before.
Has Momentum changed your expectations for your professional life?
Yes, definitely. Through Momentum, I learned that there’s no one, single kind of workplace. My mentor taught me that all workplace environments are unique and that you must be ready to adapt to different environments and circumstances. I also now understand that it is important to have a growth mindset and not restrict myself to one fixed idea, especially during the early years of my career.
What skills did you gain or enhance through this experience that you didn’t realise are so important?
One skill that I developed, which is essential to thriving in today’s professional environment, is the ability to step out of my comfort zone. I also learned how to promote and sell myself as a skilled individual. I have always struggled to establish my personal brand and Momentum has helped me gain clarity on how to do this.
Why would you recommend Momentum to others?
I would recommend Momentum because, as a mentee, it offers you an opportunity to receive assistance and direction from an industry mentor that you would not otherwise have access to. Momentum has helped me develop skills that will greatly benefit me in both my personal and professional life. It is a great opportunity to build your employability skills and professional networks before entering the workforce.
Was this your first time being a mentor? What was your Momentum highlight?
I’ve been a mentor since Momentum started in 2017, but every mentee provides a range of different experiences and development points they’d like help with over the course of the initiative. It’s a fantastic feeling to be able to provide someone with support and guidance on how they can succeed in their career.
This semester, I loved being able to help Ankit with a range of problems and development points that hadn’t been on my radar in quite some time.
What professional and personal benefits have you gained from being a mentor?
The best benefits I’ve gained from being a mentor is knowing that you’ve supported someone to be their best self, given them the guidance they needed to succeed in the first few years of their career, or even helped shape what their career looks like. It’s also fantastic to be able to check in with mentees some time later and be able to pick up the conversation from where we left off, and see what they have accomplished.
What do you believe are the most important skills for graduates commencing their first professional roles to focus on developing?
Two things – clear and open communication, and a growth mindset.
Clear communication is critical. Nobody knows what’s in your head, so your ability to take that information and pass it on to someone clearly makes the biggest difference.
A growth mindset is just as, if not more, important. Your career should be all about learning and development from every source, especially when you first get started.
What tips do you have for students who are about to graduate?
Graduating can be a daunting period, have confidence in yourself and your abilities! Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everybody comes from different backgrounds, experiences, and degrees among other things, so it shouldn’t be expected that you know everything.
Applications to be a mentee or mentor for Momentum in Semester 1, 2023 are now open. Click here to find out more and apply.
The ANU College of Business and Economics offers an extensive range of specialised programs. Click here for more details.