Mentoring, which is gaining in popularity following various government actions, is a practice that has already proven its worth in terms of academic support, professional guidance or even career counselling. The lack of knowledge about mentoring programmes sometimes leads to a certain reticence on the part of institutions and alumni associations, and this is wrong!
What kind of mentoring to support its students?
Mentoring is defined as the support, help or exchange between two individuals (mentor and mentee) especially for personal development, but also and especially for career development. The definition is simple, but there are different types of mentoring that are more or less suitable for students!
You can move towards one-to-one mentoring, the most traditional version of mentoring relationships, where the mentor and mentee make a long-term commitment to build their relationship around a predefined theme. In this case, it could be preparing for a competition, building a professional project, discovering a sector of activity, etc. The most important thing is that the people involved benefit from the relationship, as its aim is to enrich both members of the pair.
You can also go for flash mentoring, or Meet & Share. This is an accelerated version of mentoring where the mentee sometimes has a specific request that the mentor can answer very quickly, and the relationship does not need to last longer. It is also a format that requires less investment, which is valuable depending on the availability of your members.
Building its career through mentoring
Many schools and universities are launching their mentoring programme and making it a major asset in their training. For example, Sciences Po Lille presents its programme as an additional career service, professionalizing students and allowing them to approach the choices to be made during their studies with more confidence.
It is very important today for a student to be able to have visibility on his or her future career. Who better to inform them than a professional in the sector or function that the student is considering? In this respect, your alumni are the best source of information for career guidance, as they have gone through the same stages as the student they will be accompanying. It is therefore important to identify the key moments in the student’s career where mentoring will have the most impact. This can be at the time of choosing a course of study in business school or engineering school, or before choosing the end-of-study internship, which is very important for a career.
It is essential to frame your programme, for example by means of a charter of good conduct. Mentors are not there to do the student’s work, or even to find them an internship. Their role is to support their mentee in the construction of their professional project, by questioning them and giving them food for thought. Former students are often asked to participate in the mentoring programme. This allows them to give back what the school gave them, or even to give the students what they would have liked to have had during their schooling.
In conclusion, mentoring is a powerful career support tool for your students, and a strong argument in the professionalisation of your training. Above all, mentoring is a human activity that connects your students and alumni, allows you to build links between these different generations and strengthen your network! And if you want to learn everything about mentoring, we suggest you download our white paper which includes the testimonies of our partner networks.