10 January 2019

Could mentoring by alumni offer a connection and competitive edge to Management students?

Katharine Radford, Year in Business Programme Officer explains more

By Development and Alumni Relations Team

In 2015, Royal Holloway School of Management celebrated its 25th Anniversary. We have alumni all over the world who have built successful careers in a wide range of areas be it entrepreneurs who have established their own businesses or experts and leaders in Marketing, Human Resources, Finance, Consultancy and beyond. What more can we now do to link alumni from all over the world to our current students? How can we benefit from this expertise to help develop our students so that they can build broad professional competencies in addition to the knowledge about Management theory they are learning with us at Royal Holloway.

As the costs of going to university increase, students and their parents are increasingly looking at the benefits of a university degree and also the longer term employability prospects. The School of Management’s Year in Business (YIB) programme is one of those programmes introduced due to this increased focus on employability. Indeed, 79% of our final year YIB students say that the opportunity to gain work experience to enhance their CVs and career prospects was the main motivation for signing up to the programme.

Our first students went out on placement in 2014/15 and in this current year we have 130 2nd year Management students seeking placements and we have introduced a buddy system linking 2nd years with final year students back from their placements. These finalists were at companies ranging from large multinationals, GE, HBO and Oracle to small SMEs, Lemonade Reward, Winser London and Richard Davies Investor Relations.

4Our Year in Business LinkedIn group is already connecting those YIBs who have graduated with those starting their university degree. Those who have completed placements at companies are gladly linking with those seeking placements at those same companies to offer insights and guidance. Many returned enthusiastically for our Year in Business networking drinks in the beautiful Picture Gallery in November and inspired those same 2nd year students.

Looking forward, we would like to use our LinkedIn Year in Business group to allow informal mentoring enabling alumni and students to self-select for mentoring purposes so that likeminded individuals pair up naturally. Options exist to exchange email advice or possibly meet for a coffee and informal chat 2 – 3 times per year.

We fully understand that alumni may not all work at companies offering the option of a 12 month placement programme but are seeking those who have an interest in offering guidance and support to students preparing themselves for the workplace. These alumni can give an insight into the realities of working in specific professions, what they like about roles, the challenges and how to get into the industry encouraging their mentee can realise their full potential.

Looking forward we sincerely believe that a key way to grow the employability of Royal Holloway Management graduates is to use networks in this way to aid the professional development of our community. We appreciate any assistance our alumni can offer. Please do contact Katharine Radford, the Year in Business Programme Officer, in order to discuss further: Katharine.radford@rhul.ac.uk or via LinkedIn.

Read more about our Management students on our Year in Business blog.