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Mentors matter: Insights from students


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Hnin Azali with her mentor Ms Theresa Tan

19 November 2021

What are the benefits of having a mentor and why should you take up a mentorship programme? The National University of Singapore Society (NUSS) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) (NUSS-NUS) Mentorship Programme is one of the many mentorship schemes in NUS. In this programme, students get paired with an experienced industry mentor in the industry of their interest and develop holistically in the process.

 

Loh Wei JIe, Oscar from the School of Computing, Class of 2021, Lee Lin Li Jasmine, Year 4, Business, and Hnin Azali, Year 3, Computing, reflect on how you can get the most out of your mentorship experience.

OSA: What were your expectations when you applied for the NUSS-NUS Mentorship Programme?

Loh Wei Jie, Oscar (OL): I wanted some guidance as I have heard from my seniors that “adulting” would be overwhelming. I wanted to learn from someone in the industry on what to look out for, and how to position yourself.

Lee Lin Li Jasmine (JL): I joined with an open heart. As an undergraduate who wanted to learn more about the banking and finance industry, I looked forward to obtaining career advice from a mentor.

OSA: Were these expectations met?

JL: Yes. I had no prior banking experience, so my mentor – Mr Piao Yu Foo, who is the Director of the Derivative Products Group within Capital Markets Origination at Scotiabank spent time sharing with me his diverse background and advice. He celebrated my small victories when I successfully secured my first banking internship, and we caught up over time where he would check in on my progress and continue giving me advice.

Hnin Azali (HA): Yes, more than 100% met! My mentor, Theresa Tan, who is a Senior Director, Software at NTT Ltd told me about her professional life journey and work ethic. Her principles align with my personal values and to hear from  a female leader in technology empowered me.

OSA: How’s your relationship with your mentor?

OL: We cycled together a few times and had good conversations. I didn’t really ask him for “tangible” things like opportunities, but rather, I was just curious to understand his insights on certain issues. For instance – how to treat money, how to be charitable, how to be a dependable person, and so on.

JL: It was a comfortable and friendly relationship. Despite age and experience differences, my mentor felt more like a friend whom I could rely on for good advice.

OSA: How would you advise someone who is interested in this programme?

HA: Read up on your mentors’ background and always come prepared with questions during the sessions. After each session, take 15 minutes to reflect and jot down learning points to internalise the discussion. Connect with the mentor on a personal level with genuine curiosity and be open to share your own personal stories.

OL: Don’t be too concerned about landing a mentor to get what you want. Instead, focus on finding a compatible mentor who can help you grow. It is good to check in with your own motivations on why you want to be part of this mentorship programme.

Contributor

Community Engagement, Office of Student Affairs