What do the mentors think?

Find out what the mentors think about the scheme.

Emma Packham

Emma Packham mentor

Name: Emma Packham (BSc Business Management, 2009)

Position: Faculty Alumni Officer at the University of Manchester 

"I decided to become a mentor because I wanted to support a current student in their personal and professional development and help them to realise their potential. I had a great experience at Birmingham as a student and wanted to volunteer my time to say thank you and to help enrich the experience of current students. 

As quite a recent graduate myself, I felt I could give relevant advice on the recruitment process they are likely to experience, as well as bringing in my first hand experience of recruiting students in my current role. Although I have predominantly worked in the charity and public sector and my mentee was interested in journalism, after a bit of research into her chosen career field I felt confident offering suggestions and advice about how she could gain experience and skills. 

I think the main role of a mentor is to be a sounding board for the student, offering encouragement and a bit of friendly honest advice based on your own experiences. Being a mentor was a really rewarding experience and I look forward to taking part again this year!"

Marc Stone

Marc Stone

Name: Marc Stone (BSc Accounting and Finance, 1994)

Position: Managing Director at Stone Consulting Ltd

"As a member of the Business Schools Advisory Board, I'm passionate about passing down my experience from all areas of industry and as an alumni of the University, as well as helping connect students with businesses through my network. My main desire to mentor and coach students has come with experience and my mantra has always been "if only I knew then what I know now!". 

Martin was a dream to mentor last year. An exceptionally bright student with a great future ahead. We had some very challenging discussions and made our way through some brick wall moments to help lay out the best options for him. We had lots of mad white board moments working creatively through different options. 

I think that is the most important thing for any student, as a mentor is tailoring the right option for the student. There is no one single answer. There is no right or wrong. It is all about finding what is the right advice for the students. 

Can't wait to meet more of you this year!"  

Jennifer Williamson

Jennifer Williamson

Name: Jennifer Williamson (BSc (Hons) Environmental Science, 2003)

Position: Family Law solicitor at Tony Roe Solicitors

"I came to Law from a science degree background and without the assistance of a network of friends or family in the profession. During my journey from being an aspiring law student to a qualified solicitor I have come across people willing to donate their time to help me meet my goals. I joined the mentoring scheme because I thought it would provide me with a good opportunity to help someone else like me. 

I was partnered with a law student with immense drive and ambition. I was immediately impressed by her desire to learn and take on board the various strategies I suggested. By no means was this a one way process though. The experiences my mentee described reminded me of what is needed to be a true success: willingness to identify and take opportunities, and total dedication to meeting your goals. 

When the programme completed in the summer I was thrilled to discover that my mentee had secured an impressive international internship and interviews for training contracts. I am looking forward to working with another University of Birmingham student in the future!"

James Martin

James Martin

Name: James Martin (BEng (Hons) Chemical Engineering, 1997)

Position: Client & Distribution Leader, UK at XL Insurance

"I’ve really enjoyed my first year as a mentor on this scheme. It has been a huge learning curve for me, as well as my mentee, James, and I think both of us have really benefited from the process and learned a lot about ourselves and each other.

Through the conversations we had I believe James managed to clarify in his own mind which direction he wants to take with his career plans and this has allowed him to be much more focused in his pursuit of the next steps.

For me it is fantastic to have been able to help in this small way and I look forward to working with more students in the future.

I cannot recommend this scheme highly enough both to mentors and students alike."

Matthew Goodwin

Matt Goodwin

Name: Matt Goodwin (LLB Law, 1994)

Position: Senior Consultant at Chadwick Nott

"When I heard about the UoB mentoring scheme I was keen to have a go and get involved as I had a wonderful time during my own degree years at the University and it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss to be able to give something back.

I am now mentoring my second student and it has been a really rewarding experience. Both of the students I have been asked to work with have been pursuing Law degrees with the aim being to perhaps follow a career in the legal profession, so I have been able to help and give advice about life as a lawyer, the pitfalls versus the rewards, and looking at how to try and get valuable work experience opportunities or ultimately a training contract opportunity.

Just as importantly, and perhaps where I have learned the most and have taken a huge amount myself from the whole experience, has been the more general role of just being on hand to encourage, motivate, act as a sounding board in terms of ideas and/or just when the going gets tough for a bit. I have had lovely feedback, especially from my current mentee (maybe I am learning and getting better) and I hope they feel able to come to me with any problems.

I hope to stay in touch with my current mentee, and hope to be involved again next year."

Daniel Cairns

Daniel Cairns

Name: Daniel Cairns (BSc Urban and Regional Planning, 2004)

Position: Regeneration Officer at Walsall Council

"I wish I'd had a mentor when I was at university - that's why I thought I should take the time to offer some guidance to a current student through the mentor scheme.

It's a difficult balancing act to be encouraging without being bland as well as cautious without being cynical. But once I realised that what to me feels like only limited experience and awareness of opportunities is actually useful to someone who is 100% focussed on essays and exams, the difficult part became limiting our expectations.

The benefits of mentoring are two-way: I also got to think about my own motivations and direction, and remind myself of a few things."