Date of release: Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Some of the students who took part in the IBM mentoring schemeGreenwich students took part in some ‘life-changing’ lessons thanks to a mentoring scheme run with computing giant IBM.

The six-month project paired more than 50 business, computing and mathematics undergraduates with mentors at IBM. Through regular meetings, as well as chats by email and phone, the mentors shared their experiences of the corporate world and offered tips and advice about careers and professional development.

IBM manager Sara Wilson, who led the scheme, described it as ‘a huge success’ for all parties. “We have received excellent feedback from both students and staff, with mentees describing the experience as ‘inspiring’, ‘motivating’ and even ‘life-changing’,” she says.

“An interesting point from a diversity perspective is that the mentoring scheme is a good way to promote careers in IT to women. The majority of mentees who wanted a placement with IBM were female, so ultimately this could lead to a more equal gender balance in the future at IBM.”

In a survey taken at the end of the scheme, the vast majority of students thought that their improved skills in communicating and presenting would help them in the jobs market. Most who took part now felt more confident in applying for graduate schemes, and nearly all said they would recommend the scheme to fellow students.

Sarah Sheikh, Business School Employer Liaison and Placements Co-ordinator at the university, adds: “The scheme helped our students to aspire to bigger and better challenges in their studies and future careers, and to work towards achieving their full potential.”

One student wrote at the end of the scheme: “My mentor showed great care and has really helped me develop professionally over the six months. I would not have been able to be so confident in interviews or assessment centres without all her help and support.”

Another wrote: “I was provided with a brilliant mentor, who was more than helpful at all times and clearly went out of his way to ensure he offered the best advice and guidance possible. I just wish it could have lasted a few more months!”

Pam Brown, Employability & Placement Officer for the university’s School of Computing & Mathematical Sciences, says: “This mentoring opportunity gave students a vision for their long-term graduate career goals, as well as giving them a first step on the ladder to a successful graduate career.”

The mentors were members of the IBM Foundation, which manages the company’s UK graduate, student and apprenticeship programmes.

The achievements of Greenwich students who devote time to both volunteering and mentoring were honoured in a special ceremony at the university in June, which highlighted the valuable contributions they make to the wider community.

Story by Public Relations