From Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg to Christian Dior and Yves Saint-Laurent, many of the world’s most successful people ascribe their rise to power to being nurtured by a wise mentor. But if you want to follow a similar path, where can you start?

Though networking events, LinkedIn and direct approaches to people you admire are all ways to find a mentor, if you’re a VU student, the process is far easier.

Each year, VU’s Talent Connect Mentoring Programs match final-year students and recent graduates with mentors from the University’s rich alumni and industry network to assist them in their transition to their career. Through one-on-one mentoring sessions, mentees gain advice and support regarding employability skills, career direction, networking and job interviews and applications.

Here are some of their stories.

Will & Mohammed

Mentor: Will Thompson, Agile Transformation Lead, VU IT Services

“I was paired with an incredible mentee: A multi-lingual, widely educated and multi-disciplined individual who had finished his Master of Project Management at VU. Through the program he wanted to find his first professional role.

"We met weekly, which enabled me to get to know him and understand his motivations and goals. At the end of our first session I challenged him to step outside his comfort zone and start contacting recruiters directly to pitch himself for roles. In a short period of time, he had multiple interviews locked in.

"We worked together on interview preparation, business networking and ‘elevator pitches’ of his skills. He soon secured a fantastic role in Project Management and our relationship continues as he enters the profession.”

Mentee: Mohammed Mahmoud, Master of Project Management

“Will was a great mentor. I was able to be myself with him and share my thoughts without feeling judged or being cautious about discussing my weaknesses. And this is one of the major powers of having the right mentor: you can be honest about your thoughts and get the proper guidance you need.

"Besides technical insight into the project management industry, Will and I also talked about interpersonal skills, which encouraged me to take certain steps I would have never have taken without his support. This has boosted my self-confidence in so many ways. I’m so thankful to have met Will and appreciate the time he’s given me. The Talent Connect program made a perfect match.”

Will coached Mohammed in the project management industry.

Mohammed gained confidence and found a position in his goal industry.

Manuel & Subin

Mentor: Manuel Bervanakis, Infrastructure Services Manager, VU IT Services

“Having 30 years' industry experience, I was able to provide my mentee with advice on how to best harness his skills and knowledge to meet career objectives. He was able to use the advice I provided and highlight his strengths from past experiences to attain a competitive graduate role. 

“As mentors, we can bring success not only to the mentee but to VU as a whole by ensuring our students are not only employable but highly valuable to the organisation that employs them.”

Mentee: Subin Shrestha, Bachelor of Engineering

“Manuel was an exceptional mentor to me. He listened and understood my career goals, vision, experiences and accomplishment and boosted me with the confidence to get into my engineering field.

“He helped me become a better version of myself rather than trying to mould me to his perspective. I was prepared for the challenges and opportunities that I would encounter as a young graduate in the industry, as well as offered tips to tackle them wisely. And with his immense support, I was able to secure my first professional engineering role as a Graduate Road & Drainage Engineer with local government!”

Manuel helped Subin gain confidence and prepare for employment.

Subin is now celebrating attaining his dream grad role.

Jill & Wendy

Mentor: Jill Mancarella, Senior Change Manager, VU IT Services

“As a mentor, I was given the opportunity to share my professional experience, gained over many years, and use this to guide my mentee and enhance her career options.

“I was able to arrange further internal opportunities for her within her chosen field, as well as reinforce my own knowledge. Working with a mentee who has passion, enthusiasm and energy has helped me look at problems with fresh eyes.”

Mentee: Wendy Natalia, Master of Project Management

"The mentorship program has given me a lot of valuable experience and knowledge in supporting my career goals. Jill, my mentor, let me join Project Management Office meetings, shadow Agile squads to learn Agile rituals, participate in risk management workshops, governance and even financial management.

“She also helped with my interview skills, and with how to create a good resume and respond to selection criteria. But the most important experience I gained was insight into project management processes, which is a crucial piece of knowledge towards my career goals. The mentorship program is something I’d encourage all soon-to-be-graduate students to participate in. It was the most valuable experience."

Wendy helped Jill see work from fresh perspectives.

Wendy got hands on in VU's project management office.