Career Design Lab

Purpose of mentoring

Mentoring requires commitment but offers personal growth and development to those who throw themselves into it - both for the actor and the mentor.
Two people walking in a tree-lined alley in Otaniemi
Photo: Mikko Raskinen

Mentoring has its origins in the Greek mythology. Since those days it has developed from a system supporting artisans and artists to a widespread method of learning and development.

Aalto University's mentoring programme is about student-alumni mentoring, the purpose of which is to support the student's career design, promote professional development and act as a bridge between study and working life. The mentors are mainly Aalto University graduates - alumni - and actors (mentees) Aalto University master's and doctoral students.

Instead of information transfer and giving instructions, mentoring is a goal-oriented and reciprocal process. The main responsibility for the mentoring relationship lies with the student who sets its goals. The mentor's role is to support and guide the student by sharing their experiences and offering different perspectives.

The programme focuses on building a mentoring relationship between the student and the mentor. In addition, joint events offer participants a chance for group mentoring and peer support, as well as networking opportunities.

Support for career design

Mentoring offers support and guidance in matters related to the student's career design and transition to working life.

Career design refers to an experimental approach to creating a sustainable career path in a radically changing working life. It is difficult to plan a career when there are no ready-made paths, and it is difficult to predict the future. Therefore, the importance of continuous learning, self-knowledge and self-management is emphasised.

A mentor can serve as valuable help in career design. In career design, it is essential to reflect on one's own strengths and values as they help one navigate the uncertain future. When talking with a mentor, an actor learns to make sense of their experiences and identify sources of meaning and competence. On this basis, it is easier to build a meaningful story that guides the actor´s own path. A mentor can also help in ideating different alternative paths and practical experiments.

Benefits of mentoring


  • Growing self-awareness and clarifying professional identity
  • Mapping your own strengths and weaknesses
  • Courage to try things you might not have done otherwise
  • Confidence, self-confidence, faith in the future
  • Advice worth more than gold
  • More information about your own interests
  • Clarification of one's own thoughts in career matters
  • More information about career options, widening scope
  • Information that there is no single career path from the education programme
  • Getting a wider perspective on things
  • The opportunity to reflect one's own views and assumptions
  • New acquaintances, contacts, networking


  • Support and challenge of career-related ideas and assumptions
  • Going through your own thoughts, values and opinions
  • Brain exercise
  • The feeling of doing meaningful volunteer work
  • It's great to share life experience, to open up new, broader perspectives for the actor
  • The opportunity to support the student and act as a conversation partner and through that get experiences of success
  • Getting to know new perspectives is also eye-opening for the mentor
  • Training for managerial work; discussion and putting oneself into the other's situation and supporting success
  • Provides a good channel for sharing knowledge based on experience
  • It's great to keep up with the university's activities, what the students think, fresh information about the student world and education
  • New energy
Tips and tools for mentoring
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