In student mentoring, the student's, or the actor's, wishes and dreams about career, studies and life management are processed openly with a more experienced mentor. Every year, the Aalto mentoring programme brings together three hundred Finnish and foreign students and alumni in Finland and abroad.
School of Business students Janne Oksa and Fiona Jokivuolle participated as actors in the Aalto mentoring programme in the semester 2017–2018.
‘Applicants needed to indicate three interests, and mentoring pairs were formed based on them. For me at least, it worked very well. Thanks to the successful match and the expertise of my mentor, our discussions have been very rewarding and improving’, says Janne Oksa.
Fiona Jokivuolle also reports receiving new insights from her mentor about her field of interest and about working life, looking for work, management and leadership.
‘Thanks to this programme, I have also been able to take an in-depth look at my employment plans, dreams, qualities and strengths with my mentor. My mentor has really supported me and been an excellent sparring partner for me. I have been able to reflect on new thoughts and bounce ideas off my mentor. We have also talked about me doing my master's thesis and about the topic for my master's thesis, and I am extremely grateful about that’, continues Fiona Jokivuolle.
Both Janne and Fiona recommend participating in mentoring during studies, particularly when the transition to working life is beginning to be relevant. Mentoring provides a good process for making important decisions and developing self-awareness.
‘Especially if your thoughts are kind of an unclear mess, mentoring will certainly help clarify them, with the help of the opinions and ideas of another, more experienced person’, Fiona says.
Planning and implementation of mentoring is based on experience gained over decades
School of Business alumna Ritva Väänänen is one of the current mentors.
‘Officially, my mentoring period ends in May, but I have promised to be available in the future, during the master's thesis and job-seeking processes. Mentoring has been very refreshing, and it has also clarified my own thoughts. It is interesting to get to know young people’s world better. The things young adults worry about are surprisingly constant: Am I good enough? How can I join working life? Will I do well? What is it like to build a career as a woman? How systematic do I need to be?’
Ritva Väänänen has an international background, so she had thought that she could best support a foreign student.
‘However, I was matched with a Finnish student who turned out to be a lovely, interesting and open person. The student is struggling with the same kinds of things as I have dealt with my whole career. It is amazing that we were matched, as neither of us had included all the things we have in common in the application. The organisational side of mentoring is clearly based on a foundation of experience and good instincts.’
‘My most important task has been to reassure and help my mentee to clarify her thoughts. I have shared my experiences of working life and offered different solutions that way. For me, it has been nice to see that my life experience is valuable. In my dream community, there are both young and enthusiastic people and us who give perspective.’
Ritva Väänänen is very pleased that she decided to join the mentoring programme.
‘We have met about once a month, a couple of hours at a time. ‘We have had a meandering free-form discussion about 3–4 topics on each meeting. I hope and believe that my mentee has taken notes and written down the insights she has had. In addition, we have emailed back and forth a little. I have also done some homework, meaning that I have gathered background information for following meetings. It will be interesting to follow my mentee's career in the future. I wish her all the best and that she will find a community worth her great energy so that she can fulfil herself and grow.’
The application period for the Aalto University's student-alumni mentoring programme in 2018–2019 is from 3 April to 3 May.