Mentoring helps achieve goals

Application period for Aalto University mentoring programme continues through 10 May.
Senior Business Manager Eira Vatanen (in the middle presenting herself) was one of the panelists in the Life after Graduation event.

'It has been a lot of fun to help this young M.Sc. (Econ.) and give her a boost in seeing a job. We have gone into the fundamentals, self-knowledge has increased on both sides', says Microsoft Mobile Ltd. Senior Business Manager and certified business coach Eira Vatanen describing the results of the mentoring programme. She is serving as a mentor for the second time.

In the mentoring programme, a student who has recently graduated, or is about to graduate, is given an alumnus who has graduated from Aalto University, and who has amassed some experience at work, as a mentor. The mentors come from a variety of fields, and their work varies from expert tasks to managerial and administrative positions.

Mentoring offers the person being mentored - the actor - the possibility to get support in career planning and applying for jobs, and the possibility to get new points of view in setting personal goals for life after graduation. Meanwhile, the mentor gets to help the actor in these considerations.

'Mentoring is very familiar to me. I took part in the Finnish Association of Business School Graduates mentoring programme as a person being mentored", Eira Vatanen says. 

'I think I learned about the Aalto programme a couple of years ago through AlumniNET, although I had heard about the programme through my circle of acquaintances, and it had been discussed. When I worked in economic management at Nokia several years ago, we created a global mentoring process, at which time I got to examine mentoring from number of different points of view', Eira Vatanen adds.

Participation in the mentoring programme requires commitment

'The first time that I was in the Aalto mentoring programme I didn't express any particular wishes with respect to the actor, and at that time I got a foreign male student. The programme with him was not completed, however, because many big things were happening in his life at the time and he did not have time for meetings or for the mentoring process. This second time I voiced some preferences concerning the person being mentored. I asked for a woman student because I felt that this time I would specifically want to support a woman in making decisions on her career.'

'I have met seven times with the actor, about once a month for an hour to an hour and a half each time. Our meetings have been very structured and my actor has prepared for them meticulously, doing work in advance of the meetings.'

Eira describes their first meeting, when they went on a walk, got to know each other on an informal level, and agreed on the ground rules. At their second meeting they set goals and gauges for the programme. Since then they have fixed the actor's CV, analysed her personality using various tools, conducted a SWOT analysis, and discussed values. There has also been talk about hidden jobs, since many jobs are filled without ever being advertised in newspapers or on line.

Openness, trust, and a desire to help are at the core of mentoring

'I am happy that my actor has been diligent, and that we have done the tasks that we have agreed on both together and separately. Our activity has been goal-oriented'.

'I warmly recommend serving as a mentor for working experts and managers who genuinely want to share their own experiences and to be of help to students or the recently graduated, who are thinking about how they will fit into the world of work', Eira Vatanen says.

Apply for the mentoring programme at AlumniNET (in Finnish)

Further information:
Kaisa Hölttä                                                
Aalto University, External Relations                      
[email protected]                                    
tel. +358 50 301 1608       


The School of Business Career Services organised a Life After Graduation career afternoon for MSc students in the final two years of their studies on April 22, 2015. At the event they received valuable tips from alumni and employers on work, work applications, and career planning for the time after graduation. The mentoring programme was also presented to both alumni and students at the event. Represented at the event were Finnish Business School Graduates, Internly, Microsoft Mobile, Posti, EY,  Fiskars, Nestlé, The Boston Consulting Group, CGI, L’Oréal Finland, Sihti IT, Academic Work, PwC, Deloitte, Procter & Gamble, HCL Technologies, Dream Broker, Nordea, Vainu and KPMG. Nearly 80 students took part in the event, taking advantage of the opportunity to network with potential future employers.

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