This year, an exciting initiative was introduced by the School of Business at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) to connect final year students to past graduates of the Institute. Titled ‘The Alumni Mentoring Programme’, the aim of this initiative is to allow for final year Business students to learn from the professional experiences of a past WIT graduate, gaining firsthand insights into graduate careers and professional life.
The Alumni Mentoring Programme was introduced on the Bachelor of Business (Hons) programme this year and final year Marketing students were allocated a mentor. All mentors were past graduates of the Bachelor of Business (Hons) programme at WIT and are now owners/managers or working in senior positions in such diverse industries as banking, IT, education, the drinks industry, the food industry and the B2B sector.
The programme offers a unique opportunity for these alumni to re-engage with WIT and with the School of Business in particular. One such mentor was Leighton Wall, past graduate of the WIT School of Business and currently Vodka Regional Brand Director, with Diageo in Latin America & the Caribbean. He commented “I am delighted and feel quite honoured to be part of such a highly beneficial mentoring programme with Waterford Institute of Technology. I found the programme very rewarding and really enjoyed the opportunity to share my experiences in marketing and advice on careers within marketing with a highly motivated and high calibre graduate. I personally got a great deal out of the experience and I feel worthwhile initiatives such as this can really help bridge the gap between undergraduate and working in business”.
Through individual mentor guidance, the programme aims to support and encourage final year students to manage their own career development, maximise their potential and develop skills to improve their employment prospects. According to Gretta Fitzpatrick, final year marketing student on the Bachelor of Business (Hons.) programme, “The WIT Alumni Mentoring Programme facilitates students in becoming career focused, and at the right time, when it is needed most – as a final year student entering the market. The relationship allows students to engage with those in industry and adds a market dynamic to academic life”.
Alumni Mentoring Programme Manager, Marie O’ Dwyer, Marketing Lecturer at WIT commented “This programme has been hugely important in enhancing our students’ learning experience. The hope is that this pioneering mentoring programme will prove critical in helping students prepare for an increasingly tough labour market and help them to develop networks that provide them with inside knowledge and competitive advantage. We are grateful to all the mentors and mentees who participated in the programme this year. The mentors provided the final year students with invaluable guidance, encouragement and motivation at this important juncture in their educational development”.