Mentoring is an interactive relationship between two individuals – the mentee and the mentor. In LUT's mentoring programme, alumni assist students in developing their professional skills and identifying their own assets and strengths. For alumni, mentoring offers fresh perspectives on today's student world and an opportunity for self-reflection on their own expertise. Successful mentoring requires active engagement, commitment, openness, and trust of both parties.
According to last year's mentors, Petteri Rantamäki and Valentina Smelova, mentoring at its best is meaningful collaboration where both sides learn. The key lies in personal motivation and a genuine desire to help the students – the mentees – discover their own path in the professional world.
accounting office specialist, Visma
"Probing questions are one of the mentor's greatest assets"
Petteri Rantamäki joined the LUT Mentoring Programme to support students in becoming experts in their fields and to learn new things and approaches himself. Rantamäki has mentored several individuals.
"Although situations are always unique, there are certain common factors and methods that can help achieve various goals," says Rantamäki, an accounting office specialist at Visma.
This is why Rantamäki always starts the mentoring process with specific steps in mind.
"Getting to know each other and setting goals are the foundation for everything else. Additionally, I like to understand the mentee's personality, so I can consider the person’s traits during our collaboration and support them to the best of my ability. Once these things are in place, the groundwork for mentoring is done."
Rantamäki also mentions a shared journal as an important tool, where both the mentor and the mentee record notes as the process progresses. “Homework” assignments are also a good way to prepare for the mentor-mentee meetings.
"A systematic approach enhances collaboration and enables achieving set goals," Rantamäki reminds.
Rantamäki's view is that mentoring is challenging but rewarding.
"For a mentor, the best moments are when the mentee is encouraged to turn an uncertain idea or goal into concrete action. These moments often involve realizing new things about oneself."
Rantamäki encourages becoming a mentor, as mentorship always benefits both parties.
"Approach mentoring with an open mind – it's human-to-human collaboration where probing questions are one of the mentor's greatest assets."
Petteri’s and Valentina's tips for new mentors:
2. Commit to the programme's schedule from start to finish.
3. Strive to understand your mentee.
4. Be reachable during the programme.
5. Remember: it's not about you – it’s about the mentee.
"Togetherness and commitment are key factors in the mentoring process"
Valentina Smelova sees mentoring as particularly suitable for those who want to share their experiences and who are simultaneously willing to think from new perspectives.
"As a mentor, it's possible to share views and thoughts in a meaningful way, as mentees also teach us, for instance, about the latest research topics and themes." says Smelova, who is currently working as a development manager at Neste and as a consultant entrepreneur.
Like Rantamäki, Smelova considers mentoring as an opportunity to develop her own skills. Smelova's positive experiences with mentoring led her to participate in the LUT Mentoring Programme.
"I especially wanted to help international students find their career paths in Finland. I feel that I've received support throughout my career, so now I wanted to give back."
Smelova got invaluable advice from a mentor she found within her close circle when she herself had just graduated from LUT.
Smelova stresses that openness and trust are fundamental elements in mentoring, as they enable discussions about challenges related to work, such as handling negative emotions. A sense of togetherness and a positive atmosphere between the mentor and the mentee are pivotal in such a process. She also underlines the significance of attitude and sincerity.
"The mentor's attitude can greatly influence the nature of the mentor–mentee collaboration."
According to Smelova, in addition to the factors above, commitment at a concrete and mental level is essential to fully benefit from mentoring.
"Both the mentor and the mentee must set aside time from their everyday lives for the mentoring programme."
consultant entrepreneur and
development manager, Neste
LUT Mentoring Programme
- want to support a student’s readiness for the labour market;
- can commit to meeting with the mentor approximately once a month;
- have at least five years of work experience.
The schedules and application form for the LUT Mentoring Programme are available on the website of LUT Alumni Relations.
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