Loughborough Alumni

Giving your time

Mentoring

Alumni can become mentors to students or fellow alumni – or you can find a mentor yourself using our online platform.

You can register to find a mentor or to become a mentor on our online platform, Lboro Connect.

Using the platform, you can share experiences through mentoring and networking with fellow alumni and students. The platform provides an opportunity for you to ask questions about working in industry, application processes and to build your professional network.

By becoming a mentor, you could provide expertise to students and graduates who are preparing to take the first steps in their career – or progress into new roles.

Meeting your mentoring match

Mentoring can help both alumni and current students make vital professional links whilst exchanging ideas, opinions and encouragement specific to your industry and career paths. This is only helped by both parties understanding and benefitting from the Loughborough experience. 

Read below the first-hand experiences of Sarah Roberts, who graduated in 2013 with an M.Sc. in Sport Management, and her mentor Gemma Godfrey, who graduated in 2006 with an M.Eng. in Systems Engineering. Both Sarah and Gemma explain why they joined Lboro Connect, and how being part of the career mentoring process was beneficial for them. 

Why did you choose to sign up to Lboro Connect?

Sarah: I signed up to network with other alumni. As an international student, I’ve found it difficult to network with people outside of my small group of postgraduate course-mates. Lboro Connect has given me the opportunity not only to find alumni working in my field, but also in my geographic area.

Thus far, I’ve made the most use out of Lboro Connect’s map feature. This is first time I’ve been able to connect with alumni in North America, and it has made me feel much more engaged with the overall Alumni Association.

Gemma: I was a member of the Alumni Advisory Board at the time and I created an account as an early-adopter of the platform. 

As an ambassador and representative of the Alumni Association, I created an account and immediately saw the networking value and professional development resources available to undergraduates and alumni alike.

How did you gain your mentoring relationship?

Sarah: I reached out to Gemma because she and I work in similar fields. She was also, geographically speaking, the closest alumna to me.

We began communicating first via Lboro Connect, and then moved to email, Skype, and Whatsapp. I would estimate that we communicate about every 4-6 weeks.

Gemma: When creating your profile, you are asked whether you would like to mentor or be a mentee - I selected both. With 12 years of industry expertise, I felt I had something to offer to recent graduates or those seeking a career in my industry area. 

I’m still learning, though, so I was definitely interested in receiving advice - mentorship can take many forms at different stages of your professional career.

Not long after I had signed up, Sarah reached out to me via Lboro Connect and we started there, quickly moving to Skype and WhatsApp, as we both preferred the face-to-face aspect. 

What were you hoping to achieve from the mentoring relationship?

Sarah: I received my postgraduate degree in Sport Management and although I’m working in my field in the US, I would eventually like to relocate back to the UK.

Because British and American sporting structures are quite different, I wanted to find a mentor that had experience with both. I was very lucky to find Gemma! Having her as a resource has been incredible. She and I have significant professional commonalities and are roughly the same age. 

Gemma also served on Loughborough’s Alumni Advisory Board, and I work for a university sport department in Alumni Relations and Development. I shared my interest in getting more involved with Loughborough’s Alumni Association, and Gemma is supporting me in this also.

Our mentoring relationship has definitely exceeded my expectations.

Gemma: For me, I was seeking an opportunity to help others, as giving back is very important to me. I work for a very small, independent organisation, where giving back is very much self-activated.  The Lboro Connect platform allowed me a very tangible opportunity to give back in a meaningful way.

User profiles are granular enough so that like-minded individuals such as Sarah and I are able to find one another for industry-specific information exchange. 

As a member of the Alumni Advisory Board, I was also seeking ways to grow our network. Sarah was very interested in engaging more with our Alumni network, which is fantastic given her experience within US Colleges Alumni Relations and Development programmes.

North America is a key strategic area of development for our university, so it was win-win all around.

What insights have you achieved?

Sarah: What I appreciate most about Lboro Connect is that the Alumni Association has clearly prioritised meaningful alumni engagement by investing in this networking service.

I see this not only as an investment in the future of individual alumni, but also as an investment in the future of the University. Engaged alumni feel more compelled to serve and support their alma mater.

The Lboro Connect platform clearly demonstrates that the University is just as committed to their alumni as they are to their current students. This is incredibly encouraging, and in my mind, is one of the reasons Loughborough is an industry leader.

Gemma: Loughborough University has made leaps and bounds in its focus and prioritisation of the Alumni Association during the six years I served on the Alumni Advisory Board. 

Platforms like Lboro Connect are powerful tools to help alumni networks grow in an organic and mutually beneficial way.

It gives alumni and undergraduates alike a professional playground to share ideas, job prospects, mentoring opportunities, meet virtually, offer professional expertise and so much more, just the way it should be, alumni to alumni.   

What are the benefits of mentoring?

Sarah: The most beneficial part of my mentorship with Gemma is that we are there to encourage one another. She and I can discuss our professional goals, bounce ideas off of each other, and ask for advice. 

When Gemma and I first started communicating, I was dealing with a particularly difficult professional situation, so I really appreciated having a neutral person there for support.

Outside of my course-mates, Gemma is the only person I regularly interact with that understands my Loughborough experience. That is invaluable to me.

Gemma: It has been an absolute pleasure to get to know Sarah. She is a very talented and inspiring individual and a rising star in her industry, so definitely a great connection to make. Her energy is infectious - we spent almost two hours on our first call together!

Our discussions have also helped me to understand the landscape of both our industry and the alumni connection in the US a little better. For me, it highlighted the importance of recognising just how different each Loughborough experience for all alumni is – and our duty to support international students as best as we can, no matter where they are located.

Aside from our professional conversations, Sarah is full of ideas and has a great appetite and zest for life, so we definitely have a lot in common! 

Being out here in Bermuda can be challenging at times, as it feels very far away from home and there are only a handful of Loughborough graduates on our small island.  We check in with each other regularly and it’s safe to say I have a new Loughborough connection in Alabama!

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