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SMU Alumni Mentoring Programme

Posted on 14 Nov 2018

“Mentoring can have a profound impact on your personal growth, but you have to be open to change.” - Lois Zachary

Sometimes, do you wonder what kind of job will be suitable for you after graduation and if Social Sciences was the right major to read to land yourself a job at your desired company?

I’m sure more often than not, you hope to find someone - who has gone thru this, to lend you a pair of helping hands and to share his/her experiences with you.  

If the above speaks for you, and you are looking for a platform to seek clarity and enlightenment to your running thoughts, join the SMU Alumni Mentoring Programme!

The SMU Alumni Mentoring Programme, managed by the Office of Alumni Relations, aims to provide a platform for mentees to realize their potential by enabling personal and professional relationships with mentors, who acts as role models and provide guidance to them.

Let’s hear from the pair of SOSS mentor and mentee – Mentor, Terese Poh (SOSS Alumni, Class of 2008) and Mentee, Crystal Ang (SOSS Student, Class of 2019), on their thoughts and experiences on the Alumni Mentoring Programme.


Interview with Terese Poh

Where are you working at right now? Could you briefly describe your current role and responsibilities?

I am currently in the debt capital markets team in Standard Chartered Bank. My role involves advising clients on the bond issuance process, specifically helping issuers in obtaining ratings from the international credit rating agencies. I advise clients on credit and rating related matters, including capital structuring and debt analysis.

What made you decide to sign up as a mentor? And what do you do as a mentor?

I have benefited from having a few mentors during my career. It was very helpful, hearing experiences from seniors and their viewpoints on issues. As a mentor, I aim to provide alternative perspectives and different points of view to my mentees, to help them in making decisions or solving problems. As we tend to interact mostly with friends who have the same experiences as ourselves, I feel it can be very helpful to hear from someone in a different stage of their career lives, on how they would approach a certain problem or react in a certain situation.

How did you get to know of the mentoring programme?

I received an email from SMU Alumni Office on the mentoring programme.

Which part of the mentoring programme do you find particularly meaningful or satisfying?

I find it meaningful when the mentee experiences an epiphany during our discussions, and could see a situation in a whole different light. I have had eye-opening experiences before (with my mentors), and I know that such instances are those, which I learnt the most. Sometimes we just need someone to tell us the blunt truth, to spur us into action or approach a problem in a different way, instead of being stuck in the labyrinth or being in denial of what we need to do.

How does a typical mentoring session looks like?

A typical mentoring session is rather flexible. We will mostly be spending time discussing issues that Crystal is facing, for example career choices, navigating the workplace, dealing with stress etc. I will also share my personal experiences that are relevant to the issue to illustrate a point or show lessons learnt. As each person has their own way of dealing with problems or making decisions, I aim to provide guidance and options, to help Crystal reach an informed decision.

What advice do you have for your SOSS Alumni who may be contemplating to join the mentoring programme?

Go for it! The mentoring programme is flexible, and can be suited to your schedule. It is also a good chance to interact and share your knowledge and experiences with SMU students.

Interview with Crystal Ang

What made you decide to sign up as a mentee? And what do you do as a mentee?

I wanted to get first-hand insights into the life of a working professional, and preferably from an SOSS Alumni and one who is currently working in an industry I intend to enter. As a mentee, I’m on the lookout for questions that I can ask Terese, especially issues relating to important career/life choices.

How did you get to know of the mentoring programme?

I knew of this programme through an email that the Alumni Office sent out.

Which part of the mentoring programme do you find particularly meaningful or satisfying?

The most meaningful part is hearing Terese’s experiences and seeing that what seems to be a currently insurmountable challenge is actually rather common, and that I don’t have to be so stressed about it! As a mentor, Terese helps to provide me with a different perspective.

How does a typical session with your mentor looks like?

We will meet at a cafe to get a drink and then proceed to talk! It could be about anything pertaining to school- related matters (i.e. courses selections), future plans or even tips on managing stress.

What advice do you have for your SOSS peers who may be contemplating to join the mentoring programme?

Just go for it! You may be hesitant about the effectiveness of such programs, but it never hurts to try and you could find yourself a great mentor who helps you through tough decisions :)

Click here to read more on the SMU Alumni Mentoring Programme.

Last updated on 14 Nov 2018 .