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David Mark (French and German 1979)

Career Mentoring - David Mark

David Mark (French and German 1979), Executive Director at MSCI mentored final year student Hannah Robinson as part of the University’s Career Mentor Scheme. David lives and works in Germany but this was no obstacle to acting as a mentor.  Their partnership has been a great success, culminating in Hannah being offered a position on the Aon Graduate Programme.

Exeter Career Mentors come in many guises: teachers, scientists, bankers, marketers, charity workers, actors, engineers, entrepreneurs, civil servants, lawyers, consultants and more. Last year 250 alumni gave their time to the scheme and they all have one thing in common: a desire to help students prepare for a rewarding life after graduation.

David and Hannah began their mentoring partnership in November 2015, using Skype to keep in touch. As David explained, ‘the borders don't really matter. As soon as you're more than about 100 miles away from each other, it makes no difference if you're in another country or not. We exchanged emails and hooked up via Skype or Facetime. I think you do need to be able to look someone in the eye, so I would find it much harder if our interaction had been by phone.’ Hannah believes that using Skype was also great preparation for several Skype interviews she had with employers.

Hannah believes David’s help was invaluable and really improved her applications, especially for building rapport, networking and specific interview questions. David is convinced that Hannah did all the hard work ‘she’s the one who deserves the plaudits for her perseverance, there were a couple of rejections , but she stuck to her guns and I’m sure that makes for a convincing, confident candidate.’

For Hannah, the best thing about working with a mentor was being able to get to know an impartial professional ‘having a professional who is outside university or family to help guide you at this crucial crossroads when finishing university is very important.’

David and Hannah both recommend using Skype for mentoring as it helped to build their relationship much faster than an exchange of emails or phone calls. For Hannah, contact through one or two 30-minute Skype calls each month seems about the perfect amount of time required.

This was David’s first time acting as a mentor but he advises any alumni considering helping a student in this way to ‘Do it! ...It doesn't take up a lot of time, can hopefully be helpful to a student, and provides satisfaction when it works. It helps you see the world from a different perspective. I look forward to working with another student over the coming months.’

If you are considering helping an Exeter student as a career mentor, please visit the Career Mentor Scheme webpages for further information about the programme.

Date: 24 May 2016

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