All of us have looked up to that one person for advice or have sought help to plan the way ahead, make critical decisions or generally to get by during the tough times in our lives. This person whom you seek out is typically a Mentor. A role played by different people at different stages of our lives. It could be a friend, parent, spouse, colleague or senior.
When I think about my days spent in college, I specifically remember the 4th semester. I was studying engineering and the results of the 3rd semester (I was down with jaundice at the time) were declared and I had failed in 4 out of 6 subjects. I gave up all hope of graduating that year. That’s when I spoke to one of my seniors, who helped me plan the rest of the semester and get me back on track. With 10 exams lined up to clear that year, I followed his advice religiously and managed to clear 9 out of those 10 subjects. This piece of advice not only helped me in that semester but also helped me throughout my engineering days and while studying for my MBA. My senior played the role of a Mentor for me at that stage, getting me through one of the toughest times of my life and somehow helping me find the willpower I thought I had lost.
A “Student Mentor” at UpGrad plays a similar role in the lives of our learners (our customers) who are looking to make a career transition and hoping to build a better future through a better career. A Student Mentor works for months with a learner – taking care of his learning experience, helping him out with his queries, planning steps to make a move in the desired direction for a career transition and also motivating and encouraging him throughout this journey.
Although a week is a very small time frame to showcase how the Student Mentor actually makes a difference to a learner’s life…
Let me take you through what a week in the life of a Student Mentor looks like:
To make it easy to understand, I will divide this week into four stages; assessing, planning, executing and my personal favorite – preparing learners for the weekend battle.
Stage 1 — Assessing
The first day of the week starts with assessing where your learners are, how did they perform in the last week, did they manage to achieve all their goals, what did they miss out on, what were the primary concerns, etc. This helps a Student Mentor gauge where his Cohort (Batch) of students he’s responsible for, stands.
Stage 2 — Planning
This is where things start to get interesting. Your role now becomes cross-functional i.e you interact with various teams at UpGrad like the Content Team (Responsible for developing and managing the course content), Program Team (Responsible for managing schedules, strategy and the vision of the program), and the Technology Team (Responsible for enabling technology that ensures delivery of a seamless learning experience). A Student Mentor collaborates with all these teams to plan the actionables that will ensure a seamless and delightful experience for the learners.
Stage 3 — Execution
This stage primarily involves interacting with the learners through various modes of communication — appreciating the ones who have taken the effort to stay on track despite their busy schedules; motivating the ones who have started to slow down and get them back on track and pulling up the ones who have given up. The key to this communication is to clearly highlight what were the rights, the wrongs and what should be the direction ahead.
Stage 4 — Preparing for the weekend battle
This is the most crucial step and my personal favorite. This will not only ensure that your learners are well prepared to learn in the best manner and achieve all of their goals set for the weekend, but will also define how your weekend as a Student Mentor is going to be. At this stage, a Student Mentor ensures that all the bits that will be crucial for a learner to complete his necessary goals from the technology, scheduling and content perspective, are in place.
Apart from the stages mentioned above, a Student Mentor is also involved in a lot of other activities throughout the week (though this is not every week, but is a major part of a Student Mentors plan), such as planning for Mentoring Sessions and Calls with Industry Experts, Career Services, Live Webinars, and various Offline Networking Events (UpGrad Base Camp), etc.
All these steps, week on week, add up to delivering a kickass experience for a learner with the objective of making a tangible difference to his life and helping him achieve his career objective. Sure, the work can get tiring at times, but the end result of having made an actual difference to someone’s life will definitely give you the sense of satisfaction and joy that makes it all worth it.