Having her letter to the editor published in the Australian Financial Review and a subsequent phone call from an impressed reader and AMP Executive, were unforeseen highlights of the academic semester for twenty-year-old student, Alexandra Gall.

Alexandra and 16 other students from the UNSW Business School BCom (International) program have each completed a three month mentorship with a senior Australian business leader. Mentors for the annual initiative are drawn from the School’s most accomplished group of graduates, Alumni Leaders, who work with students to build their business and networking skills outside of the classroom. For Alexandra, the program was an opportunity to get to know mentor, John Abernethy (BCom ’82) Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer of Clime Investment Management Limited. Driving to the Sky News television studio where John was due to be interviewed, Alexandra shared some of her strongly-held views on the topic of young people and superannuation. John encouraged Alexandra to submit her ideas in the form of a letter to the AFR where fortune would see an AMP Executive read them and phone the undergraduate student asking her to consult to the company on the issue. The opportunity highlights a central benefit of mentoring partnerships – the boost to a student’s professional and personal confidence.

As the mentoring program concludes, Alexandra is preparing to spend a year on academic exchange at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

The Bachelor of Commerce (International) at the UNSW Business School is a specialised business program for high achieving undergraduate students, and includes a one-year international study exchange.

The Alumni Leaders Mentor Program pairs students with a senior business figure just prior to their international year where it is hoped learnings and new-found confidence can be put into practice.

Student, Edwin Chow was mentored by Rod de Aboitiz (MBA Exec ’04), Founder of specialist advisory firm, Provecho Partners. Edwin had the chance to visit Rod’s place of work on a weekly basis and met with eight of Rod’s employees, giving him a broad and complete picture of the organisation. Edwin says a highlight of the opportunity was completing work tasks set by Rod which were carefully designed to develop his problem solving skills and take Edwin out of his comfort zone. Edwin also attended a prestigious lunch event at the Hilton Hotel for the Financial Management Association of Australia where Rod was special guest speaker.

Other mentors on the program included David Tudehope (BCom ’90), CEO, Macquarie Telecom and Wendy Holdenson (MCom ’91), Director and Executive Vice President, Mitsui & Co. (Australia) Ltd.

The Alumni Leaders Mentor Program is part of a suite of mentoring initiatives at the UNSW Business School including the Career Mentoring Program and the new pilot program, Career Accelerator that connects students with graduate advisors online.