Ian Martin with previous mentee, Kate Cragg

Volunteer in the Spotlight: Ian Martin

For our latest ‘In the Spotlight’ feature, we spoke to Ian Martin (Economics 1971), Management Consultant for IHM Associates, about his experience of mentoring Exeter students for the University’s Career Mentor Scheme.

What inspired you to volunteer your time to help Exeter students?  I was asked to do this, and was pleased to agree. I had been thinking for some time about how I might contribute to my old University, and this was one avenue. I have also been involved with other initiatives with the University, including the development of the crowd funding and investment schemes for University research programmes.

How do you think the students benefit from your support? I think that my major contribution in assisting the career development planning of the students falls into two areas. Firstly sharing my experience of working in the industries of finance, banking and management consultancy, and secondly, helping the students to understand that career planning is a very inexact science, and progress is made in small steps. I also encourage the students to look at what is happening in the world and how it might affect their future plans. Initially it was a surprise to me how little the students know about the business world, so now I work with my mentees to improve this aspect.

How much of a time commitment is your mentoring activity for you?  Probably 3-4 days per mentee, spread over 6-9 months

What do you enjoy most about mentoring students?  The differences in the students I meet and adapting my approach to their specific characters and requirements.

Do you remember receiving any support from alumni during your time as a student? If so, did this help? If not, what kind of support would have helped? When I graduated (in 1971) career planning was minimal - the milk round and an office where details of graduate positions were posted on the notice board. I think there was a career officer, but I'm not sure. No alumni help, as I recall. I think that scheme of alumni assisting students in their career planning is a great scheme, and it would have been very welcome in those days.

If you think you might be interested in becoming a Mentor, or want to find out more about the Career Mentor Scheme, please contact us at careermentorscheme@exeter.ac.uk or call 01392 722034.

Date: 15 March 2016

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