Mentorship successes: Here’s how Xingrong’s mentor helped her build confidence to pursue her dream career

Mentorships at University of BristolBSc Philosophy and Economics student Xingrong signed up for the Professional Liaison Network’s Mentorship Scheme in 2022. Here’s how the scheme has helped her understand career pathways, navigate industry complexities, and strengthen her professional trajectory.

Xingrong embarked on her academic journey at Bristol, initially drawn by the university’s robust engineering department. ‘I applied for BEng in Computer Science because I aspired to be a computer scientist and design my own video games,’ she recalls. The allure of Bristol’s distinguished reputation and high rankings in this field proved pivotal for her as an international student.

A change of direction

However, unforeseen health concerns during the COVID era forced Xingrong to suspend her studies temporarily. It was during this hiatus that her interests took a significant turn towards philosophy and economics. Xingrong reflected, ‘The chaos prevailing in the world likely influenced this shift’.

To her surprise, Bristol’s Philosophy and Economics departments boasted exceptional staff, teaching quality, prolific research output, and commendable rankings.

‘With this newfound passion, I decided to request a transfer – and every second of studying my new subject at Bristol has been an absolute joy.’

Career path considerations

Delving into her second year at Bristol, Xingrong began contemplating her career path after graduation. Seeking guidance, she signed up for email updates from various sources, including the Professional Liaison Network.

A particular unit, Macroeconomic Analysis, caught her attention. It delved into how central banks monitor national economic conditions, a topic of interest to her, especially amid Britain’s experience of soaring inflation, widely discussed in the news. However, lacking family connections in related industries left her needing to figure out where to start.

Joining the PLN mentoring program offered by the university proved to be a fortuitous decision. Xingrong was paired with mentor Malindi Myers, a deputy agent at the Bank of England, who played a pivotal role in her journey. Understanding the inner workings of the Bank of England and gaining insights into its decisions broadened her understanding of economic theories and their practical applications.

‘The help I received from my mentor cannot be summarised simply. It was an eye-opening experience, touching all possible aspects of life, and brought me long-lasting guidance and support.’

Benefits of a mentor

Grateful for the comprehensive support received, Xingrong reflects on the benefits of having a mentor.

‘Having a mentor can help erase the information gap between me and my goals, help me understand my current situation and the efforts I will need to make’, she explains. ‘I think because I treated my mentor like my personal tutor whom I could ask most questions, I’ve found that experienced professionals are just as kind as university staff. I should be more open and braver to express my doubts, confusions, and needs.’

For future international students contemplating mentorship, Xingrong advises, ‘Apply for a mentor without hesitation. The experiences and guidance they offer, both professionally and in life, are invaluable.’ With pride in her progress and a firm determination in her chosen direction, Xingrong acknowledges the strides made, built from the ground up, in shaping her career.

Find out more about the Professional Liaison Network at University of Bristol

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