Rita Kakati Shah
Mathematics and Management BSc, 2001. Founder & CEO, UMA. Diversity Mentor, 2020/2021.
What does it mean for you to participate in the diversity mentoring programme?
It’s been such a fantastic opportunity to meet such amazing students from truly diverse and minority backgrounds, currently located in various parts of the world. Especially now, at such a trying time for all during the global pandemic, it’s been so valuable not just to my mentee, but for myself too.
What did you do personally to make the most out of this programme during these 6 months?
My mentee and I made sure to meet on videoconference at least every other week. It’s an almost twelve hour time difference for us, so we would schedule our calls earlier in the day for me, which was late night for my mentee. We structured the sessions by topic at our first meeting itself to help navigate the future sessions.
Your biggest success (e.g., helped my mentee get an internship or new job, learned more about being a good mentor, helped them with job applications, CV writing, different industries’ insights, etc.)
We worked on everything from confidence hacks and building up empowerment skills, to revamping job specific resumes, updating linked in, and practicing mock interviews in preparation for Spring Week internships. The biggest success was my mentee securing a summer internship offer following the back of multiple successful Spring Week internships.
What is the biggest advice you would give to future applicants/participants?
Think about the top three goals you’d like to achieve in the near term, next year and after you graduate, whether it is to find a niche area in a particular field to focus on, or gain certain skills in say communications or becoming more confident, as this would not only help to shape your mentoring experience, but give you more clarity and focus too.
Why is it important for you to support current students?
Having been in the workforce for well over twenty years now, I still remember having to seek out senior colleagues whom I admired, and asking if they could mentor me. As this was back in the early 2000s, it was indeed a hit or miss exercise, especially as mentoring wasn’t a formalized offering back then. Therefore, providing the experience to other students that I didn’t always have, knowing what works and what doesn’t, is very important to me personally, as well as such a rewarding way to stay connected with King’s.