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News & Blog > Mentoring & Advice > What is mentoring? > Alumni Network Mentoring & Advice Programme

Alumni Network Mentoring & Advice Programme

Find out more about our alumni network mentoring and advice programme: - Ask An Alum, Matched Mentoring and Group Mentoring and support available for mentors and mentees.

The IDS Alumni Network Mentoring and Advice Programme facilitates formal kinds of mentoring relationship with the intention of helping participants to develop professionally and with their careers. We have three main schemes that we use to facilitate mentoring relationships in the alumni network.

  1. Ask-an-Alum (our online tool), aimed at those who are interested in learning a key piece of information or a skill in a one-off mentoring session
  2. Matched Mentoring, where an administrator matches mentors and mentees is supported for 6-months
  3. Group Mentoring, where an administrator matches one mentor to work with several mentees in a group is a 6-month scheme

Irrespective of which path you choose we hope that these guidelines will help support you, as mentor or a mentee, to establish a successful, structured, and effective mentoring relationship, which is mutually rewarding.

Aims and Objectives of IDS Alumni Network Mentoring & Advice Programme

The goal of the IDS Alumni Network Mentoring and Advice Programme is to contribute to the professional and career development of IDS alumni and students. Through mentoring, mentees gain an external view on a situation or issue and can develop new skills and strengths through self-reflection and development to make them better equipped to deal with professional challenges and contribute to career success.

While the focus is on the mentee, the mentor also benefits from the relationship. Mentoring provides an opportunity to share knowledge, exchange ideas, develop leadership skills, and a feeling of satisfaction at supporting a student or recent graduate of IDS.

1. Ask-an-Alum

Ask-an-Alum is a tool for alumni and students to self-match with an IDS Alumni Network Online Mentor for quick advice and support on a variety of careers and professional development topics. For example, find Mentors who are happy to provide CV advice, interview preparation support, PhD application help and more. 

Ask-an-Alum is useful for creating space for impactful knowledge sharing, without the pressure to develop a long-term relationship.

It can also act as a trial for a new one-on-one mentoring relationship and help alumni and students broaden their networks before committing to a longer-term mentorship. 

We recommend that each session is around 60 minutes in length. The number and length of sessions can be individually agreed as most useful.

Discover more about Ask-an-Alum

Find an online mentor now

2. IDS Alumni Network Matched Mentoring

Our Matched Mentoring scheme is one-on-one mentoring which is probably the type that comes to mind when you think of mentoring. It is a traditional model of mentoring, where one mentor and one mentee agree to enter into a relationship to help the mentee develop, improve and achieve their goals. In this type of mentoring, the mentor has more experience in an area that the mentee is interested in and can act as an advisor and guide. For example, in areas such as career direction or leadership development.

While the focus is on the mentee, the mentor also benefits as they develop leadership skills, learn new perspectives and ideas from their mentee, and feel a sense of satisfaction at supporting a student or recent graduate of IDS to help shape the future leaders of global development.

Matched Mentoring means an administrator makes the match for each mentor and mentee. The IDS Alumni Network Matched Mentoring is administrated by the alumni relations office (with guidance from a specialist). We expect each matched pair to meet for a minimum of 60 minutes every month over 6-months. The number and length of sessions can be individually agreed as most useful providing that the pair is meeting for the minimum.

We usually match twice a year, with applications open in September and January.

Discover more about Matched Mentoring

3. IDS Alumni Network Group Mentoring

Our Group Mentoring is a type of mentoring in which one mentor works with several mentees at once in a group. The mentor has has an area of expertise to share and the mentees will have similar personal development goals or wish to learn specific new skills or knowledge.

The format means that the group will support each other to learn and grow, as well as bring in a range of different perspectives and experiences. It works well for people that learn best collaboratively. Typically Groups meet for 60-90 minutes once a month for 6-months. 

4. Support available


  • Twice a year we offer Skills Workshops with a specialist for all involved in our IDS Alumni Network Mentoring & Advice Programme, invites are sent to everyone closer to the dates (usually February and May) and advertised on our events page.
  • Matched Mentors attend a workshop with our specialist before starting any new mentoring relationship
  • Group for Mentors - here you will find all our resources for mentors, upcoming events, discussion forum
  • Alumni Relations Office support. You can book a 30 minute slot to talk about being an Online Mentor for Ask An Alum or Matched Mentor applications. For anything else email us at


What is mentoring?

Role of mentor and mentee

IDS Alumni Network Mentoring & Advice Programme Guiding Principles

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