Manchester MentorME - cohort 1: Positive feedback and rising demand from students and alumni

manchester mentor ME

The impact session hosted by the Middle East Centre Careers and Alumni Relations team on the first cohort (June-December 2023) of the new Manchester MentorME programme provided the opportunity for mentors and mentees to review findings of the feedback survey, share personal stories and testimonies, as well as mentoring tips. In welcoming cohort 2 which began in January, the team highlighted the sharp rise in applications for places on the programme – both from alumni mentors and student mentees – which rose by 60%. The event concluded with the presentation of certificates of appreciation to the first cohort mentors.

MentorME was first conceived in 2022, when the Careers and Alumni Relations team embarked on a mission to provide students and alumni with a resource to help them develop their professional skills. Mentorship was identified as one of the most effective tools and so they started the process of designing and developing a programme specifically for the University’s students and alumni in the Middle East.

The benefits of mentoring are well established and are increasingly recognised by professionals as an effective way to develop their potential. Mentorship is the process by which one person helps another to learn faster by sharing knowledge and skills and offering guidance. Mentors are experienced in a mentee’s work and usually draw from their own experiences to help someone in a certain situation or a new role.

There are benefits for both parties. Mentors develop leadership skills and improve communication skills, learn new perspectives (from mentees), advance their careers and rewards through deeper personal satisfaction. Mentees acquire occupational insights, which can be especially valuable when changing industry or roles, networking support and a mentor who will hold them accountable to their plans and goals. Boosting confidence is often one of the most important returns on mentorship.

Manchester MentorME was designed as a structured programme to help students and alumni achieve their personal and professional goals and provide a unique opportunity to establish a 1-2-1 mentoring relationship with an experienced mentor from the regional alumni community.

The Centre partnered with Impactiv – a social enterprise startup co-founded by Manchester alumna, Dr. Nada Jammoul Messaikeh Managing Director, Impactiv – to design and develop the platform to facilitate connections between mentors and mentees - one of the success factors of the programme.

Dr Nada said: “Impactiv has worked with multiple partners on mentoring programmes for government and semi-government organisations, and we are blessed to have the University as one of the key success programmes we have launched. As a University student, alumni and then as a mentor, it’s great to see this inspiring community come together and we are thankful for the opportunity to support and engage with this programme. We saw the impact that a well-structured mentoring programme can have. It can literally change the shape and lives of young generation.”

Manchester MentorME is supported by Chronus Platform, a leading global mentoring software that ensures effective AI-based matching of mentors and mentees with seamless integration with the usual online applications and calendars. This means that both mentors and mentees can focus on what matters most - building a mutually valuable and fulfilling mentoring relationship. Mentoring pairs embark on a 6-month mentoring programme with a minimum of one hour per month, and engagement facilitated through the platform tools – messaging, video calls, feedback surveys - to help improve the programme, and a social community wall allowing mentors/mentees to connect with others. In addition, there are two social events with interactive talks for every cohort to network and share opportunities, online and face to face.

The AI matching process is based on a set of criteria – industry experience, career expertise, business functional areas of interest, skills that need development – to help suggest mentors to mentees. A list of potential mentors is then suggested to mentees, based on the matching scores/ranks.

The first cohort – consisting of 25 pairs of matched mentors and mentees - ran from June 30th to December 30th 2023. The second cohort started on January 30th 2024 with 120 applications – a 60% increase over the first cohort – and 39 matched pairs have now embarked on their mentorship journey.

Making an impact: snapshot of MentorME

  • 94% satisfaction rate
  • 93% of mentees found that the training had prepared them well to work with mentors
  • 86% of mentors and mentees found the platform easy to navigate and the connection plan helpful
  • 83% of  mentees achieved most of their goals  
  • 83% were very satisfied with the overall mentoring relationship
  • 82% of mentors used the resources, reference materials and attachments to support their mentoring conversations
  • 72% of mentors had a high degree of satisfaction with their relationships
  • 69% of mentors observed positive change in their mentees’ knowledge or skills
  • 2 mentees reported achieving a career transition and secured a new job during the programme


Hiba Abbassi - Manager, Careers & Alumni Relations at the Middle East Centre: “MentorME has proved to be a great tool to create engagement and a great opportunity to foster connections within the alumni network throughout the region. Alumni are now more interconnected and engaged. For those still waiting for places on Manchester MentorME, please be patient and you will get an opportunity to join the programme.”

On presenting the certificates of appreciation, Hiba added: ”On behalf of Randa Bessiso, Middle East Director, and the Centre team, thanks to all our mentors for giving your time and volunteering - and for giving back. You are all busy working professionals who have taken time from your busy schedules to make a difference in the lives of our students.”


Comments and observations from mentors and mentees:


“It was a great experience, a two-way relationship and a two-way knowledge sharing experience. My mentee connected with me because he wanted to expand his network. I’ve been in the region for 20 years and he changed jobs at around the same as I did – same company but a different country and role. We were going through the same experience but at different levels. From different perspectives, it was an absolutely fantastic experience for me to share what I’ve been learning in this new position.”

“It was enormous fun first of all and it was great to connect - every time we connect I learn something…”

“I was helping my mentee overcome a lack of confidence in pursuing a new direction and helping put in boundaries so he was better able to have a work-life balance in his current role. He said his kids are so happy now he can spend more time with them, and to exercise, while being more visible at work. I learned a lot and I hope everyone can have this opportunity.”

“My mentee left for the UK and I was able to meet her on a visit to the UK. We became lifelong friends.”

“I’m good at changing careers successfully and so can help others. I enjoy working with my mentee and gaining quick trust is important, from day one, and to show empathy. I needed her commitment to match mine. I guided her to find her own answers on her career direction.”

“I’ve had lots of opportunities to mentor people in the same trade. So, when this opportunity came up, it was an opportunity to learn from someone in another trade and share my professional insights. My two mentees were very enthusiastic and interested. It was good to have a first face to face meeting and this sets the tone for moving forward. It’s been a learning experience for all of us….”


“My mentor helped me when I took a break and helped me to think about what to do next. I got a new job at a higher level thanks to him. During my break, we took a consultancy project together – it was a great opportunity for me to learn from him about the skills to do business consultancy.”

“I was lucky to be involved and it was an amazing experience in which I learned to think differently.”

“I didn’t imagine a mentor could support me but she really pushed me and it was like family support. She shared her own experience in management. I thank her – she’s an amazing mentor - and gave good advice like “don’t lose your life to work, enjoy it and have fun”. I will always remember these amazing words.”

Sharing the tips: 

  • Mentors are giving you their time - get what you want and need, and don’ t worry about how much time it takes
  • Say whatever you want – as a friend – and whatever the question, ask it and don’t withhold
  • Mentors need to take time to get to know the mentee on a personal level
  • There is no judgement involved – mentors share learning and experience
  • Don’t be shy and actually be selfish to get as much as you can from it
  • Even if you are a senior executive, don’t think you need a coach; it can be more lonely and you may need help and guidance, so don’t let it stop you applying for MentorME