QUT accountancy student Jodie Lee with her mentor Dan Carroll.
Mentor relationship adds up to success
QUT student Jodie Lee already had a remarkable passion for accounting before meeting leading Brisbane accountant Dan Carroll. But after hearing him give a guest lecture on campus late last year, her interest reached fever pitch.
Jodie was so taken with Mr Carroll's enthusiasm and knowledge that she put in a special request to be matched with the Grant Thornton audit and assurance partner in the QUT Career Mentor Scheme for 2012.
"His knowledge and the way he spoke really blew everyone away in the lecture," the Strathpine student said.
"It really motivated everybody. He must have made a world of difference to students over the years."
Jodie and Mr Carroll are now two weeks into their mentoring relationship and Mr Carroll says the early signs are great.
"I think she'll be one of my most enthusiastic mentees," he said.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the QUT Career Mentor Scheme, which links industry volunteers with students in the same field.
Mr Carroll, who is a 1982 QIT accountancy graduate, has been involved in the program since 1999.
He said his motivation was simple - it was an opportunity to give something back to the industry and the students who were its future.
His first step with each year's student is to get back to basics and take them on a tour of his firm, and talk about the firm's staff, structure and clients.
"Then I ask them where do they want to be in five years and that usually gets a blank look ... but it's what they need to think about," he said.
One of Mr Carroll's biggest tips for students is to remember that academic results are only part of the picture and that potential employers look favourably on work history - even if it's part-time work unrelated to their field.
Jodie has been studying accountancy full-time and part-time since 2007, and combines uni work with caring for her young son and being treasurer of the QUT chapter of the Golden Key International Honour Society.
She entered QUT as a mature-age student after working in a newspaper advertising department and being exposed to many businesses at work and through family.
"My father had his own business and two of my aunties had their own business," she said.
"Accounting just seemed like such a dynamic way to be involved with business - it puts you in the decision-making seat.
"Also, I wanted to do something that was as useful as a trade, where you really do learn a skill of value.
"Going to QUT has been such a wonderful experience - it has really changed my life."
Jodie wants to work for a public accounting firm in audit services after she graduates and obtain her professional qualifications to become a chartered accountant.
Career Mentor Scheme coordinator Jacqui Owen from the QUT Careers and Employment Service said more than 600 students would be involved in the scheme this year, compared to just 30 when it started in 1993.
"We always need more mentors so if you want to share your experience and expertise with a motivated student in your field, then we'd love to hear from you," she said.
"You only have to allow around one hour a fortnight, which can include phone, email and face-to-face."
For 2012, more mentors are particularly needed in fields including nutrition and dietetics, accountancy, medical imaging, interior design, industrial design, architecture, justice (customs, corrections, etc), engineering and marketing, PR and advertising.
Email Ms Owen at email@example.com if you are interested.
Media contact: Mechelle McMahon, QUT media officer, 07 3138 9449 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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