Navin Chauhan (MSc Investment Management, 2007) is a partner and Head of Business Development at Victory Hill Capital Advisors LLP and has been a professional mentor for Business School students since 2012. In 2015, Navin was nominated for the ‘Mentor of the Year’ award by his mentee and went on to win the accolade. We spoke to him about his time as a mentor at the Business School.
Paying it forward
Navin has always had a strong belief in ‘paying it forward’, he explains that he is committed to supporting others in their development. Consequently, when he received an email on the topic of professional mentoring in 2012, he jumped at the opportunity to become a mentor to undergraduate students. Navin tells us, “I believe the earlier that someone receives guidance in their professional journey, the more impactful it can be”.
Navin’s experience as a mentor was shaped by the notion of providing the kind of guidance that he wished he had been given when he was at university. “Most people have an idea of what they want, but don’t know how to get there”. He goes on to add that his mentoring style is shaped around “offering tools to a mentee to help them find answers by themselves. In guiding them towards a solution through imparting knowledge and experience, they learn the skills to find their own answers”.
“I tell every mentee…I will do everything it takes for you to secure yourself a job.”
Navin is committed to having a real impact on his mentees and their careers, but this doesn’t involve getting them a job himself. He tells us, “I tell every mentee during our first meeting, that I am not able to pull strings and get you a job. However, I will do everything it takes for you to secure yourself a job. Most buy into this, others will think this is a waste of time as the job offer is off the table!”
This commitment to genuinely benefitting his mentees in the long-term has had a clear impact: in 2015 Navin was nominated for the ‘Mentor of the Year’ award and went on to win.
“I have found it both personally and professionally rewarding”
“Having been a mentor for more than 7 years, I have found it both personally and professionally rewarding. The inspiration to continue to mentor year after year comes from seeing the person grow over time under your guidance. The satisfaction doesn’t come from helping write a cover letter, or re-format a CV, or even interview prep. Instead, it largely comes from increasing their confidence, improving their presentation skills, or putting them into challenging situations and watching them flourish.”
But mentoring is a two-sided coin: it isn’t just the student who gains from the experience. Navin explains “the appreciation from the mentee to whom my help has added real value, is priceless. As well as the ‘feel-good factor’, it has also helped me develop my communication skills, and tailor information to a new audience”.
Quick fire tips:
Closing our conversation, Navin shares some quick-fire tips that he wishes he had taken more notice of when starting out his career:
- Be confident in your abilities.
- Appreciate the talent around you and try to absorb as much as you can from senior members of the team.
- Do not be afraid to challenge the status quo.
- Working hard and long hours isn’t [always] the key to success. Working smarter is.
- It is OK to go into an industry without knowing exactly what you want. You can figure it out on the job.
- Get a mentor!
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Navin, and thank you for your commitment to the mentoring scheme.