Chulalongkorn Alumni Mentorship Program (ChAMP)
In cooperation with Chulalongkorn Business School, alumni volunteers developed ChAMP, an alumni mentorship platform that links top-tier alumni practitioners and academics with current students and draws on alumni experience and knowledge to guide students toward career goals.
Call to Action
A group of Chulalongkorn Business School (CBS) alumni had a strong determination to give back to their alma mater by developing and guiding current students toward career goals and achievements. Likewise, CBS knew that its strong alumni network was an important untapped resource that could enrich student learning and development beyond a conventional classroom process. Thus, both the alumni and CBS started to explore and work together on an appropriate platform to serve the purpose.
The key question was how to connect alumni and students in proper and effective ways to create constructive conversation and sustainable relationships. Therefore, by researching many learning methodology and case studies of alumni participation in top universities, alumni mentorship was a model that could well suit the purpose.
Accordingly, Chulalongkorn Alumni Mentorship Program (ChAMP) was established. Alumni mentors provide students (mentees) with advice on career paths and goals, insightful learning, and career inspiration, as they are real players in business and industry. Essentially, the relationship between mentor and mentee is lifelong and will be a valuable network and ongoing relationship for mentees. With this alumni mentorship platform, CBS can boost its strategic competitiveness through experiential learning initiatives. Also, the relationship between alumni and CBS is another key advantage as both faculty and alumni mentors can share knowledge and experience from both theoretical and real-world business point of views.
ChAMP is an alumni mentorship platform that facilitates the sharing of knowledge and experience by distinguished alumni to guide current students toward their goals in the form of mentoring. Alumni volunteers in cooperation with CBS faculty have conducted the program through an Organizing Committee (OC). The OC is responsible for developing the mentoring plan, recruiting mentors, conducting mentee selection, organizing activities, and evaluating the results. The typical timeframe is 10 months, from August to May, in which the OC facilitates the mentoring process, activities, and discussion topics that suit students’ interest and needs. Mentor and mentee meet at least once a month during this timeframe. Mentoring is conducted as a group of two mentors and four mentees.
ChAMP mentors must be either top-level management or have outstanding academic backgrounds. For the mentee selection, there are two rounds. First, OC selects students using four criteria: education results, experiences, and extracurricular activities, responses to essay questions, and quality of recommendation letters. Finally, mentors interview and select mentee candidates on the final-round selection day. For the matching process, final-round candidates rank preferred mentors, and mentors make the final call by selecting from final-round candidates. This matching method creates a sense of ownership between mentor and mentee.
During the past four years, ChAMP has created self-development awareness for more than 1,000 student applicants and generated insightful learning for 284 mentees. ChAMP has inspired mentees to pay it forward. Past mentees have hosted sessions with other students, including career roundtables, career talks, résumé training, and company visits with an accumulated turnout of more than 1,200 students since inception. Most importantly, ChAMP has built strong relationships between CBS and more than 70 distinguished alumni who contribute and create value for students. Alumni mentors and their student mentees have ongoing relationships and regular meetings beyond graduation. This is an excellent illustration of the purpose of ChAMP—to creat lifetime relationships between mentor and mentee. As one participant said, “once a mentor, always a mentor.”
ChAMP also intends to scale up learning opportunities to students both in CBS and other faculties. In cooperation with CBS, ChAMP hosted special keynote speeches with distinguished speakers, including Chuan Leekpai, a former prime minister of Thailand, and Banyong Pongpanich, CEO of Kiatnakin Bank. In 2015, ChAMP started to open the program to students from other faculties in addition to CBS and expanded to recruit mentors from across Chulalongkorn University. Academically, ChAMP was presented as a case study in an academic article on official proceedings of the Asian Business and Management Conference 2013 in Osaka, Japan.