The Saïd Business School Alumni Relations Office, Women's Leadership OBN and the Oxford Women’s Leadership Community are pleased to launch the fourth Ascent Mentoring Programme 2015.

Mentoring can provide support, knowledge, resources and can be a source of inspiration for those involved. Mentoring is considered to be a key factor in ensuring that women achieve in the work place. It is for this reason that the School supports the Programme and encourages all to participate.

** Applications for the 2015 Ascent Mentoring Programme are now closed, and 2015 mentor/mentee pairs have been notified.  If you have general queries about the Programme, please send an email to  Applications for the 2016 Programme are expected to open in January 2016. **

Who are Ascent Mentoring Programme Mentees?

The Ascent Mentoring Programme Mentees are women who are currently enrolled at the Saïd Business School at Oxford University, or who are a graduate of any programme at Oxford University.

This year we are excited to be expanding the program to the wider Uniersity and are inviting applications from 3rd year female undergraduates reading Management and Economics.

The programme is open to women in any industry. The Programmes’ Mentees are at a variety of stages in their career development, with a weighting towards those who are at an early stage or who are moving towards the mid-stage of their careers.

Who are Ascent Mentoring Programme Mentors?

The Ascent Mentoring Programme Mentors are accomplished Saïd Business School students/alumni and Oxford University alumni from around the globe. Previous Mentors have come from a wide array of sectors and professions including consulting, finance, marketing, healthcare, education, entrepreneurship and public policy. While Mentors may be located outside the UK or remotely, each has made a commitment to volunteer their time to assist Mentees by sharing expertise and guidance.

An Invitation to Mentor

We invite alumni of the University of Oxford to join as Mentors of the Ascent Mentoring Programme. As you have successfully navigated through your career decisions, your insight and advice will provide valuable guidance and inspiration to female students and/or alumnae as they build their careers.

As a Mentor, you will have the opportunity to inspire a current Oxford student and/or alumnae as they face some of the most significant decisions of their lives. You will:

  • Serve as a role model, and an independent sounding board;
  • Provide insights on career goals and choices;
  • Share general advice on career and life planning;
  • Help to prepare Mentees for their roles as successful women and strong leaders.

We hope that, in turn, as a Mentor, you will experience personal satisfaction in seeing your Mentee(s) progress through their careers, and will also benefit from extending your networks.

Principles of Mentoring

Effective mentoring requires many qualities and a set of agreed principles between the individuals in a mentoring pair. These include:

  • Defining the scope of the relationship;
  • Balancing professionalism and friendship;
  • Being committed to the process of mentoring;
  • Offering quality time and attention;
  • Empathising, encouraging and motivating;
  • Providing constructive feedback;
  • Having good communication skills;
  • Proactively asking for help and advice of each other;
  • Creating a safe and continuous learning environment for Mentors and Mentees.

Mentoring is a reciprocal, two-way relationship. Both Mentors and Mentees need to contribute to achieve a productive and rewarding mentoring experience.

Mentees who are accepted into the programme understand that Mentors are busy professionals volunteering their time and experience. They understand that the Mentor’s role is to inspire and guide, and not to help with operational matters such as organising a work visa or providing employment.

Commitment Expectations

The Ascent Mentoring Programme allows flexibility for Mentors and Mentees to create a mentorship relationship that fits their particular needs.This is a one-year Mentorship Programme due to commence mid February 2015 and finish mid December 2015. While the Ascent Mentoring Programme represents a one-year commitment between the mentor and mentee, we encourage mentorship pairs continue their relationship for as long as both parties feel is beneficial. Mentoring relationships could be explicitly career focused, or could centre upon broader life goals and issues depending on the needs of the Mentee (eg: guidance on shifting industry or balancing family and career expectations). The frequency of communications varies depending on the agreement between the mentor and mentee.

Mentoring pairs are requested to define their relationship and its parameters in consultation, including time and support commitments. Interactions will largely be over the telephone and via web platforms and tools, and in-person meetings based on convenience and preference. It is anticipated that the time requirement will not be onerous, however, in order for the Programme to be beneficial to both parties, it is essential that there is an open dialogue between the Mentor and Mentee on a regular basis.

Other Information

Upon the receipt of your application, we will match Mentors with Mentees keeping in mind individual geographic, industry and other preferences, and facilitate the initial introduction. If in any given year, there is an oversupply of Mentors applying for the Mentoring Programme, we may request to keep details on file for the following year’s Mentoring Programme. We also cannot guarantee to Mentees that there will be an appropriate Mentor available for them in a given year.

Virtual Mentoring

As we can not always match you with a mentor/mentee in your area, mentoring may take place on a virtual platform.


We can not guarantee that all preferences regarding location/industry/seniority of mentor can be met from the available pool of mentors.

In addition, the Oxford Women’s Leadership Community (OWLC) organises regular online global conversations with inspiring women leaders, profiles alumnae on the OWLC website, and promotes linkages between local chapters. All participants in the Ascent Mentoring Programme are welcome and encouraged to access the OWLC’s resources.

Programme Timeline

  • 22 January 2015 – Ascent Mentoring Programme opens for mentee/mentor applications
  • 20 February 2015 – Application deadline
  • Late February 2015 – Mentor/mentee pairings announced
  • April 2015 – Check-in on the progress of mentoring relationships
  • October 2015 – Final check-in and survey on participant experience
  • January 2016 – Offical closure of the 2015 Ascent Mentoring Programme

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