Citi Singapore launches its annual Student Mentorship Programme

Citi Singapore announced the public launch of its Student Mentorship Programme on 20 March 2013 – a new initiative that will link qualified undergraduates at Singapore’s top universities with employee “mentors” across Citi’s various departments.

Student Mentorship Programme
Mentors with their Mentees

The programme, which recently completed its pilot phase, is touted by Citi as the “first of its kind” in Asia and for the U.S.-based corporation as a whole. It will allow student mentees to gain real-world insights on a professional career in the banking and finance sector as well as an insider’s perspective on working for Citi Singapore.

“Through the mentoring relationships, both mentors and mentees benefit from the opportunity to learn from each other,” Moira Lynam, Citi Singapore’s Managing Director and Head of Human Resources said.

“Citi professionals share their business perspectives to guide students through their career planning, while students share fresh viewpoints and challenge professionals to reflect upon their interactions with the workforce of tomorrow.”

Mentor Cheryl Chen with Mentee Adeline Ong
Mentor Cheryl Chen with Mentee Adeline Ong

Citi has already accepted 140 students as mentees in this year’s mentorship programme from a total of more than 400 applications. The programme runs from January to May every year. It is currently only open to undergraduate students from the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and Singapore Management University (SMU).

Both local and foreign students enrolled in any field of study and year group can qualify for selection. However, Citi said that all candidates will be screened based on the following five factors: “high academic and leadership achievements”, “community involvement”, “internship experiences”, “interest in the financial industry”, and “leadership potential”.

This year’s mentees have been assigned to 123 mentors from 16 business and support functions within Citi. Mentors must have at least five years of working experience with Citi, and hold leadership roles at their respective departments.

Mentor Winston Lim with Mentee Ong Si Hao
Mentor Winston Lim with Mentee Ong Si Hao

Winston Lim, head of Bancassurance and one of the mentors in the programme’s pilot phase, said he believed participating in this programme would help preserve the mentoring culture present at Citi.

“I was fortunate to be at the receiving end of mentoring relationships at the early stages of my career,” Lim said. “My mentors provided a sounding board for advice on key decisions and they acted as a catalyst for my career and personal growth.”

Lim’s mentee, Ong Si Hao, a second-year economics and finance student at SMU, said his time as a mentee provided him with valuable knowledge on the challenges and opportunities present in the banking industry today.

“My mentor… is highly passionate about his career and has a sincere desire to advise young people,” Ong said. “He is also truly concerned about my professional development.”

“Through this programme, I am discovering where I might fit into the industry and how to set defined career goals that I can strive towards.”

Mentee Song Junhe, a second-year business administration student at NUS, described the programme as being largely self-directed.

“The onus is on mentees to actively seek practical guidance from mentors to develop specific competencies,” he said.

The programme has no pre-determined structure in particular, and the experience thus differs for each individual mentor-mentee pair. However, a Citi spokesperson was quick to clarify that the programme is not a work placement arrangement. Mentors function entirely as sounding boards, counsellors, and consultants, as opposed to training mentees to take on certain professional tasks.

Mentor Dimitrios George Papacostas with Mentee Song Junhe
Mentor Dimitrios George Papacostas with Mentee Song Junhe

Dimitrios Papacostas, Song’s mentor, joked that he was grateful the mentorship programme would help Song avoid repeating mistakes that Papacostas himself had made in the past.

“I didn’t have a sounding board when I was an undergraduate looking for internships and thinking about my career choices,” Papacostas, an Investment Lab analyst at Citi Private Bank, said.

“It was trial by fire for me, so I enjoy being able to help young people navigate their way through this time in their life and give them the information they need to make the process less daunting.”


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