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Spotlight on a Mentor | Rohan Kalanje

The MGA has an impressive range of graduate students who sign up to our Mentor Program every year. We caught up with one of our excellent mentors, Rohan, to find out about his experience in the MGA’s Coursework Mentor Program last semester.



Rohan Kalanje – Master of Data Science, Faculty of Information Technology


What prompted you to sign up to be a mentor?

I have volunteered with MGA before and I found out about the Mentor Program that way.

Most people, including me, when they join this University, they realise that it is quite massive, like the scale of things that you can do here and the possibilities are endless. When I joined, I just said yes to everything. That way I could really immerse myself into Monash’s ecosystem. I wanted to share my experiences with people who don’t have the time to explore everything, because I think that that’s one of the main things that mentorship offers.

It succinctly gives you all the information that you need to make the most out of your life at Monash.


What was your mentee group like?

They were a very nice variety of people. I had students in my group who were in their forties and fifties who finished their bachelor’s 20 years ago and were just coming back into University. I had people who had just finished their bachelor’s and had come to this country to do their master degree. And I also had people who are in the industry, who have been sponsored by the government or their company to come and study here. So I would say it was the ideal mix of students.


How did you go about mentoring your group?

I took quite a tailored approach. I asked my group what their goals were, went away and did some research, then gave them tips according to what they wanted to achieve. I encouraged them to take the time to attend our sessions, but also to attend events and seminars that will help them achieve their goals. So, for example, I showed the students with an industry focus where to find career events so they can make connections with the recruiters. Some of the mentees had no idea what field they wanted to go into, so I showed them where to access a breadth of resources available to students, from clubs, events, to useful free software suites.


Were there challenges along the way?

Just time management. Some of the mentees had extra responsibilities, like children at home, or other things on, so finding a suitable time that worked for everyone could be very tough. I had my own timetable to manage but I tried my best to make sure that I was able to get a set amount of time with everyone. It didn’t always work out because scheduling for everyone is difficult.


What is the most rewarding part about being a mentor?

For me, it is just about giving back. I wanted to provide other students with the experience that I had at Monash University. I have this all-encompassing knowledge because I spent so much time in the field exploring stuff. I want to share that experience with other students.

I like to set a standard for the way I interact with people. If they enjoyed the experience, they might try to mirror that. Mentoring has a ripple effect. I would say when you help someone, they will help someone else. I hope that one day the kindness will be paid forward.


Do you have a mentor or someone you look up to in life or beyond university?

Mentorship is something that I’ve got from my teachers. I have had teachers from primary school through to university who really shaped my character, I would say. There have been these key people in my life who’ve made me understand not only the subject matter, but have given me life lessons along the way. I feel like that’s something that I want to do with my mentorship as well.


Would you encourage other students to become a mentor?

Yes, absolutely. The overall experience that I had and my mentees had was positive and helpful for all of us.



Are you keen to be a mentor?

Share your valuable experience with other students in the MGA Mentor Program.

It is an excellent opportunity for students to develop leadership skills, meet like-minded students outside their network and give back to the graduate student community at Monash.


Applications close on Friday, 7 July 2023.

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