Inside the Career Mentoring Program (CMP): Maurice Cheong and Chris De Lima

By Seth Robinson

"Mentoring programs give students an opportunity to connect and learn from professionals in the industry. It’s a valuable networking opportunity for them, not just with their mentors, but with the extended network they can tap into through these interactions." -Maurice Cheong, CMP Mentor

It’s hard to overstate just how much value students gain from opportunities like the Career Mentorship Program (CMP). It’s a chance for soon to be graduates to gain advice, get some guidance, and begin building a valuable professional network as they set out into the working world.

We spoke with Master of Management (Accounting) student Chris De Lima and Maurice Cheong, Head of Education and Learning for Australia and New Zealand at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), about their experience working together.

-Maurice Cheong and Chris De Lima.

“I really liked Maurice, right off the bat. We connected with each other right away. He’s been an incredible resource when it comes to making plans for my future. He’d check up on me – usually over skype – and gave me a sense of what the industry landscape is like.

He also helped me a lot when it came to prepping for interviews. Those Skype conversations were beneficial in their own right, as a lot of my interviews ended up happening over Skype as well,” says Chris. “Maurice gave me lots of opportunities to broaden my understanding and perspective of accounting, to keep my options open. He was always supportive, and taught me one of the most important things of all: to be myself. I was really stressed about the prospect of interviews, and that shows. You have to relax.”

Coming from a professional background in education – with experience in the accounting profession – Maurice was able to offer Chris a wealth of experience, and scope.

“To me, a mentor doesn’t need to be a subject matter expert. You just need to have the commitment and willingness to guide someone along and provide them access to your professional life and contacts. As professionals we all know that there are key transferrable skills that could be put into practice regardless of your industry,” says Maurice.

Working with Chris also gave Maurice some moments to reflect, to connect with a professional from the next generation, and to hone some skills of his own.

“Mentoring gives you a chance to explore intergenerational gaps and often unknowingly receive reverse mentoring from your mentee. Chris kept me on my toes, he was always asking the right questions. It meant I had to stay abreast of the latest professional developments and information, recruitment processes, and interview skills. Having discussions with Chris about the need for a strong resume and LinkedIn profile made me review my own to ensure I was practicing what I preached,” he says. “It also helped me debunk prior assumptions I made about millennials as I got to know Chris better and understood some of the circumstances that make them different. The amount of reverse mentoring that took place was reason enough to justify the time I spent to be a mentor. All in all, it was a really rewarding experience for me.”

If you would like to find out more please register here for the program commencing in April 2019. Applications close March 2019.