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Where are they now… Sophie Zielcke

Posted by Ajay Chauhan at Apr 30, 2018 12:25 PM |

Alumni Volunteer: Sophie Zielcke

Since graduating from the BA Geography (Class of 2011) Sophie Zielcke has volunteered her time to help others by being an alumni mentor through the UCL Alumni Online Community.

1. How has you career developed since graduation? Tell us more about your current role.

Since graduating in Geography from UCL in 2011, my professional focus has been on sustainability and environmental issues. After a number of internships in this field, I completed a Masters at Oxford, also in Geography. I then worked for an international environmental organisation for about a year before starting my current job at an international management consultancy. Not every project I now work on is directly linked to sustainability, but almost all my projects have a strong environmental focus and I often draw on my knowledge gained at university. As our clients come from all sectors, I have had the chance to support sustainability efforts in fashion, food, agriculture and mining.

2. What motivated you to get involved in the UCL Alumni Online Mentoring Scheme? Did you have a mentor or is it something you wish you had had?

I didn’t have a mentor at UCL, but I really wish I had. This opportunity to engage with graduates four or five years (or more) senior can really help raise awareness of all the different job possibilities out there. Often one has no idea of all the different paths that one could take. I now have a mentor in my current job and I really benefit from the guidance and advice I receive. I hope to give back a little with my engagement in the UCL Alumni Mentoring Scheme.

3. What are the benefits of acting as a mentor?

It is great to be able to give something back to UCL and to help some students explore all the different options after graduation. It also allows me to stay connected to UCL and learn from students and their ideas.

4. How do you think the scheme helps mentees?

Speaking to alumni that work in a sector of interest allows current students to informally engage with professionals. In a sector such as sustainability or environment, there is no clear or obvious career choice, unlike perhaps in law or medicine. I remember that I had little idea of what options I had after graduation, so I think mentees can benefit from experience sharing and learn about paths they hadn’t considered before. Also some mentees would like to learn more about specific companies and this way they can informally engage and find out whether a particular company is actually interesting for them and what roles they could pursue there. Particularly for women, this can be an opportunity to discover new paths and start growing a professional network early on. Women need to support each other more.

5. What would you say to someone thinking of getting involved in the mentor scheme?

Try it out! It is a rewarding experience to help someone with a similar passion to grow and find their way. Also, you never know, in a few years down the line, they might be in a position to help you or they simply become part of your professional network.

6. Are you proud to be a UCL mentor?

I greatly enjoyed my time at UCL and have fond memories of those years, and thus I am a proud supporter of the UCL alumni and mentoring network!

Join the UCL Alumni Online Community now to find your own mentor or to volunteer to share your expertise with the next generation.