Andy and Jack’s mentoring story

Published on 6 August 2021

Andy Smart, graduate of Politics with German in 2012, mentored student and now recent Digital Interaction Design graduate Jack Rodger as part of the Leadership Plus Programme. They both share their experience of the mentoring process. 

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Andy Smart

“I had four brilliant years in Dundee, studying Politics with German. And the biggest thing I took from the University was my time in sports clubs, particularly the Canoe Club and then as Sports Union President.  It was a great sense of community.  To be honest, it's something I missed after graduating so being part of the mentoring programme has been a great connection back to Dundee.  

“I've enjoyed the programme and being able to do it virtually. My job takes me all over the world so having a 30-minute zoom call has been perfect. It’s been so rewarding. It is really nice when the advice and guidance and little plans you put together lead to success which we certainly noticed within a couple of months.  An interesting takeaway is that the advice that I gave Jack was so clearly successful that I took my own advice which has helped me in my own career when I’ve had a few difficult decisions to make. My original career path wasn't quite working out, but then by setting goals and having proper objectives, I've come into another career path within the Navy that really suits me and as a result I'm much happier and my career is going in a good direction and that was a bit of revelation really.  

“To quote a Navy term, the relationship you have is something that's out with both of your chain of commands, so we could both talk to each other with a fresh viewpoint.  If you’re considering being a mentee on the Leadership Plus Programme then do it! You might be looking for a fresh set of eyes, a different perspective or even if it's just something to put on your CV, do it because you will surprise yourself with what you take from it, and I'm certainly taking loads.”

Jack Rodger

“I never thought about going to university but after four or five years of doing an apprenticeship I decided to take a career break and applied to DJCAD. I've been involved with some Sports Clubs and DUSA and became president of the Social Digital Society, both were leadership roles. I wanted to up my game and, as I’ve naturally become a leader on other projects, I wanted to get some professional advice from a mentor.   

“I had this image of meeting someone from industry in a café where you would meet once a month, like in The Apprentice. When I heard that it was Andy with a Navy background I thought it was even more exciting because it was something I didn’t expect. It's a really interesting contrast so I thought I was actually going to learn something really outside the box to what I was expecting, which excited me.  

“Andy has been totally crucial to my development in fourth year.  Having the degree show and dissertation there are a lot of elements that have to come together for your final year which I was nervous and apprehensive about.  Speaking to Andy and having his guidance really helped me, you're paired up with someone and you put a lot of faith into them and them into you.  You get a really tight bond and a really strong connection.   


“I'd never really considered smart goals or SWOT analysis so I was applying that to stuff that I was doing already, thanks to Andy. Having Andy mentoring me has given me even more drive.  

 “What you get out is what you what you put in. Give it 100% and it'll be really rewarding. Go in with an open mind and you'll be surprised at what you could learn. I kind of expected it to be a lot more like team leadership, but Andy directed it more about my own leadership and myself, which I found totally invaluable, something I will use forever. Maybe in 5-10 years I'll be a mentor to someone.”

Story category Student work/achievement