The mark of a mentor

Dylan Tromp (BA(Hons)/BSc 2005, MPub&IntLaw 2010) has built a career working for the United Nations and other international organisations. He is now passing his experience along to a new crop of JD students through the MLS Mentor Program.

Dylan Tromp first became involved with the United Nations during his final year of the Master of Public and International Law, interning with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) regional office in Bangkok.

Since graduating from MLS, he has worked for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) headquarters in New York, in the field with UNICEF in Bangladesh and Pakistan and now as a regional Project Manager at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) based in Jakarta.

Having built a successful career with international organisations, Tromp wanted to pass his experience along to students at his alma mater. He has been mentoring students at the University of Melbourne for the last ten years.

“My approach as a Mentor is to support students to develop an understanding of what it is like to work at the United Nations and how to clarify and pursue career goals with international organisations,” he says.

“This semester, we followed a program of sessions from reflecting on career goals, to the ‘nuts-and-bolts’ of finding and competing for career opportunities within the United Nations system.”

Tromp’s current group of mentees already have a range of experience working with both domestic and international social justice organisations. One of his mentees has gained significant international work experience with the UNHCR and the World Food Programme. Another mentee in the group has gained experience working with civil society organisations in Australia such as the Refugee Council of Australia and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

“The mentees in our group already have a rich diversity of experience to share with each other within our group,” Tromp says.

Distance is no issue for Tromp, who makes great use of Skype to host regular group meetings and webinars with his mentees who are based in Melbourne.

For the mentees, Tromp’s approach provides them with valuable insights and practical tools for starting and developing careers with international organisations.

“Dylan’s lessons about what works for him in his career have been invaluable in forming an idea of where I might want to take my degree,” says Cameron Doig, a mentee and first year JD student.

“The mentoring sessions have also given me confidence in applying for jobs and opportunities which I might have otherwise thought were out of reach.”

For Tromp, the mentor sessions are a valuable source of inspiration and provide him with a fresh take on his day-to-day work at the UN.

“I am always in great spirits after sessions with my mentees, with renewed inspiration for my own work, and am invariably impressed with the insightful questions and fresh perspectives that the mentees bring to our group,” Tromp says.

Disclaimer: any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the individuals in their personal capacity and do not reflect those of any organisation.

Find out more about the MLS Mentor Program