Looking for great business mentors!
If you’re a business professional interested in serving as a mentor to a business student in the College of Business Mentorship Program, there are several opportunities.
Each student in the course needs a mentor. It helps to have more willing mentors than are actually needed so that students can meet several potential mentors and be paired with the best “fit.”
To help interested professionals get to know the students prior to pairing, and to help the students meet every potential mentor, interested mentors are asked to serve on a panel in the early days of the course. Hearing from each mentor will allow students to get a sense of personality and career expertise. The students will then consult with the instructor on mentor selections and job shadowing requests.
Host for Student Job Shadow
If an interested mentor is not paired with a student as the official mentor in the course, he/she still has an opportunity to be involved by hosting students in the workplace for job shadowing experiences. During the semester, each student must log at least 2 job shadowing experiences, spending from 2-6 hours with a professional gleaning additional lessons and insights from a professional other than his/her mentor. This helps ensure a more rounded perspective for the student, and allows the student to further network and form a constellation mentoring group.
Mentor Interest Lunch
If you are interested in being involved in this course as a mentor, email email@example.com to express your interest. Two or three lunch dates will be offered in August providing an overview of the course and allowing for Q/A.
History of the progam
Over 120 business professionals served as mentors to 145 students in the College of Business from 2006-2010. What a tremendous opportunity for our students this has been! As faculty, we strive to teach servant leadership – local business mentors help us model it.
For 2010-2011 we made some changes to our Mentor Program.
Why was the program changed?
Each year we sought feedback through follow-up surveys. Results identified the need for greater accountability for students than a volunteer program provided. While both students and mentors have approached mentoring relationships with the best of intentions, life has a way of getting busy. A “volunteer” time commitment can fall on priority lists.
Also, while some students grasp the deep and meaningful implications of a great mentoring relationship, others do not. There needed to be a way to bridge the gap in student and mentor understanding at the start of the relationship. Discussions of the importance of what a mentoring relationship provides with both groups would help bridge these gaps, and gaps in generational approaches.
Research of mentor programs supports accountability. It shows that the most effective programs are the most intentional; effective programs seek to bridge gaps in both mentor and protégé understanding, and they focus on both mentoring theory and practice.
How did the program change?
What had historically been a volunteer program was redesigned as a 3-credit-hour special topics course called “Mentorship.”
Our pilot “Mentorship” course was offered this spring. Students took a week of intensive study in January followed by 14 weeks to build the mentoring relationship.
The week-long intensive study involved four days of morning discussions on the theory and practice of mentorship, followed by afternoons of panel discussions with business professionals and a field trip to a company to observe its organizational mentor program. Students had assigned readings and team activities, and set specific goals for the program based on overall career objectives. The week culminated with a networking lunch on Friday where each student was paired with a specific mentor, and had the opportunity to meet additional business professionals to job shadow.