In order to be as successful as you can be in your business career, you should find a mentor to help you along the way – an adviser who can share their experiences and insights from their own career. This mentor should be a superior but not necessarily a boss, as they should act more like a friend lending a hand than an executive giving a work assignment. As in your career, it is important to find a mentor in your MBA program – someone who has been there before you, a few years or more ahead of your program pace, who can offer help with course selection, job advice and the stresses of life.
Many MBA programs have mentoring programs in place to assign you a mentor in your first year. This structure often resembles the “big sibling” programs that have been successful at many top medical schools. Unfortunately, however, it does not always achieve the result it strives for, as many students never form the necessary bond with their mentor. Some mentors don’t put in the time or energy required to to be successful with their mentees and help them when they are truly in need.
Why is it important to have an MBA mentor? Your mentor will give you guidance and advice not taught in your classes. As you move towards completing your MBA, your mentor will be able to set up networking events for you to broaden your professional network and potentially land you your next job.
Many students and professionals are today choosing Executive or Online MBA programs. While these programs can be more convenient and less expensive, they often fall short with regards to mentors. Online classes offer minimal interaction with fellow students, professors and guests that may be pivotal to finding that person who shares your interests and aspirations. For these MBA programs, try to be more open to finding that mentor in your workplace or MBA internship.
Remember, it’s important to be open and honest with your mentor, much as you would with a family member. Ask lots of questions and set your goals high. In the end, your mentor may become a life-long friend or business partner!