Since 2014, the Opus College of Business has matched more than 80 alumni as mentors and mentees as part of its expanded mentorship program. On Tuesday, August 18, five of these pairs were invited to attend Marvelous Mentors, a program honoring five outstanding mentors in the Twin Cities and celebrating the unique bond that can form between mentor and mentee.
Although traditionally viewed as a relationship that primarily benefits the mentee, who can tap into the experience and knowledge of a seasoned professional, studies show it can be just as beneficial for mentors. We spoke to some of our mentors and mentees currently participating in the program and narrowed down the top three benefits of mentoring, no matter which side of the equation one falls on.
IT’S A TWO-WAY STREET
Gone are the days when a mentor simply imparted knowledge to a mentee, offering up war stories as a way to teach and enlighten the younger professional. Not only do Millennials not always respond well to this one-way communication, many feel they have much to add to a mentoring relationship. Today, mentoring can be a true partnership, with the mentor able to provide guidance and clues to industry culture and mentees sharing their knowledge about social media, technology and trends that can offer valuable clues to how markets will evolve in the future.
Mentors also don’t necessarily need to share the same field or industry to have impact on one another. “What I have found to be most helpful about the program at the Opus College of Business is having access to a mentor outside of my field,” said Andrea Hewick ’16 M.B.A, an outside account manager for ThyssenKrupp Material NA, who was paired with Dexter Davis ’06 M.B.A., a senior procurement manager at Ecolab. “Dexter gives me a different perspective on ideas or situations that people in my immediate environment may not see. I’ve enjoyed getting to know him and hearing about his career path and experiences in the UST MBA program.”
IT CAN INSPIRE INNOVATION AND RENEW PASSION
In a recent study about the benefits of mentoring for mentors published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior, the findings of a meta-analysis indicated that mentors versus non-mentors were more satisfied with their jobs and committed to the organization. Mentoring can ignite a passion for one’s chosen career for the person being mentored while at the same time reinvigorating the mentor, who benefits from an influx of new ideas, the enthusiasm of the mentee and the opportunity to see one’s own experiences in a new way. Through the college’s program, Chris Munsie ’99 M.B.A., a national account manager for Hewlett Packard, was paired with Peter Nguyen ’16 M.B.A, who is currently a key account executive for Kellogg Company. Munsie said mentoring has given her a great opportunity to connect, network in a format in which both parties can openly share experiences and gain new perspective. “Since Peter and I both come from the consumer products industry we have had some engaging conversations on how to drive product sales through discounting and promotional activities,” Munsie said. “Peter has given me some thoughts and insights that I’ve found to be helpful.”
IT’S ABOUT CONNECTION
The main purpose of a mentorship – helping young professionals find themselves and their footing in their chosen profession – remains intact. But serving in this role is often deeply satisfying for the mentor, who often describe taking great pleasure in helping others succeed and giving back.
Ryan Jansen ’13 M.B.A, owner of Siegen Sports, has served as mentor to Katie Priebe ’16 M.B.C. for the past year. Jansen said he was motivated to help someone who currently is where he was just a couple of years ago. “I think back to when I was in the Executive MBA program and it was such a unique time,” Jansen said. “I was working full time, starting my own company and going to school all at once. So I want to serve as a support system for someone and help them navigate these waters so they get the most out of it.” Because Priebe is still fairly new to the Twin Cities, Jansen has also helped her make connections with other professionals by introducing her to contacts within his network. "Building a professional network is so important in the business world,” Priebe said. “As I made the transition from broadcast TV to the public relations industry, my mentoring experience has been such a positive. Working with Ryan has helped me grow – we meet for happy hours on a regular basis and he provides guidance on classes, work load and ways to continue to grow my professional relationships."
Want to see some of our current mentor/mentee pairs talking about their experiences? This video was featured at the Marvelous Mentors event on August 18.
If you’re an alumnus who is ready to share your time, resources and experience with someone at the start of their career, or if you’re a current student who wants help identifying opportunities, making connections and navigating your career, contact Amanda Wagner, assistant director of Graduate Business Alumni Relations to become part of the our mentorship program.