Insights from an MBA Mentor & Mentee
Meet Eunice and Arden – Eunice is an Alberta MBA student entering her second year of studies, and Arden is an Alberta MBA alumni and successful local entrepreneur! Both met earlier this year at a speaker event initiated by the Alberta MBA Finance Association (MFA) for students, where Arden delivered a presentation with insights into the finance industry. With his approachable and friendly demeanor, Eunice knew when she later spotted him at the annual Alberta MBA Mentorship Program Mixer that he was the ideal mentor for her. Eunice’s timely and proactive approach ensured she was the first to officially select Arden as her mentor of choice for the 2015 Alberta MBA Mentorship Program!
To Eunice, much of the success of their mentor-mentee relationship is attributed to Arden’s genuine interest in learning about her; patience to understand her strengths and weaknesses; willingness to share learnings from his own experiences; and, his excellent coaching abilities. According to Arden, “No one knows Eunice better than she knows herself, so my job as a mentor is to ask the right questions to enhance her thinking so she can make decisions based on all available information.”
Arden’s approach as a mentor has been significantly shaped by his own mentors, which he’s had throughout his career. Some of these mentors have played the role of executive life coach to Arden, and have been there with him through various transitions, difficult times and successes in his life. Ultimately, they’ve played a large part in Arden’s growth over the years, and as such, he sees strong value in mentor-mentee relationships.
To Arden, Eunice has been an exceptional protégé for a number of reasons. She has been very engaged, has invested significant effort in her role as a mentee and has kept an open mind to adjusting her approach and behaviors where needed. Arden believes that one of the main goals of the mentor-mentee relationship is to encourage the mentee to think about his/her position. “It’s okay to disagree with your mentor. As long as you’ve thought about your stance and what’s right for you as a result, then our conversation has mattered.”
At the beginning of their mentor-mentee relationship, Eunice and Arden established two main goals that they wanted to address during this experience. The first was to dig into Eunice’s skill set and help her hone in on her core strengths, which would then help her identify her ideal career path. The second was to help Eunice reach out to the corporate community, and ultimately to be more focused in her networking efforts. Arden encouraged Eunice to establish realistic goals for each networking session. For example, at one event, interact with a set number of people in her industry of interest; at another event, set up an information interview with someone she would like to learn more about. This approach helped minimize the daunting feeling of networking and instead, Eunice was able to tackle the networking sessions with realistic goals for each.
For MBA students looking to enter into a mentor-mentee relationship, Arden and Eunice strongly believe that gaining a mentor is not about connecting you to a company or getting you a job. To them, this seems to be a common misunderstanding and is a very transactional way of looking at the relationship. On the other hand, a true mentorship can offer numerous benefits and ultimately, a long-term relationship. This long-term relationship is what Arden and Eunice are looking forward to carrying on in the future!
You can find out more about the MBA Mentorship program and other services available to students through our Career Management Centre website.