Through our academic courses, we absorbed so much knowledge about the business world, but it may be different when applying the skills in a professional setting. The choice to have an alumni mentor can offer you an opportunity to understand the business world from their perspectives and personal experiences. As an undergraduate at Penn State University, I strongly recommend partaking in the Smeal College of Business Mentoring Program. My own experience with the program has been nothing but beneficial to me. Here are some of the tips I learned to make the best out of your mentor and mentee relationship:
- Be Proactive- Your mentor is here to guide you by providing you insights on topics regarding career interest, industry, and professional development. However, it is your responsibility to reach out and remain in contact with your mentor whether it is monthly, weekly, or another agreed schedule.
- Resolve Communication Issue- Always respond to your mentor or let them know you received their email within 48 hours. On the other hand, if your mentor is not responsive after multiple attempts in the interval of 2-3 weeks, you have the right to contact the Smeal Alumni Relations Office. The key to success in this program is having clear communication and maintaining contact.
- Be Interested– Your conversations with your mentor can be about their area of expertise, a specific company, career tips, or any transferrable skills that can be applied across different industries. You can also ask for feedback and advice on your LinkedIn, resume, or upcoming interviews.
- Meet Up- Plan to meet up with your mentor at networking, or any corporate event. This is a great way to speak in person with your mentor and build on this professional relationship. Try to avoid any social activities that do not relate to your professional development, and always meet in a public space. The Smeal Alumni Mentoring Program also arranges optional meet-up lunches throughout the semester.
The Smeal Alumni Mentoring Program is one of the many ways you can reach out to alumni. There are other alternatives such as utilizing LinkedIn to reach out to alumni and learn more about the workplace. Regardless, always keep in mind to keep it professional with your mentor and thank them for their advice!