Making the Most of Mentorship: Insights From Successful Business Professionals

Mentorship Blog

Mentorship is a cornerstone of professional growth, and to gain insights into its impact, we've collected diverse perspectives from founders, directors, and various leaders. From the significance of career fairs in opening mentorship doors to taking a proactive approach, explore the twelve valuable pieces of advice these experienced professionals offer to business students on the hunt for mentorship.

  • Opening Doors in Career Fairs
  • Seeking Informal Opportunities
  • Empowering Independent Problem-Solving
  • Selecting Mentors Aligned With Your Values
  • Helping Define Career Direction 
  • Shadowing Provides Insight
  • Thriving with Clear Expectations
  • Engaging in Your Industry for Opportunities
  • Viewing Mentorship as a Co-Learning Journey
  • Offering Fulfillment and Perspective
  • Enhancing Strategic and Negotiation Skills
  • Taking a Proactive Approach 

Opening Doors in Career Fairs

My mentor spared me from pursuing ill-fitting career paths. If you're unsure about finding a mentor, consider attending your school's career fair with an open mind and curiosity. 

Apply for positions, but also initiate conversations with company representatives. Inquire about their career journey and seek advice; this could open doors to a valuable mentorship opportunity.

Ben Bozzay, Founder and Senior Fullstack Developer, Tech Lockdown

Seeking Informal Opportunities

While I’ve never had an official mentor, the guidance and support I received from various figures in my professional journey have been integral to my growth. These mentors, often in the form of managers and supervisors, provided me with opportunities, such as challenging projects and promotions, which were hugely important in my development.

For instance, a memorable manager from my time at a university's recreation center not only offered regular feedback but also taught me practical skills like using InDesign and recognizing and aligning with my interests. More importantly, this manager expressed belief in my potential, which was incredibly impactful during my formative years. This relationship has sustained over a decade, evolving into mutual mentorship, where we share advice, resources, and support in our respective endeavors.

My advice to business students seeking mentors is to look beyond formal mentorship programs. While platforms like or The Mentoring Club are valuable resources, mentorship can also arise naturally in various settings, such as workplaces, educational institutions, or even within your network. It's crucial to find someone who is not only experienced but also empathetic, understanding, and genuinely interested in your growth without imposing their agendas.

Eva Chan, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Senior Content Specialist, Resume Genius

Empowering Independent Problem-Solving

I was incredibly lucky to have a mentor who stuck with me for over a decade. Even when I switched jobs, he continued to guide me. His impact was so profound that I've now become a mentor myself, helping others navigate their career paths.

The best part about having a mentor was not just getting straightforward answers. Instead, it was about having someone to bounce ideas off of and get unstuck when I hit a roadblock. It was especially helpful to have someone who understood the ins and outs of the organization, helping me steer through the often complex and slow-moving parts of a large company.

Now, in my role as a mentor, I focus on empowering my mentees. I believe it's important for them to learn how to solve problems on their own. If they rely too much on others, it can hold back the whole team. So, I guide them, but I also challenge them to think independently and find their solutions. It's all about helping them grow into confident, self-reliant professionals.

Kimberley Tyler-Smith, VP of Strategy and Growth, Resume Worded

Selecting Mentors Aligned with Your Values

In my journey of co-founding our online Spanish school, mentorship wasn't a mere perk; it was a cornerstone. Having the guidance of a seasoned business veteran was akin to navigating uncharted entrepreneurial waters with a seasoned captain at the helm. They acted as a brutally honest yet supportive sounding board, challenging my assumptions with insightful critiques and pushing me to refine my strategic vision. Their extensive network proved invaluable, opening doors to investors, industry experts, and vital partnerships that propelled our fledgling venture forward. 

Most importantly, their unwavering belief in our mission served as a beacon of confidence, a constant reminder of our purpose even amidst challenging tides. To aspiring business students, I say this: Invest in seeking a mentor, for this strategic alliance can be the most enriching investment you make. 

Choose not for accolades, but for someone whose wisdom and values resonate with your own, someone who has blazed a trail similar to the one you seek. Be proactive, demonstrate your passion and thirst for learning, and remember, this is a collaborative dance, not a one-sided performance. When you find the right guide, watch as your entrepreneurial voyage transforms from a perilous solo trek to a confident, collaborative expedition toward success.

Connor Ondriska, Co-Founder and CEO, SpanishVIP

Helping Define Career Direction

Mentorship has given me a more precise direction throughout my career and helped me develop in specific areas to reach my goals. I've leveraged my mentors to narrow down the exact skills and experiences I needed to develop to reach my current position and to pave the way for future leadership opportunities. 

Mentorship was also crucial for me when two different job positions opened up, and I was the number one candidate. Deciding between the two came down to advice from a trusted mentor, which was the right decision.

I advise business students seeking mentors to take the initiative and drive the relationship. As mentors, people are taking the time to help you; you must come prepared with at least a general idea of where you need guidance and have some questions ready to start the conversation.

Diego Corona, Sr. Sales Consultant

Shadowing Provides Insight

I would say, try to find a mentor who will let you shadow them and give you a “look behind the curtain”; otherwise, you're never going to get the insights that you would expect from a mentor.

Tracey Beveridge, HR Director, Personnel Checks

Thriving with Clear Expectations

Mentorship is extremely important for someone trying to grow their career. Mentoring and mentorship are tools to use throughout your career—not just when you are starting out. 

I always advise people, when they ask someone to be their mentor, to set clear expectations about what they would like to learn from them, the time commitment that may be required, and any day exclusions they should be aware of for meeting with their mentor.

For people who consider themselves “more seasoned,” don't forget a mentor may be a good way for you to learn—especially if it is a new skill you haven't used before. Even if you have been working for decades, it is always good to look at other professionals as a source of learning.

Jacqueline Niderost, Head of Product Management, Vast View Paradigm

Engaging in Your Industry for Opportunities

I’m the Director of a Student Letting Agency and often am surrounded by the subject of student development and what is best for them as they look to educate themselves and find a career.

I believe mentorship can play a pivotal role in career development by providing invaluable guidance, insights, and support. Being close to the action, engaging with mentors, and actively seeking opportunities to learn from their experiences have been step one in my professional journey. Actively participating in industry events, networking, and immersing oneself in the work environment are crucial for gaining practical knowledge and building meaningful connections.

For business students seeking mentors, my advice is to proactively seek out opportunities to be close to the industry, attend networking events, and approach potential mentors with a genuine eagerness to learn. Building relationships, staying curious, and showing a commitment to personal and professional growth will enhance the mentorship experience and contribute to long-term career success.

Jaskaran Deu, Director, DEU Estates

Viewing Mentorship as a Co-Learning Journey

Mentorship, through every phase of my leadership journey, has provided invaluable wisdom that I still apply today while paying it forward. However, truly unlocking a mentor’s insights requires proactive engagement based on mutual understanding, not a one-sided download. My advice to rising talent is to seek mentors as kindred spirits rather than heroes—connect through shared purpose over prestige.

Early on, I admit to idolizing certain veteran executives more like celebrities than potential partners. This distorted the dynamics of those relationships by placing mentors on a pedestal, barely approachable. Once I reframed mentorship as a platform for co-learning based on aligned passions and experiences, despite our career stages, more authentic two-way sharing flourished.

For example, my first startup mentor related deeply to my entrepreneurial struggles as a past founder herself. Our monthly debates on balancing technical debt, hiring trade-offs, and fundraising strategies diluted her sage advice. Together, we explored tensions. Over the years, this peer-feeling mentorship built the confidence I carry today.

I encourage emerging leaders to seek advisors who inspire self-improvement through their worldview, not just accomplishments. Define your core values and vision, then find aligned stewards. The most empowering guidance comes from places of mutual understanding, not one-way prescribing. Mentorship should be a journey of growth and possibilities thinking.

Debbie Chew, Global SEO Manager, Dialpad

Offering Fulfillment and Perspective

Over the years, I've had the privilege of guiding and mentoring many kids and young men. This stems largely from my experience with a mentor who played a pivotal role in shaping my career and offering support during challenging times. 

Now, as a mentor myself, I find profound fulfillment in aiding others on their paths. It's a humbling experience that broadens my perspective on life and its priorities as I witness these individuals embark on diverse journeys. It's somewhat akin to observing children as they navigate their paths in life.

William Schroeder, Co-Owner, Just Mind

Enhancing Strategic and Negotiation Skills

One of the most memorable experiences was when I had a mentor who excelled in strategic thinking. They encouraged me to look beyond the day-to-day tasks and focus on the bigger picture. For instance, when planning a marketing campaign, they taught me to consider the long-term brand image rather than just short-term gains. This shift in perspective significantly improved our campaign strategies and their long-lasting impact.

In another instance, a mentor with expertise in negotiation skills guided me through a challenging contract negotiation. They shared practical tips on building rapport, setting clear expectations, and knowing when to stand firm or compromise. Thanks to their guidance, we successfully secured a crucial deal that had a substantial impact on our company's growth.

A mentor helped me understand the importance of personal branding in today's professional landscape. They showed me how to effectively use social media to showcase my expertise and connect with industry influencers. Their advice on personal branding helped me establish myself as a credible professional, leading to new opportunities and valuable partnerships.

These examples highlight how mentors can provide invaluable, actionable guidance that shapes one's career path and leads to growth and success.

Bhavik Sarkhedi, Growth Head and CMO, Content Whale

Taking a Proactive Approach

Mentorship has been a key factor in my career development, particularly in my journey to become the Founder and CEO of AdmissionSight. I was fortunate to have mentors who guided me through the intricacies of the business world, imparting invaluable knowledge and insights that I could not have gained otherwise. They helped me navigate challenging situations, make informed decisions, and, more importantly, understand the value of resilience and perseverance in the face of setbacks. 

My advice for business students seeking mentors is to be proactive and open-minded. Contact professionals in your field of interest, attend networking events, and don't be afraid to ask questions. A good mentor can provide guidance, but it's also important to remember that your career path is ultimately your own. Take their advice into account, but always make decisions that align with your values and long-term goals.

Eric Eng, Founder, CEO, Private College Admissions Consultant, and Business Owner, AdmissionSight

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