Mentorship program now offered

The School of Business is now offering a mentorship program to help students make the transition from college to the business world. In its preliminary stages, the program was offered to honor students this semester, with plans to expand to upperclassmen students in the spring.

The idea was proposed in order to create collaborative relationships between experienced professionals and upper-level students in the school of business.

Jane Pettinger, head of the mentorship program has recruited several MSUM alumni to participate as mentors and currently has 14 students matched up with professionals in the area ranging from CEOs and CFOs to CPAs. She said that reasoning behind offering the program only to honor students this term was to decipher what works and what doesn’t, and where the program should be tweaked before offering it to students for credit.

“Probably three or four times I am going to meet with the students as a group and say, ‘OK, what works well with this and what doesn’t?’” Pettinger said. “What target group of students should we utilize, and what kind of support can I provide? So we can kind of define the parameters and make sure that it is an ideal program for as many people as possible.”

The mentors will serve as a resource to students for all questions and concerns they have regarding specific jobs, career paths, corporate cultures and industries. They will share the knowledge and wisdom they have acquired throughout the years.

In December 2010, a similar mentorship program was proposed and carried out campuswide for two semesters. This particular program was aimed at underclassmen struggling to choose a career path. The new program followed the same foundation, but will feature upperclassmen preparing to take the next big step.

“Our focus is going to be very definitely on transitions out of college into the workforce,” Pettinger said. “So we know we are going to utilize upperclassmen, whether its juniors or seniors is yet to be fully defined.”

To create the matches between mentor and mentee, Pettinger had participants complete profiles that asked mentors questions such as job title, how long they have been in the position and what they did for fun in college on the sider. They asked students questions such as what they are studying, what they are involved in on campus and where they see themselves career wise.

“I match them up best as possible, based on similar interests,” Pettinger said.

The program is expected to feature 25 to 50 students per term once in full swing. Those students involved will be majoring in business administration, accounting, finance or international business.

“School is really hard, and it’s scary to take that next step,” Pettinger said. “So this (mentor) is someone to walk along side of a little bit.”

For more information on the Executive Mentorship Program, contact Pettinger at pettinger@mnstate.edu.

BY MEREDITH WATHNE
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