Seeing the success of the small scale mentorship programs run by some of Fuqua’s student clubs, Jennifer Kim and I saw an opportunity to team up with the Development and Alumni Relations department and take them school-wide.

We thought alumni mentors would offer students a valuable opportunity to gain both professional and personal development advice and to help them take full advantage of the Fuqua MBA in a thoughtful way. Alumni Relations recruited the mentors, while Jennifer and I engaged with interested clubs to discuss how to best implement the initiative. Students ranked their mentorship preferences by industry, function, location, gender, ethnicity, and club affiliation. And thanks to the enormous outpouring of alumni volunteers, last year, all of the roughly 200 students who wanted a mentor were matched—most to their top preferences!

How the Mentors have Helped

Larry Gladstone, MBA ’94, has fully enjoyed his experience as a Health Sector Management mentor and sees it as a mutually beneficial experience. His involvement stems from mentorship relationships that have helped him achieve his career successes. Larry prompts his mentee to reach his or her own conclusions and starts by asking very basic questions like: What have you enjoyed about different professional roles that you’ve taken on? Do you have any specific goals that you are already focused on? Larry wants his mentees to be deliberate in how they take advantage of the mentorship program and leave each conversation with at least one nugget of information.

Mike Dombeck, MBA ’03, wants to help students avoid some of the pitfalls he encountered while building his career. In his mentor relationships he has helped prepare students for their summer internships and full-time job hunts plus helped them navigate the competing demands of a Fuqua MBA. Mike views school, career, and personal life as intrinsically linked, and loves the fact that some of his relationships have endured past graduation.

One of Mike’s mentees was Lisa Moore, MBA ’11. Mike lives in the Triangle, so he and Lisa met monthly to discuss her career options and discuss planning her time at Fuqua. She appreciated that he never squashed her dreams, but allowed her to explore different paths. Mike’s experience resonated with her and as she’s made successive career transitions, she’s continued to lean on him for advice and guidance.

This year, the mentorship program is available to all Daytime MBAs. Jennifer and I always wanted to help Fuqua build a program that made a difference, gave students a new perspective and helped alumni engage with the school. We are hopeful this program will continue after we graduate and that maybe in a few years, we’ll become alumni mentors ourselves.