One of my favourite MBA experiences is the Mentors in Business (MIB) program because it is a great opportunity not only for networking but more importantly, it is an opportunity to work on improving professional skills with the help of a mentor.
1. How to participate in the program?
The MIB is a program offered by the Career Management Centre twice a year: Spring (January to June) and Summer (July to December). I am part of the Spring program and to participate, I had to fill out an application form in which I have to include: my motivation for joining the program, the goals I want to achieve with this program and the industries I am interested in. My recommendation is that you take the time to think carefully about the answer to this question, especially the one about the objectives because the success of your participation in this program and getting the most out of it will depend on you setting the right goals that will contribute to your professional development.
2. What is the time dedication and commitment?
It’s up to you. As with everything in the MBA, you decide how much time and effort you want to put in. One rule that applies to everything in the MBA is that you get as much out of it as you put in. Therefore, to get the most out of this program, you have to commit to putting in your best effort and preparing before each session with the mentor. Each person will have a different experience in this program depending on the relationship they develop with their mentor and their time availability. In my experience, I meet with my mentor once every three weeks for an hour, but sometimes we go on for longer. Before each meeting, I establish the topics I want to talk about in that meeting, prepare an agenda for the meeting, and establish the goals I want to accomplish during the meeting. These three things help me get the most out of each of my meetings with my mentor.
3. My experience with the program:
My experience with the program has been incredible and I would 100% recommend future MBA students to participate in the MIB. I joined the program for two reasons: first, I wanted to learn about a new industry that I was interested in but had no prior experience in and second, I wanted to develop my leadership and management skills. The Career Management Center assigned me a mentor who could help me with both of these goals. In my first meeting with my mentor, we spent time getting to know each other, deciding how we are going to manage future meetings, and setting the overall goals to be achieved throughout the meeting. The following meetings have been very different, we have worked on different topics and my mentor has helped me with different skills that I want to develop. For example, one of the skills I wanted to improve was networking, so in one of the meetings, he helped me with this: he told me about his experience in networking, gave me recommendations for improvement, and we simulated a networking session so he could give me feedback.
The Mentors in Business program has truly enriched my MBA experience and I encourage you to take advantage of all professional development opportunities available to you at SFU Beedie.
About the Author
Alexander Traugott is a member of the 2021 full-time MBA cohort at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. Alexander is in love with the business world and considers himself a business shaper. He has over 8 years of professional experience and for the past 4 years has been working in the financial planning and analysis department. With strong analytical and problem-solving skills, Alexander is looking forward to new opportunities in strategy and finance upon completion of the MBA program.