Mentor Program

The mentor program at USD’s School of Business Administration has had a profound impact on the development of my future career and is just one of the many aspects of the personalized service this university has to offer. 

- Victoria Furman
  JD/MBA Candidate, 2009

The MBA Mentor Program provides students access to alumni and business community members in their field of choice, opening windows of opportunity they may not have otherwise had.

Mentor Program

The MBA Mentor Program at the University of San Diego (USD) is run by MBA Career Services (MBACS) and creates collaborative relationships between experienced MBA alumni and local business professionals with first year students in the current Full-Time MBA.

These mentor relationships are not designed to "get students a job;" they are meant to provide networking opportunities that allow students to learn about a particular industry, the day-to-day responsibilities in a particular functional area or position, the culture fit with companies of interest, and for mentors to advise on how to best develop themselves to become leaders in their chosen field.

These relationships may also open doors to unadvertised hiring needs within an organization.

Additionally, "Mentoring Circles" are created to increase the exposure of each student exposure to mentors in other fields or similar fields to diversify networks. The program is designed to formally come together once every three months for various workshops. In the in between months, the mentee and mentor set a plan to meet and correspond on a regular basis.

Mentee (Student) Role and Responsibilities

A mentee is a USD MBA student who is motivated and takes responsibility for his/her own professional development and growth. Mentees respect and value their relationships with mentors. As a mentee, they will:

  • Initiate contact with mentor
  • Learn about specific jobs, career paths, corporate cultures, and industries
  • Receive advice related to career path
  • Accept feedback without becoming defensive
  • Communicate with mentor on a regular basis (i.e. 1-3 hours per month)
  • Be realistic about expectations of mentor
  • Understand mentor's expectations
  • Plan and set the agenda for each meeting
  • Explore opportunities presented by mentor
  • Shadow mentor at work if allowed
  • Thank mentor for his/her time regularly

Mentor (Alumni and Business Professional) Roles and Responsibilities

Mentors will advise and coach a mentee on the transition from business school to work, networking, careers, and industries. Mentors respect and value their relationships with mentees. As a mentor, they will:

  • Share knowledge about education, specific jobs, career paths, corporate cultures, and industries
  • Honestly describe the steps taken in personal career. What has been successful and what would have been done differently?
  • Create an open and comfortable environment
  • Clearly communicate expectations of mentee
  • Be available to mentee and communicate regularly with him/her (i.e. 1-3 hours per month)
  • Be an active listener with mentee<
  • Be aware of opportunities that mentee should explore and encourage him/her to explore them
  • Introduce mentee to business associates and facilitate networking

Communicating Clear Expectations

  • MBACS strongly recommends that Mentors and Mentees clearly communicate expectations early in the relationship.
  • Make this discussion a priority for the first or second meeting or phone call, so that each party understands the responsibilities he or she is agreeing to.
  • Mentees should be prepared to verbalize what they would like to gain from the mentorship, and in what ways the Mentor’s help would be most beneficial.
  • Mentors should be prepared to respond to the Mentees, about what he or she can work toward or promise, as well as identify potentially unrealistic expectations.
  • Clearly communicating expectations from the beginning not only sets a standard for honest communication and mutual responsibility, but also decreases the possibility of misunderstandings later on.

Setting Realistic Goals and Objectives

  • MBACS strongly recommends that at the onset of the mentoring relationship, the Mentee and Mentor identify goals and objectives to achieve during the mentorship. MBACS also encourages each Mentor-Mentee to address whether goals and objectives are realistic. (Keep in mind that the scope of accomplishments should be attainable within the April – Dec. time frame of the program).
  • Mentoring pairs should avoid unrealistic expectations, such as swift advancement, "quick-fixes" on employment issues, or immediate integration of new professional skills and ideas.
  • Mentors can use their knowledge of the market or of a particular industry to help manage the Mentee's expectations of what can be accomplished during the course of the year, and which objectives may take longer to reach.
  • If realistic goals and objectives are not agreed upon, please contact MBACS to ensure success.

What does it take to mentor an MBA student?

Our students need access to business professionals that provide insight and learning opportunities into their future career of choice. If you are a business professional in the San Diego area and are interested in becoming a Mentor for a current MBA student, please contact Kara Weller at 619-260-4840 or kweller@sandiego.edu.