The corporate mentorship program offered through the M.B.A. program at the Sam M. Walton College of Business offers students the opportunity to interact with senior industry leaders and gain knowledge in a way they could not in a regular classroom setting.
The program features two types of mentors—relational mentors and technical mentors—who assist students by answering questions and providing guidance as students make the transition to their roles as full-time employees in the business world.
“I chose to join the corporate mentor program because I knew that the program would open my eyes to new experiences and perspectives,” Joshua Baxter, a student in the program, said. “To the extent that my business experience was limited, the more opportunities I had to learn from experienced employees, the better.”
Amongst these mentors are Sydney Tucker, Stormey Collins, Jason Evans, Alex Kieslich, Laura Berger, Dinesh Hegde, Ryan Stearle, Zak Lowe, Bethany Freeman, Riley Shearin and Steve Fortner. These senior level executives were all mentors to the outgoing M.B.A. class, and they bring knowledge and experience from a wide range of companies such as Sam’s Club, The Harvest Group, Conair Corporation, Walmart, Procter & Gamble and others.
Riley Shearin, one of the mentors employed at J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., says of the program, “It has been my pleasure to participate as a mentor in the corporate mentorship program at the Walton College. The high quality interaction with the students has hopefully been as rewarding to them as it has to me.”
He said conversations during the program have evolved from general discussions to specific advice about current situations that the students are working through in their professional lives.
In the relational mentoring, 3 to 4 students usually meet with a professional mentor every 6 to 8 weeks or as often as needed. This type of mentoring allows students to address a wide range of concerns such as forming professional relationships and handling situations from work or internships.
Technical mentoring differs from the relational mentoring as it deals with more specific topics. Those groups are made up of 4 to 5 students plus the mentor. The groups are created using information provided by the students regarding their areas of interest. This helps ensure that the students are being paired with a mentor that they can benefit from the most.
Some of the topics discussed have included instructing students about developing a personal brand, the best way to find and open the door for their dream job, tips for successful resume building and interviewing, and negotiating pay and job offers. Among some of the more broad topics discussed are leadership skills, dealing with conflict at work and advancing one’s career.
Mentors bring their own perspective and experience and students bring their own issues and questions, making the collaboration meaningful and helpful.
The corporate mentoring program prepares students for matters beyond the classroom while also allowing the opportunity for networking and relationships amongst students and corporate executives. “It’s unique programs like this that set the Walton College apart from the rest and reinforce the pride I have in being a Walton College alum,” Shearin said.