The University of Redlands School of Business kicked off the ninth year of its Mentor Program in October, providing a helping hand to the school’s professionals-by-day/students-by-night.
“Our students typically sign up for our Mentor Program to move up in their current occupational area or transition into a different industry,” says Christine Taitano, director of student services for the U of R School of Business. “Sometimes students aren’t quite sure how to navigate these changes, and the program helps build their confidence.”
The program enables School of Business students entering their final year of study to connect with alumni and other working professionals. Mentors guide and support business students, meeting at least once a month and assisting them in building their professional network. The program also includes mixers and employer site visits.
Since program offerings in the School of Business are aimed at working professionals, the school hosts a large population of nontraditional students, ranging in age, experience, and background. Approximately 45 percent are the first in their families to pursue higher education.
Mentors and mentees are matched based on their regional location and occupational area of interest—a methodology that seems to be working. According to Taitano, in the last eight years, 95 percent of mentees have had a positive experience in the program, and 90 percent plan on maintaining contact with their mentor.
While School of Business students interact with their professors, there is added value in professional mentorship for first-generation students. “In addition to building self-confidence, the program provides students with opportunities they otherwise might not have had,” says Taitano. “Mentors tend to be more focused on the student’s career goals, whereas faculty can be more focused on the curriculum and academic outcomes.”
Read more about U of R’s first-generation students and programs.