This week fifty first and second year Full-time UST MBA students embark on their Mentor program directed by Graduate Business Career Services.  Mentors have been paired with students based on career objectives, as well as a shared interest in the industry and company of their mentor.  These partnerships range from a wide variety of companies including 3M, Target Corporation, Cargill, Medtronic and many others. Finding a mentor can be rather difficult and cumbersome.  Steve Yakesh,  Executive Vice Preseident of Versique Executive Search and Consulting breaks down the process for those who wish to form a mentorship of their own.

Thousands of training companies and products exist to help individuals grow in virtually any profession. Many of these tools are great, but often cover broad topics, such as communications, management, and business acumen. How do you go about receiving customized training for your unique situation? A great option is to find a career mentor.

A mentor should be someone you can sit down with individually and discuss areas that are important to you. They can help you scribe a personal development plan, and can be available to lean on for advice and wisdom. Sounds great, right?

So, how do you find the right mentor?  Below are four tips to keep in mind:

1. Find someone who will be candid. The best mentors are individuals who are candid and won’t just tell you what you want to hear. Your greatest development will come through discussions around your areas of weakness. Note: These discussions should be constructive, leaving you with acknowledgement of your areas of opportunity, and hope for improvement.

3. A mentor should have more experience than you. The best leaders surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are. The same is true with finding a mentor. Remember, you are trying to get better, not vice versa. Experience is the one thing you can’t learn in the classroom or through training. Leverage experience through your mentor.2. The best mentors are outside your current company. Finding a mentor outside of your company will allow for a different perspective and exposure to different strategies and tactics. Finding someone in a related industry can be a plus, but don’t be afraid to find a mentor in a completely different industry as well!

4. A great mentor needs to have the time. There are thousands of great potential mentors, but not everyone has the time to commit. If a potential mentor is not at the right place in their career and can’t dedicate time to the relationship, regardless of how great they are, it won’t work.

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Minneapolis is a hot spot for successful businesses, spanning numerous industries. Get out there and start networking, and you’ll be sure to run across individuals who are in the right position to mentor. Maybe you’ll be able to offer the same guidance to another business professional down the road!

About the Author

Steve Yakesh is the EVP at Versique Executive Search and Consulting. He has over nine years of experience in the recruiting industry, as well as sales and marketing leadership experiences from both global 50 and Fortune 500 companies. He can be reached at syakesh@versique.com.