Life as a college student can be fraught with uncertainty about the future. And who better to understand the angst of a student than a former one?
It was that empathy with the mental mindset of the undergrad that prompted two former Foster students to launch a mentoring program.
“A student’s life is so brittle,” Nishika de Rosairo says. “They are at the point where even the most confident harbor insecurities about their careers and life in general. But having a mentor to aspire to, or who can just help guide them through that process, is an incredible advantage.”
With this in mind, de Rosairo and Anne Sackville-West (BA 2002) launched a mentorship program in 2006 for undergraduate students working toward the Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB). Anne has since moved away, and now Brian Wright helps Nishika run the program.
The program matches students with a young professional, someone who can still recall what it’s like to be an undergrad. “Most mentors have graduated within the past one to seven years so they’re more connected to what it’s like to be a student and enter the corporate world–a world quite different from what the students know,” says Nishika.
Each mentor takes a student under his or her wing for a year, providing counsel on career and life development. The benefits for the student are obvious: confidence, information, support, insight and more. And the mentor benefits too.
Mentoring improves leadership skills, and “today’s business world is demanding leaders who are well rounded and equipped to develop our talent of the future,” says Nishika.
Mentors also learn important skills such as effective listening and questioning, and how to provide constructive feedback. “For a lot of us, the hardest thing is to learn how to manage and develop people. Mentoring gives us an opportunity to improve our people management skills,” says Margaret.
Mentoring also keeps alumni connected to Foster, a prestigious business school. It provides an opportunity to network with other young professionals with similar interests. And mentoring is a fulfilling way to give back to Foster, to help nurture the next generation of business leaders while nurturing one’s own career development. For more information, contact CISB at [email protected].