Not all the learning at Foster takes place in the classroom or online.
The UW Foster Mentor Program pairs business executives with MBA students where students learn the tacit and unwritten rules of business. Through the UW Foster MBA Mentor program, mentees figure out how to navigate a career path, define their own way of prioritizing work/life balance and learn self-awareness and develop greater composure and executive presence. Following his mentor meetups one mentee observed, “I was better able to understand what I can’t find on Google.”
Some reports from the field from Foster MBA mentees:
Navigating a career path
Foster MBAs might know where they ultimately want to go but not how to get there. Mentors help them in figure it out. One MBA mentee observed that the mentor helped him be more intentional in learning what he can take away from an MBA and provided “reassurance that I was on the right career path.” Still another described how her mentor helped her change careers at a mid-level role rather than starting at the bottom by “building a brand essence.” And during the first quarter, one student said that her mentor’s guidance and support helped her understand how to use her background and specialized knowledge “to accelerate my career pivot!”
Greater self awareness
Working with their mentors, students discerned their likes and dislikes, their capabilities and their limits. Some mentors used a strength-finders assessment to better identify who they are at their best. Students especially appreciated mentors who were “candid when it comes to giving feedback as this helped to see and plan a bigger picture.” One student told us, “ it is effective to learn from your mistakes but efficient to learn from someone else’s. My mentor completely opened up about his successes and failures in life which has been invaluable to learn and understand.” As they prepare to leave Foster, our graduating MBAs learn to manage transitions with self-awareness and to learn from feedback and storytelling to chart their own life course.
It’s not all about work
Mentees also described learning from their mentors to enter the business world with a sense of balance. Mentees found their mentors were concerned about professional success. But they also looked at the bigger picture. “He’s interested in our personal success too with our families, personal character, and personal finances,” said one mentee.
These are just a few examples of thanks and gratitude expressed to us by Foster MBAs about their MBA Mentor experience. MBA alum have told us time and again that they encountered a difficult situation after business school and reflected, “ah that is what my mentor meant!” As our 2020 Foster MBAs graduate, we wish them smooth sailing, and perhaps more important, a quick re-aligning of their ships when rough seas do inevitably develop. They will know that the extra ballast in rough seas is in no small part due to their mentors.
A heartfelt thanks to our mentors.
Director, UW Foster Mentor Program