The Foster School launched its MBA Mentor Program in 1999 to offer students a broader and deeper understanding of business through regular meetings with business leaders from a wide array of companies and industries.
Though it’s a voluntary program, more than 250 full-time and evening MBAs each year take advantage of the golden opportunity to learn from one of 86 senior executives about careers, companies and industries, and to discuss the keys to effective leadership, overcoming challenges and finding long-term success.
The program has been so successful that director Susan Canfield regularly fields inquiries from the world’s top business schools—Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, Chicago, MIT, to name a few—when they are considering installing or improving their own mentoring programs.
Canfield attributes the Foster program’s exemplary status to six differentiating qualities:
Leadership – The Foster School leadership—including Dean Jim Jiambalvo and Assistant Dean Naomi Sanchez—is a strong supporter of the MBA Mentor Program, providing essential backing and resources.
Longevity – At 15 years, it’s one of the oldest continuously running MBA mentor programs in the country.
Innovation – Foster has been on the vanguard of trends such as group mentoring, speed mentoring, reverse mentoring and promoting mentoring networks.
Efficiency – Mentoring software facilitates the logistics of mentor-student matching and students who serve as lead contacts synch schedules and organize preparation for meetings.
Flexibility — Within the program structure is a great deal of latitude to adapt based on the needs and wishes of mentors and students.
Commitment – The program is powered by a potent renewable energy—senior executives who serve as mentors year after year. “Our mentors say they get more than they give,” Canfield says. “They enjoy hearing what’s on the minds of future business leaders, they like being asked the tough questions that help them reflect on their own career and decisions, they are energized by being around bright and eager minds, and they enjoy getting to know other mentors who share their same commitment. Foster is lucky to be in the midst of many generous alumni and a giving-back business community.”