Congratulations on taking the first step. I mean it; you’re investing in yourself, and looking for others to invest time and energy into your future, too.
Joining a mentorship program may feel like a small step, but it can lead to some major leaps in what you learn, who you know and, also, who knows you. According to at least one of our mentors, the insightful sales powerhouse Larry Long, Jr., that last piece may even be the most important!
NC State Entrepreneurship and the eClinic, a program of Poole College of Management, partner to run a year-round mentorship program, and the advice below is designed to help you get the most out of your year. But, we’d guess that these tips are also helpful for anyone who is curious about exploring how to build mentor/mentee relationships.
As far as the experience you can expect, we’re breaking down the 5 most important tips to not just signing up, but actually investing in this program, and in yourself. If you’re ready to take advantage of all that it offers, do these basic things and you’re well on your way.
Here are our top 5:
Take advantage of eConnect
This is a MUST. You can’t get the full experience without also utilizing the eConnect platform. This is a great place to ask smaller questions that you may not want to email or meet with someone to discuss, as well as bigger concerns.
eConnect is also a great place to throw out ideas and questions you’re not sure of. No dumb questions, our mentors love to hear from you! And always say “thank you” to close the loop after you’ve gotten feedback.
Sign up, show up and expect to play an active role
Signing up for every month’s mentorship event is important because we’ll use different platforms, have important FYIs to share and you’ll help the program maintain a balanced count of mentors to mentees.
Keep your camera on! This is a really relaxed atmosphere, and our fabulous mentors really care about making connections with students. You can communicate your willingness to do the same by being visually present (even when we can’t physically be in the same space). It’s fine to turn your camera off to grab some water, of course.
Take advantage of different themes & opportunities for each monthly event
Each month’s meetup is different! We have speed networking, small groups with focused discussions, panels, trivia, and more! We always leave lots of time for you to ask questions of mentors, whether it’s about a business venture, your professional career, or just life advice.
Become a super user
This is not a one and done experience. Plan to take advantage of as many meetups as you can to meet more mentees and build your network of fellow NC State students and mentors. Remember, the mentors are here because they were in your shoes once, and they are showing up each month to help you, so don’t be shy!
On that note, you will meet someone new at every event, and if you don’t — share that feedback with us! Try to meet as many mentors as you can. Once you’ve found someone you’d like to chat with, don’t linger too long! You can always pick your conversation on later. Use that time to explore more possible relationships whenever possible. If you are struggling to find someone with experience in a particular area of expertise, let a staff member know and we will do our best to connect you!
Build relationships, not contacts
Through monthly discussions, you should be adding quality relationships to the portfolio of people who support you. You’re adding coaches, mentors and potentially even new friends through this program. This is different from adding quick contacts on LinkedIn, and our goal is that you’re still meeting these people for coffee years after you leave NC State. If you start a conversation with someone, make sure to close the loop. Nothing burns bridges faster than not following up when you should. Don’t leave things hanging!
According to the Harvard Business Review, “single mentors are also less career-enhancing than robust developmental networks or mentoring constellations.” Simply put, we’re not forcing you into a relationship here, and are instead supporting a culture of mentorship and a way to plug in. So, through an AI platform paired with fun, informal events that serve up incredible opportunities to interact, learn and grow your network — you can make huge strides in what you learn, who you know and… what was it again? Who knows you!
There are so many other lessons we’d love to chat about, and we’re always here for the human-centered intro, so lean on us as you navigate the program and it’s included events to help you connect with people who can amplify your career and your personal growth.
Here’s to an incredible year, Wolfpack!