How to Get the Most Out of a Mentoring Relationship

By Ingrid Cazalis, Global MBA 2013-2014, France

The Global MBA offers a unique mentoring program. The administration takes 2 months to assign the right mentor to the right mentee, depending on our profile and future career path. My journey with my mentor started in October 2013.

What is the role of the mentee? The mentee needs to be active with the mentor! Since our mentors are professionals who travel a lot and have full agendas, perseverance is key. Furthermore, since the relationship is new for both parties, it needs to be built up together, depending on our specific needs and career stage. Some initial steps include reviewing your CV and cover letter, considering strategies for getting into the job market, developing network connections…

So what is a good mentor? In my case, and for most students, a good mentor is someone who finds the time to meet with you, follows up with you, and helps the mentee fix personal deadlines. Since students are so focused on studies and exams in T1, we think that we have plenty of time to work on our job hunt later. This is wrong. By Christmas, you should know where you want to go and have finished constructing your CV, cover letter, and networking approach. The mentor, who is removed from day-to-day student life, can help you organize these tasks and clarify your thoughts.

For my part, I had a dilemma: with 7 years of experience in purchasing, should I stay in this activity, or change to another industry such as automotive or railway? My mentor, Luca Manici, Purchasing Director at Faurecia, did not give me solutions, but helped me to define my project step by step. We met once a month for two hours, sometimes by phone if he was traveling. Since our mentors usually work in our industry, or the industry we want to work in, they can also give us some key tips on networking. Posted job offers only represent 20% of the job market, so it is very important to develop your network, starting in January, to reach the 80% of jobs in the “hidden market.”

With interviews approaching, your professional project has to be logical and well thought out. This doesn’t mean that you have to follow the same career path, but you have to be able to explain your evolution clearly. The mentor is there to challenge your project and help you prepare for interviews. Personally, in 7 years of working, I had never done an interview in person (it was always via Skype, conference call, etc), so Luca was there to support me and tell me what points were important to consider in a face-to-face interview.

Everybody should have a mentor either inside or outside their company to discuss doubts and questions about careers. Luca is my 4th active mentor and I keep in touch every month with my earlier mentors, which is a key step to finding the next step in my career. Thank you to all of them.

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