EY Faculty Connection - Issue 38

Mentoring matters

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Mentoring often begins on campus between faculty members and students. Beyond academic guidance, faculty mentors can help students understand the importance of mentoring, and encourage them to build relationships that enable continual personal and professional development throughout their careers. Read on for more thoughts from Carolyn Buck-Luce, Global Pharmaceutical Sector Leader Emerita, on why mentoring really does matter.

As a proud founding member of EY’s Professional Women’s Network and an actively engaged mentor to many EY women, I’m a passionate advocate for building relationships that enable continual personal and professional development.

Chief among those is the mentor-mentee relationship, which often begins on campus between faculty members and students. Beyond academic guidance, faculty mentors can provide critical relationship-building advice as students prepare to leave college and enter the workplace.

Key takeaway
Faculty mentors can put students on the fast track to achieving their goals.

In fact, I believe there are three critical pieces of relationship-building advice that faculty mentors can impart to students even before they secure a full-time position:

Advise students to continue to seek mentors and sponsors throughout their careers

Career mentors challenge and provide guidance for an individual to obtain the experiences and skills needed to achieve development goals. Sponsors use their political capital on behalf of individuals, advocate for their next promotion, and provide visibility and “stretch” experiences.

Students might not understand the value of these relationships or have the courage to seek them out once they secure a full-time position after graduation. The faculty mentor, however, can encourage students to identify and approach potential mentors/sponsors in the workplace — and provide advice to help students make the most of that relationship.

Advise students to seek out and seize opportunities

I have been at EY for 21 years, and came in as a direct admit partner in a career change from investment banking. With the exception of the first two-year position, every job I have had since then did not exist until I created it.

Similarly, faculty mentors can encourage students to take a journey of discovery (outside the academic world) to identify the critical experiences, knowledge and relationships that will lead them towards their dreams. Students don’t always have the perspective to know that they have the power to create their own opportunities by taking some calculated risks and saying “yes” — to that invitation, internship, workshop or conference.

Advise students to network, network, network

On the subject of networking, I am a fanatic, and faculty mentors can help students understand the importance of building their networks before they need them. Students may understand that a robust network is important, but may not actually know how to build or use one.

A robust network provides a vehicle for one to be of service — making connections for people to find advice, guidance, opportunities, learning, etc. It’s not about “getting” something from someone; it’s about building relationships that are mutually beneficial. This is an important distinction that faculty can make for students just beginning to build their professional networks.

At EY, mentoring, continual learning, new experiences and strong relationships are key ingredients in our approach to developing our people. While professional development is at the heart of our culture, it requires our people to take active ownership of their careers and map their own paths.

It’s the foundation of success — theirs and ours. By helping students understand the importance of mentoring, seizing opportunity and networking, faculty mentors may not only help students secure that first position out of school, but put them on the fast track to achieving their most ambitious goals.



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