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Collegiate to Corporate: The Importance of Mentoring

I am always on a search for discovering my self-identity and trying to uncover who I am today and who I am meant to be tomorrow. I have found that it is not the easiest thing, going through life skipping down winding, unknown paths while keeping fingers crossed that we land feet down and head up. Luckily for me, I have never had to take part in these endeavors alone.

I recently graduated from Purdue University and was fortunate enough to land a job at Mentoring Women’s Network. I spend my days surrounded by inspiring, successful women who act as thought-leaders and mentors in this crazy thing we call life. The rolodex of phenomenal women that our organization gives individuals access to is both extremely encouraging and refreshing.

Just the other day, I was pondering how much more different the “real” world is compared to what was my “collegiate” world. Back in a life of dorm rooms and greasy food, many students seemed to be looking inward and were giving all their attention to what they were going to wear that Friday night or spending time conjuring a story of how their latest lab report was indeed run over by the city bus (trust me, I’ve heard it).

It is interesting looking at things in retrospect and noticing how many resources we had as students to build a strong network and pave a personal path for success. We had an abundant amount of opportunities to build reliable and motivating mentors, all within a campus radius. All we truly needed to do as students was shift our eyesight toward the horizon and then we could see opportunity right in the eye.

With all the resources that college had to offer, it was still inevitable for me to feel an extreme weight on my shoulders when Purdue pushed me along into the corporate world and I had to learn in that moment what being a powerful, self-sufficient businesswoman truly meant. Luckily for me, during this time of transition I was fortunate enough to have mentors all around me (it is kind of what my job is all about).

What about those students who are going into an environment where company culture is surrounded by competiveness and encompasses every-man-for-himself mentality? What about those students who never took an entrepreneur class and can’t grasp the idea of what it means to network? Is it not asinine that I can confidently count on two hands the friends I have who have never been put into a room and told to make an intro, build rapport, trade business cards, and set up a meeting? These students are unprepared, so what is being done to help mentor, motivate, and guide them?

As I highlighted before, the problem is not a lack of resources. The predicament is a shortage of focus and perfect-timing realization that there is an importance to thinking about what the corporate world looks like and how to survive it while still living out the college experience. Perhaps it is time to invest more in educating on the power of mentoring relationships in order to build those emerging leaders who are coming out of the collegiate market and into our office space.

Investing in those teachings can bring about more prepared, confident, and innovative thinkers, which in turn can evolve business and the world.