Many business schools excel at providing a high quality education and the best focus on helping students plan their careers and build professional connections while they’re still working towards a diploma. The schools that accomplish this well have found that career mentoring programs are highly effective.
A business school mentoring program typically connects students nearing graduation (juniors, seniors, and graduate students) with professionals in their field of study. These programs focus on career planning to help students explore their job interests with someone (often university alumni or local professionals) who possesses more experience in the area.
Through business school mentoring programs, universities are able to:
- Improve student job-placement rates
- Increase student retention rates
- Engage their alumni
- Recruit more students
1. Mentoring Improves Student Job Placement Rates
In today’s economy, universities are expected to demonstrate high job-placement rates. Because of this, helping students make the transition through career-planning programs is a key element of many university strategies, and mentoring has become popular because it’s a proven approach to help students successfully transition into their careers. As an example, the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder reported that students who participated in their mentoring program were 40% more likely to have a job upon graduation.
Business school mentoring programs help students better understand available career paths and resources. They also provide students with access to resume and job-search advice from professionals within their desired professions. Students can also begin connecting to a network of alumni working professionals for vital connections that can sometimes land them their first job. Alumni mentors are a great resource for universities to use to enhance a student’s overall college- and job-search experience, which leads to an improved university experience.
2. Business School Mentoring Programs Increase Student Retention Rates
Every business school focuses on maximizing student retention, which is difficult because there are many factors that cause students to leave. One of them is students’ difficulty in translating the investment of their education into a profitable career. However, career mentoring enables students to clarify their interests and develop a roadmap to get there, which in turn reinforces their decision to pursue a degree. Students who sign up for a mentor are 14% more likely to stay in college and 13% more likely to graduate (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2011).
Beyond career planning, students receive encouragement from those who have been through similar experiences. Whether mentors are older students, alumni, or young professionals, mentors connect with young students and provide invaluable advice and guidance. They answer real, everyday questions and can become an advocate for a student, often providing a more personal level of support than what is available from a busy college professional adviser.
3. Mentoring Engages Alumni
Business school mentoring programs are a highly effective strategy in alumni engagement and a win-win-win for the students, alumni, and university:
- Students like alumni career mentors because the connection helps establish rapport
- Alumni are eager to serve as mentors because it relates to their current expertise and is a rewarding way to stay involved and give back to their alma mater
- The university benefits by building stronger ties with alumni and helping current students build bridges
Alumni success can also translate into vital volunteer support and donation funding for the school. All of these reasons make it imperative to connect and engage with them in a way that makes it attractive to give back time and resources to their alma mater.
Also consider adding an alumni-to-alumni track within your mentoring program. Such mentoring connections allow recent graduates to receive career advice from those with more experience in similar professions, which strengthens an alumni support network through engagement and builds a community that encourages giving back to the school that helped make them successful.
4. Mentoring Helps With Student Recruitment
The competition for talented students is high. And with the awareness that a business school education needs to translate to gainful employment, prospective students are looking for more than a great education. They assess what sets a particular school apart from others in terms of career enablement. A recent study by the Student Employment Survey found that 57% of students wish their schools would offer more networking opportunities. Business school mentoring programs are just the type of experiences students seek and they provide tangible benefits.
Chronus Software for Business School Mentoring Programs
Student career mentoring is an excellent approach to recruit, retain, and prepare students for success. And mentoring software makes starting, managing, and measuring mentoring programs easy. When you’re ready to implement a mentoring program for the benefit of your institution, we hope you’ll consider Chronus. Chronus Mentor software is a world-class, scalable solution of choice, and is used by dozens of universities including MIT’s Sloan School of Business, and UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Management.