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Mentor Program

Growing future business leaders through mentorship

The MBA Mentor Program offers students the opportunity to learn about the way business is practiced today, under the guidance of top executives.

At the Foster School of Business, we build future leaders by providing both an outstanding academic experience and broad exposure to the realities of the business world. The MBA Mentor Program is a partnership between Foster and Seattle’s leading businesses. The program is based on mutual interest in developing the talents and abilities of our current MBA students—the future leaders of commerce in the Northwest and beyond.

Why mentor a Foster MBA?

Mentoring a Foster MBA is rewarding on many levels. Interacting with students prompts mentors to reflect on their own careers and to take stock. As they summarize their years of experience, they come to realize and value just how much they’ve learned and how much they have to offer. But our mentors are also re-invigorated as they experience the passion, energy and fresh perspective of our students. Watch the video above to learn more about the experience of participating in the mentor program.

What are the responsibilities of being a mentor?

First Year students: On-site visits

You host a small group of students – generally five to ten – for a two to three-hour visit. Most on-site visits take place during winter quarter (January through March), although it is possible to schedule them at other times. The agenda for the visit depends on you, but might include a company tour, a meeting with other executives from your company, work on a case study related to your business, discussion of career paths and opportunities in your industry, and a question and answer session. These are just a few of the possibilities.

Second Year Students: Ongoing mentoring

Students participating in this part of the Mentor Program are matched with a mentor whose background and experience align with the student’s interests and goals. Mentors are matched with one to three students depending on particular interests of students each year. The form and frequency of the interactions between students and their mentors vary, but most groups meet three or four times over the course of the academic year.

Mentor program timeline

July-September Confirm returning mentors and invite new mentors
November Mentor Dinner and Mentor-Student Reception; Students bid on mentors
December Students notified of mentor matches
January-May Mentor groups meet (second-year students)
On-site visits (first-year students)

How to be a successful mentor

Returning mentors consistently report that the following factors contribute to a successful mentor relationship.

  • Find out about the students. Request resumes, questions or anything you feel will give you a sense of the students with whom you will be meeting.
  • Prepare a case or bring in real clients. Anything you can do to give students a window on a real-life business situation will increase the impact of the visit.
  • Invite other executives. Bringing in a partner, colleague, boss or client can give students more exposure and enrich the experience.
  • Share your personal stories. Students are deeply interested in you and your career, not just your company and your industry. Let them know about your struggles and successes.
  • Tell them how their MBA education can help them. How are MBA graduates employed in your company and industry? What career paths are available? Share what you know, or bring in MBA grads to talk about their work.
  • Give them a tour. A quick tour of your facility is one way of giving students an inside view of your company. Keep it short, though. These students came to meet you.
  • Leave time for Q&A. Students usually have a lot of questions, so allow some time at the end of the visit for a Q&A session.
  • Be flexible. Offer to meet for coffee or talk on the phone if students need advice.
Who are the mentors that participate in the program?
The mentors are senior level executives, representing diverse functions, companies and industries in the Seattle community. Each selects an area of the program in which he or she wants to participate. Some of the mentors have been with the program since its beginning in the academic year 1999-2000, and others are new each year.

What is the time commitment?
As a first year mentor you commit to hosting one on-site company visit (generally 2-3 hours). As a second year mentor, the time commitment can vary widely. Generally you will meet with your mentees three to four times throughout the year.

What if personality or career interests do not match?
In rare cases where students and mentors are not compatible, meetings may be terminated after a couple of sessions.

Is it possible to be a first and second year mentor?
Yes! If you are willing to make this time commitment to our students, we welcome you hosting a visit for first years and meeting with second years.

When will I hear from my mentee group?
Students are given their mentor assignments in November. You should hear from your group leader before the end of the quarter in early December.

Who do I talk to if I have other questions?
Please contact Colette Vogel at 206.685.4720 or colettev@uw.edu or MBA Career Management at 206.685.2410 or Danielle Shultz at 206.221.6603 or deshultz@uw.edu.

For more information about the MBA Mentor Program, contact Colette Vogel, Director Mentor Program at colettev@uw.edu or 206.685.4720 or email Danielle Shultz at deshultz@uw.edu.

Are you a current student looking for information about the mentor program? Please log in to Canvas or use the contact information listed above.