Some of the best lessons in life are not found in a textbook. Learning how to find a mentor can be one of the best ways to grow as a person, student and professional. For anyone considering an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, seeking the counsel of a mentor is one more way to enhance your professional growth.
Who is a mentor?
A mentor is someone with knowledge and experience with whom you can talk and share your experiences. But a mentor provides more than a listening ear. A mentor is someone who can give guidance as you develop personally and professionally. When you are thinking through how to find a mentor, however, don’t assume you should only look for a mentor within your field. As an MBA student, you may be tempted to consider only enlisting the help of someone in the business field as your mentor, but in doing so, you could be missing out on the wisdom of an excellent mentor in another sector.
Benefits of having a mentor outside your field
A mentor outside your chosen field can add value to your life and career. Any mentor should be able to look at your current situation and give advice based on his or her own experience, but a mentor outside your field may add even deeper perspective. An outsider to your field might be able to see the forest where you can only see the trees. Having an outsider opinion from time to time may be just what you need to boost your career and personal development.
Having a mentor outside your own industry also opens doors for you to meet new people. Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in your own social and professional circles. Knowing a mentor in a different field not only can give you an outsider’s perspective, but may also give you an outsider’s connections. Expanding your network is often the first step to finding solutions for problems you are working through at work and in life.
Ways to find a mentor
You know a mentor can make a difference in your life and your career, but how do you go about finding one? One option is networking. Attend networking events, small group gatherings and trade events in your local community. There you will find like-minded individuals, some who will have more experience and knowledge than you. As you are getting to know these more-senior professionals, you can begin asking them questions about themselves, their experiences and their goals. Oftentimes, a mentoring relationship develops naturally from genuine conversation. Simply going out for coffee and talking about industry news or events can help build a solid professional relationship. Other ways to find a mentor are connecting with people in online groups, talking with former coworkers or professors, or seeking the advice of a professional coach.
Finding a mentor, whether inside or outside of your field, can be a rewarding process. If you are completing an online MBA program, you can glean much from the knowledge and background of someone with more experience than you.
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