Last year I had the opportunity to participate in Fisher’s Corporate Mentor program. The program pairs first year MBAs with local executives from Columbus that are interested in helping mentor and develop students in their chosen career field. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor last year and truly enjoyed the relationship we developed during the program. This year, I reached out to a first year student to gain their perspective and see if their experience was similar to mine.
Below is a question and answer session I had with Megan Tuetken, first year MBA with a focus on marketing.
1 – Who is your corporate mentor and what is their background?
My mentor is Mary Beth Cowardin from T. Marzetti’s. She is the Director of Marketing for the Marzetti brand. She did her undergrad at OSU and earned her MBA from Fisher.
2 – What were you hoping to gain from participating in the corporate mentor program?
I wanted a non-student/non-professor sounding board to talk to about my internship search and seek advice. I was also looking for a professional perspective on life in the corporate world of marketing. I was hoping for a mentor in brand management to get an additional perspective to compare to what I’d experienced working with brand managers at Kimberly-Clark over the years.
3 – What have the events been like? Have you been able to meet other students’ mentors?
I did not attend the kick-off event as my mentor was not able to attend. Instead, I met Mary Beth for breakfast one morning for our first official introduction. We’ve done breakfast a few times to catch up and chat, and we’ve found that this casual approach has worked well for us. I went to the event at the Thompson Library, which was pretty informal. There were quite a few mentor/student pairs. Some were simply chatting as pairs while others were mingling as larger groups. I mostly talked with Mary Beth directly as I was in the middle of some critical decisions regarding my internship opportunities. However, the chance to meet other mentors was definitely available. I did meet a former colleague of Mary Beth’s briefly.
The last event, which was targeted towards Marketing students/mentors, provided much more of an opportunity to meet other mentors as we were forced to switch our table arrangements throughout the event. It was great to hear other professionals talk about their experiences regarding a host of business topics.
4 – What is the best piece of advice you have received from your mentor?
My mentor was very helpful in giving feedback regarding my resume. She helped me expand it quite a bit and pushed me to really capture additional items that I wasn’t really considering. She also helped me realize which direction I wanted to go with my internship.
5 – Would you recommend the corporate mentor program to other students? If so, why?
I would definitely recommend it. I’ve had a very positive experience so far, and I plan to stay connected to Mary Beth in the future. Even though the formally planned events through Fisher are complete, she’s going to give me a plant tour and we’re planning on doing a store walk-through so I can learn more about the categories Marzetti plays in.
To me, it’s a no-brainer to sign up for a mentor. Fisher has so many amazing alumni and local businesspeople to tap for mentorship. There’s absolutely no reason not to do it! I know some students have had better connections than others, but it’s also what each person makes of it. I found that having a goal for the relationship (for me, it was mostly about the internship search) really helped. I’m glad to have participated and made a new connection in my network for the future.