Mentor Program

Seasoned professionals passing along wisdom to younger minds is a critical part of education and development. As Fisher College of Business marks National Mentoring Month, several students are benefitting from the guidance of alumni and their fellow students.

Ali Bertke, a 2008 Fisher graduate with a degree in marketing, has been guiding Mouniratou Nikiema (affectionately known as “Mo”), a senior majoring in accounting. The two were matched through the Honors Cohort Mentorship Program.

Ali Bertke and Mouniratou Nikiema
Ali Bertke (l), a 2008 Honors Cohort graduate, and
Mouniratou Nikiema, a senior majoring in accounting, were
paired up through Fisher’s Honors Cohort Mentorship Program.

Although the two are in different industries, they were matched based on personality. For example, both are well-traveled. Nikiema is from Burkina Faso, a country in West Africa, and has only been in the United States for the last eight years.

“We were paired together and it just sort of clicked for us,” Bertke said.

She told Nikiema to reach out for anything; her mentee took her up on the offer. They discussed ideas for essays, feedback on tough decisions, and had other conversations about best paths forward. Nikiema is still mastering English and leaned on her mentor for assistance with some projects.

“We became close,” Bertke said. “She became a good friend of mine.”

The two text, email and meet for lunch or dinner. Nikiema is able to ask her mentor questions — including how to handle the transition into work life.

“I would open up to her and talk to her about my struggles, and it would really help,” Nikiema said. “She made it really easy for me to tell her about what was going on with my personal and professional life. She helped me stand on my own.”

This is the second year the pair has worked together — and there will be a third because Nikiema will pursue a master’s degree in accounting next year.

“I hope I can be as humble and successful as she is,” Nikiema said.

Eileen Wang

A pair of other Fisher programs has paved the way for Eileen Wang, a marketing major expected to graduate in 2019, to learn from two mentors: Jackie Stentz and Emmi Banner.

Wang met Stentz through the Fisher Citizenship Program (FCP), which is the largest student-run business organization at the university. It is intended to help first-year Fisher and pre-business students become involved with the Fisher community and become active participants within Fisher’s undergraduate program. FCP partners with the Cardinal Health Mentor Program, which pairs the company’s employees with students at the college. And it’s here where the pairing took place.

Learn more about mentoring opportunities at Fisher.

The two met last year when Wang was a sophomore. Although their “official” mentorship has concluded, the two still meet up for coffee. Stentz, currently pursuing her MBA at Fisher, visits with Wang while they’re both on campus.

“I always like to make sure I’m there as another resource in her life,” Stentz said. “We’ve had résumé reviews, talked about what you wear to internships and interviews, the transition from college to working life, and more non-work-related topics. It’s pretty open and casual.”

She said serving as a mentor has had an impact on her own life.

Jackie Stentz

“It makes me reflect a little bit more; I don’t get bogged down in day-to-day work. It allows me to take a step back,” she said.

Wang also is mentored by Emmi Banner, whom she met through the Alumni Undergraduate Mentorship Program, which pairs sophomore students with Fisher alumni. Banner currently works as an assistant brand manager at P&G in Cincinnati. The distance means they use email, texting, and the phone to stay in touch.

But Wang said Banner’s advice is invaluable.

Banner, who graduated from Fisher in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, was immediately impressed by her protégé.

“She’s an interesting one; she has everything together,” Banner said.

“Eileen sent me her résumé and wanted me to provide any edits. I told her it was the most perfect résumé I’d ever seen! I asked what were some other things I could help with, and we went through her passion points. I was able to share my perspective there. We talked about her future career goals and internship roles she was applying for.”

Emmi Banner

Despite living in Cincinnati, the mentoring opportunity has allowed Banner to remain connected with Fisher.

“It makes me think of my day-to-day life when I was a student there, which wasn’t that long ago,” she said.

Wang remains grateful for Banner’s influence.

“It helps that we aren't too far away in age, so it's very easy to talk to her and relate to her. Plus, since she just graduated, it's probably easier for her to give me advice since she knows exactly what I'm talking about or going through,” Wang said.

Wang’s experiences with both mentors have been incredibly helpful – not only helping her figure out what she wants, but also what she doesn’t. Learning more about Cardinal Health and P&G has helped refine what she is looking for in a potential employer.

She offered advice to other students considering finding mentors of their own.“Keep an open mind. It’s pretty valuable to learn across different business functions,” she said.