Are you my mentor?

September 27, 2008

Well hello there! I am sorry it has been a while, it turns out there are lots of panels to see, lots of free pizzas to consume and lots of problem sets to do in Business School. Regardless, I wanted to blog about this amazing opportunity I got the other day through my Careers course at SOM. The course gives you a multi-faceted framework with which to think about your career past, present and future. We think about values, psychology, goals, culture, leadership, and more. One of the assignments for this course is to interview someone whose career trajectory interests you. It is a fantastic, low pressure chance to learn about someone's career and life path, and to delve into what makes them tick. Something we talk about quite a bit at SOM is mentorship. Obviously, mentors play critical roles in our professional and personal development. It's interesting to look at your own life and think about how you have developed these mentors. How did you meet? What have you learned? Are they friends, family, bosses? The funny thing about b-school is that you are hyper-aware of your life choices all the time. When I was applying to SOM, I looked through the admissions book to get a sense of some of the distinguished alumni. I found someone who had a job that I hadn't thought of before for myself, but was totally inspired by. Knowing she had gone to SOM and was still actively involved in the school played a role in my decision to head to the school. So this summer when Amy W. (our Careers Professor) assigned this interview, I knew this woman would be perfect. I thought about it as a chance just to learn about someone's life path. I was nervous to contact her, because how do you say to a powerful CEO, "Um, excuse me, can I take up a chunk of your time for my own self-improvement?" And let me tell you, this was my first entree into the extraordinary network that is SOM. She emailed me back within 20 minutes, saying she was flattered that I was interested and would love to set up a time to meet. So I head to her office in New York for an hour-long conversation which was open, candid, and completely inspiring. Here I found someone who is driven, successful, and has an extraordinary work-life balance, but it wasn't intimidating! She was curious about me, about how SOM was going for me, about what I want to do with my life. Especially when I am struggling with some of the quantitative aspects of the first quarter, it was great to remember the bigger picture (especially since this woman struggled similarly. I met up with an SOM friend in the city after and I was beaming ear-to-ear. "I found my mentor!", I exclaimed. Business school is exhausting, both physically and emotionally, but I will tell you one thing, it's also exhilirating. SOM is already opening up new doors wherever I turn.

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Rebecca Lehrer