Be a Mentor to a Smeal Student

Smeal Mentoring Program Details

The Smeal College of Business Mentoring Program offers students the opportunity to explore topics such as academic majors, internships, career planning, college to career transition, and leadership development with an alumni mentor. Mentors can share their perspectives from the business world. The program is a one-year commitment, however pairs are welcome to continue the relationship beyond the academic year, outside of the formal program. The Mentoring Program was established in 2009 by Smeal’s Alumni Relations Office and the Smeal Alumni Society Board.

Current Mentors

 

Join the Mentoring Program Database

Alumni can enter their information into the Mentoring Program Database to be considered for the 2021-2022 program

Please note that every effort is made to allow those who are active in the database a chance to participate in the program. If you choose to Opt-In for 2021-2022, you will be activated in our database, but this does not guarantee that you will be paired with a student. We anticipate there will be two waves of matching, first in the summer and again in the fall. In the coming months, we will communicate progress with all who have Opted-In to the Mentoring Program database.  

  • Alumni who have entered their information in the database in the past can easily Opt-In or Opt-Out of next year's program and review their information. These alumni will need to recall the e-mail address that they used to apply in the past to login. Note that a few questions/selections have been updated from last year's form, and some answers may need to be updated. Current database members must go through this process to be reactivated and considered for next year. If you are already in the database, login to update your information and indicate your interest for the 2021-2022 program.

  • Alumni who are not currently in the Mentoring Program Database can join the database to be considered as a mentor by filling out a new application. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of a mentor?

A mentor serves as a role model to a student protégé by providing advice and guidance, as well as sharing their personal experiences. Mentors should be willing to give constructive feedback to students, in an effort to help identify goals, develop strategies, and instill confidence. A mentor can be a recent graduate or have many years of working experience; they can come from various academic majors with experiences and careers in a wide range of industries. 

Who are the students and what is their role?

This program is for Smeal students only, or those in the Division of Undergraduate studies, tracking for Smeal. A student must be a sophomore, junior, senior, or 5th year student at the time of their participation. In some cases, a student might be studying abroad or doing a co-op during a portion of the mentoring relationship. If this is the case, we do ask that they let their mentor know about their unique situation when chatting for the first time. Students are from all majors in Smeal, and participate in a variety of extracurricular activities. Students apply to the program to learn about building their network, to identify academic and career plans, or to refine certain skills. They are expected to be respectful, professional, and willing to accept constructive feedback. 

What is the time commitment?

The formal program lasts through one academic year (late Aug.- early May). Each pair determines the time commitment based on their goals for the year. It is important that pairs engage in consistent communication, and have mutual expectations for the frequency of interaction (about once a month is recommended). If they choose to, pairs can continue their relationship beyond the school year, outside of the formal program. 

How are the matches made?

The matches are made by the Smeal Alumni Relations Office, based on answers provided in the mentor and protégé applications. Similarities in a mentor's career expertise and a student's industry interests are the top criteria taken into consideration. Also considered are similarities with each person's academic major, how long since a mentor graduated/student class year, location, and hobbies. Unfortunately not all criteria can be matched perfectly, so we ask alumni to keep an open mind when working with their student protégé. Every effort is made to allow all applicants a chance to participate in the program. However as the program grows, having a quality match for every applicant is not always possible from year to year. 

What types of topics do pairs discuss?

Often, students are looking for a sounding board for decisions and milestones they might experience during their college career. Some areas where a mentor can be of assistance include selecting a major, understanding career paths, discussing a professional area, discussing a specific industry, leadership, building a personal network, resume and cover letter help, interview preparation, negotiating job offers, transition to the workplace, workplace experiences, and considering an advanced degree.

Are alumni required to return to campus to participate in the Mentoring Program?

No, in fact, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Mentoring Program is taking place completely virtually. 

What resources are provided to mentors?

  • A Program Guide is provided at the beginning of the academic year, which includes tips and conversation starters that can be used to assist with discussion topics during the mentoring relationship. 

  • An orientation is conducted via an in-depth Webinar hosted by the Smeal Alumni Relations Office.  

  • Mentors are given insight regarding additional resources available at the college and University that may be helpful to the students.

  • Periodic (about monthly) e-mail reminders are sent and typically include a reference to a relevant topic in the Program Guide.

  • Two Mentoring Program Lunches are coordinated throughout the school year, which offer an optional opportunity for the pair to meet in person. Currently, these in-person events are not being coordinated due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  

How many students and alumni typically participate in the Mentoring Program?

Last year, there were about 300 pairs participating in the Mentoring Program. We anticipate that the program will continue to serve additional students and involve more alumni over time.

How will I benefit from the Mentoring Program?

Mentors benefit by experiencing the personal fulfillment that comes from helping your protégé achieve his/her goals; contributing to a richer, more interactive experience for our students; and networking with other mentors. The program is also a great way to stay connected to the Smeal and Penn State community.