This summer, I was granted the fantastic opportunity to be paired with a formal mentor for the duration of my 10-week internship. To my surprise, my mentor was a UW-Madison alum (the college I currently attend) and had a bunch of things in common with me right off the bat. I was so excited to dive into our mentorship experience together and felt even more prepared as a result of prior research I had conducted on the meaning of a “mentor” and how to extract the most out of our time together. So, how did it turn out? Keep reading to find out…

Having a Formal Mentor…

  • Honest Communication: My favorite part about having a mentor was that it gave me a weekly opportunity to be completely open and honest about my experience, questions I had, or regarding projects or responsibilities that I did not feel were “important” enough to take to higher leadership. My mentor was a constant source of guidance, free from judgment, and a fantastic voice of wisdom for any and all inquiries. While I had a phenomenal overall experience, she absolutely provided me with meaningful advice regarding my future, my hesitations, and how to navigate my “likes and dislikes” about the role I was placed in.
  • Lessons of Other Internal Roles and Opportunities: While I was situated in the business risk office, my mentor was a member of the consumer insights team. Coincidentally, she had the role that I had always hoped to explore and was highly interested in! Through her, I was able to gauge what it would actually be like to possess consumer insights-related responsibilities on a daily basis, what career acceleration could look like from that standpoint, and how each of the 5 consumer insights roles complements and differs from one another. It was absolutely fantastic and all the more valuable to hear candidly from someone not so far from my age and career standpoint about her own experience. As an employee, she also had fantastic insight (no pun intended) into a plethora of different roles possessed by colleagues, past mentors, managers, or other alum.
  • Connections! Another awesome component of having a mentorship program is in its ability to set you up with a list of connections stemming from colleagues, other alum, friends, or even past mentors in different roles across the entire company. Having my mentor point out roles she thought I may be interested in ended up allowing me to explore entirely different responsibilities and positions that I had not previously been aware of!

Mentorship is an essential part of business and its evolution. So, having mentors in various roles, of all ages, and all backgrounds will allow you to learn from a variety of perspectives about your self, your interests, and future opportunities. However, not all companies provide interns with direct, formal mentors. So, how do you go about finding an informal role model? Check back in Thursday to find out!

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Interested in my experience? Keep reading to find out about my role as an intern here!