The Benefits of Having a Mentor

by David Ross

Do you ever find yourself with questions on how to prepare for your future?  Ever wonder how others may have gone through situations you’ve experienced?  Unsure just who to ask those pointed questions on things you really want to know but are afraid to ask – for example, what really is the best way to deal with office politics?  Consider identifying a mentor – someone you feel comfortable asking questions and engaging in conversation.

Mentoring can be formal or informal.  Some organizations you are already a part of may have structured, formal mentoring programs.  Take advantage of these opportunities to connect with individuals willing to share their experiences and be a resource for you.  In other instances, you may gravitate towards someone informally and periodically seek their perspectives on different issues.  These ad hoc “mentoring” situations can be just as informative and useful as well. Either way, mentors can be excellent sources of advice who may offer interesting ideas based on their own experience and knowledge.

While mentoring can be great from a career perspective, don’t overlook additional benefits.  Mentors may be interested in your growth and development as a person and can possibly offer their thoughts on any variety of subjects.   Once you identify additional, shared interests, you’ll find your discussions may expand to encompass a wider array of topics.

The strongest mentor/mentee relationships develop over extended periods of time.  Definitely seek out opportunities to connect with a mentor – you may find it a rewarding experience that serves you well both now and in the future.

Author: David

David Ross is a Senior Associate Director of Career Services for Wharton undergraduates and occasional blogger for "Penn & Beyond."