If you have ever spent hours on a project that took an experienced pro just minutes or wish you could leverage the knowledge of others to fast-track your career, consider mentorship. There are practically immeasurable benefits to mentorship, which is why Undergrad Success advocates early networking. YouTern CEO and founder Mark Babbitt reinforces the importance of mentorship.
AG: How important do you believe mentor figures are in the development of young careerists and students?
MB: On a scale of one to 10 … a 15. Unfortunately, as a society we’ve gotten away from the apprenticeship/mentorship relationships that made us stronger candidates and careerists. Sad, because when we talk to those young professionals that are doing really well in their careers, despite the economy, they often point to the mentors that helped them maintain their confidence and focus.
AG: How many mentors have you had?
MB: Seriously, too many to count. Starting with sports at an early age, I realized the value of those that have “been there, done that.” So, at every step of my adult life, I’ve engaged with those senior to me — not by age, but by experience. For example, Cory, a 23-year-old college baseball player, was a mentor to me during my first real head-coaching job in baseball. And a young lady named Christina — and now Erica at YouTern — both recent graduates, were/are mentors to me in social media. In my entrepreneurial life alone, there have been a dozen or so mentors that have had a significant impact in my life and our start-up.
AG: What type of benefits can come of a mentor-student relationship?
MB: Mutually beneficial learning, having an objective sounding board, keeping things in perspective and in focus, and mitigating mistakes while learning more from them are some benefits that immediately come to mind. It is also an amazing feeling to know that as a mentor you are making a difference in someone else’s life or career.
AG: Do students often teach mentors as well?
MB: Rather than give you my gut reaction with an expletive, I’ll give you the one-word answer: Yes! And students serving as mentors to their mentor is one of the best ways to build a mutually beneficial relationship that goes well past business missions to become lifelong friends and champions.