Mentoring FAQs

I wish to be a mentor, but I do not live near Manhattan.  Is this a problem?

We hope that mentors and mentees will eventually meet face to face but that is not a requirement of this program.  Having a diverse set of mentors from different career paths and from different locations is a goal of our program.

I may not be able to attend the awards banquet. Can I still serve as a mentor?

Sure. All pairs will be invited and encouraged to attend our annual awards banquet in the spring. This will be a nice way to close out the formal mentoring relationship and to meet other mentor/mentee pairs. It is also a lot of fun. However, we know that not everyone will be able to make it. Your mentee will still be invited and you will be acknowledged for your contributions.

Who are the students?

The students are selected by the mentoring coordinator but will primarily be from the our Freshman/Sophomore Seminar in Economics class.  To be admitted to the program, the student's application must be reviewed and approved by the coordinator.

Who are the mentors?

Mentors may be alumni of the Kansas State economics program at the undergraduate or graduate level.  Mentors may also be friends of the University or members of the Kansas State Department of Economics Advisory Council. As such, mentors have a unique understanding of the Kansas State experience and a commitment to helping students achieve success.

Mentors must be at least three years out from completing their undergraduate degree but otherwise range in age, experience, and realm of expertise. Mentor professions include Federal Reserve positions, lawyers or judges, entrepreneurs, business and finance professionals, consultants, actuaries, bankers—the list is extensive! Mentoring is central to our identity, mentors partner with faculty in assisting with student development.

What are the expectations of a student mentee?

If admitted to the program, students are expected to be motivated, proactive, and exhibit the utmost professionalism at all times in recognition of the time their mentors are volunteering. Also, note that with the exception of special circumstances, admission to the program is not typically granted to freshmen.

What are the expectations of a mentor?

The role of a mentor is to inspire, encourage, and provide ongoing support. Yet, the mentoring commitment is flexible and can be tailored to the schedules and communication preferences of each pair. Mentors and mentees agree on the frequency and manner in which they will communicate in an initial agreement document.  We ask that you work with your student to determine the best way to communicate throughout the academic year—whether that's via e-mail, telephone, video chat, or in person.

All of our mentors and mentees will be invited and encouraged to attend our annual honors banquet typically held in late April.  Again, we are aware that some mentors will be unable to be in Manhattan while they are serving as a mentor.  We also ask that, if possible, you allow your student to spend some time shadowing you at your place of employment.

Mentors are also expected and encouraged to:

  • Act as positive role models and share insight into their undergraduate experiences and career paths as adults.
  • Offer career guidance and general professional advice.
  • Introduce students to the alumni community and other members of the larger K-State community.
  • Introduce the idea of building long-term relationships and doing networking and the opportunity to practice and refine those skills.
  • Provide insight into different career areas for students (this program encourages career exploration).
  • Inspire students to pursue new fields of interest or confirm current fields of interest.
  • Motivate students to work toward long-term goals (through internships, part-time employment, other networking forums, full-time employment, and graduate school).
  • Help students polish resumes and improve interviewing skills.
  • Provide information on how to research specific employers or companies.

How are mentors and mentees matched?

Participants are matched based on commonalities in their personal and professional profiles, specifically the mentor's work experience and knowledge as it relates to the professional interests and aspirations of the student. Also weighed in the matching process:

  • Similarities in the mentee's professional interest and mentor's professional experience and current employment
  • Commonalities in professional development projects in which student and mentor indicate interest
  • Similarities in undergraduate profile: major, minor, club and activity involvement

What are mentoring surveys?

Mentoring surveys are brief web-based assessments of a pair's progress. Along with the ongoing support provided by the mentoring coordinator, these surveys help ensure a successful experience for all participants. The first mentoring survey is designed to allow mentors and mentees to evaluate their relationship and identify areas for improvement. There will be another survey administered after the formal relationship between the mentor and mentee has been completed.

What is considered an appropriate working relationship?

As a mentor, it is critical to remember that you are a role model. Though a trusting friendship may (and should) be the foundation of a mentorship, remember your mentee is not your peer.

Mentors and mentees should demonstrate mutual respect to one another and be accepting and flexible when it comes to different views which they may have.  It is imperative that both the mentor and mentee are fully prepared for their meetings and that they each live up to the mentoring agreement.  Mentors and mentees should be committed to working through any obstacles which may come up.  Mentors and mentees are encouraged to meet in person when and if that is possible.

Appropriate meeting places include your place of business (job shadowing), a public place, or on campus, while inappropriate meeting places include bars, malls, apartments, and dorm rooms. Consuming alcohol with or buying alcohol for your underage mentee is strictly prohibited.

 Other suggestions for mentors?

In case you are not sure how to guide the first information meeting with your mentee, we have some tips to help get your relationship off on the right foot.

  • Timing is everything.  When the mentee initially contacts you, identify a time that is convenient for both of you and establish the length of time you are willing to spend with your mentee ahead of time.  Don’t overextend yourself.
  • Personalize it.  Share your professional experience and knowledge through personal stories.  Describe your job history, current responsibilities and any advice about job opportunities in your profession or industry.
  • Think beyond the classroom.  How is your industry changing?  Is technology effecting what you do?  Help your mentee identify additional experiences or training to pursue prior to entering your field to help him or her be more competitive.
  • Encourage your mentee to get connected.  Suggest other networking opportunities such as community groups and service and professional organizations that your mentee could participate in to gain further knowledge about a particular industry or profession.  Provide contact names if you have them available.  We encourage the use of LinkedIn and other professional social networking sites.
  • Provide informational materials.  Share an annual report, non-confidential project, industry newsletters, or other items available that may help your mentee gain a more solid understanding of your profession or industry.
  • Give a tour.  If you decide on an in-person meeting, show your mentee around the office and walk him or her through your typical day.

Other suggestions for mentees?

In case you feel a bit nervous about making initial contact with your mentor we have provided some sample documents and templates you may wish to use.  Remember that your mentor has actively sought out the opportunity to assist a K-Stater such as yourself achieve your career goals!

Suggestions for your first conversation with your mentor (pdf) (word)

Initial Email Suggestions (pdf) (word)

I have further questions about the program.  Who should I contact?

Dan Kuester serves as our mentoring coordinator.  He can be reached at dkuester@ksu.edu or by phone at 785-532-6341.