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K-State Today Student Edition

February 17, 2012



Executive learning: More than 100 business students are making connections with mentors through new program

By communications & Marketing

Students are taking advantage of the Kansas State University Business Executive Mentor Program. 

The program, started in fall 2011, allows students to learn from the experiences of successful individuals; acquire a professional network before graduation; and talk to executives about class selection, internships and career prospects. 

The program -- a project spearheaded by Ali Malekzadeh, Edgerley family dean of the College of Business Administration -- matches undergraduate business students with professionals who have at least 10 years of business experience. About 100 matches have been made, and 60 additional professionals are in the process of becoming executive mentors. 

"It has been an incredible opportunity to be able to learn firsthand from such successful people in business," said Nicholas Moeder, senior in accounting and finance from La Crosse, who was matched with an executive mentor in the fall. "I have already grown immensely from the conversations I have had with my executive mentor, and I look forward to developing our relationship even further in the future." 

The program is on its way to providing an executive mentor for each undergraduate student enrolled in the College of Business Administration. Students will be in contact with their mentors throughout their college careers, forging meaningful professional relationships that last beyond graduation and are valuable to both mentors and mentees. 

"Executive mentors add value to the education that our students receive on campus, and the real-world teachings and networking opportunities they receive give them a competitive advantage during college and at the start of their careers," Malekzadeh said. "We are fortunate to have an incredible network of successful alumni and friends who are generously willing to give their time and experience to new generations." 

Students interested in joining the program submit an application that includes a current resume and a description of interests and past experiences. Interested executives who meet the experience requirements also submit an application and are given three potential matches to choose from. Once a match is made, students are responsible to make the first contact with their executive mentor, after which the college recommends at least one contact per month. 

"I have enjoyed working with my mentee in the executive mentor program," said Tim Regan, executive vice president and chief financial officer at J.D. Heiskell Holdings LLC. "She has taught me a tremendous amount about her course of study, outside experiences, and efforts in finding an internship and a suitable career path. I have tried to direct her to experts I know to assist in her effort to find an internship, as well as a career, after graduation." 

An appreciation luncheon for executive mentors is planned for April 20 in the K-State Alumni Center. The luncheons will be an annual event where students will have the opportunity to thank their mentors, share stories, and make connections with students and professionals who are also part of the program. 

"I am looking forward to having all of our mentors on campus. It's incredible that executives from across the nation are giving their time to invest in undergraduates at K-State and help them in their journey to the real world," Moeder said. 

Students and executives interested in joining the K-State Business Executive Mentor Program should contact Emily Brueseke, program coordinator, at 785-532-6180 or ementor@k-state.edu.