Mentors: Be careful who you ask

We are very close to releasing our next ebook on Mentoring. We’ve been talking with a lot of people to put this together and when we do, questions always arise. One question that seemed to come up too often when we spoke with MBAs is “who should I tap on the shoulder to be my mentor?” So, we decided to share a little information from the book prior to release. Here is one interesting idea that came from our research on Mentors.

The 5 Year Span. Over the past decade, we’ve interviewed thousands of professionals around the globe, including professors, entrepreneurs, students, millionaires and billionaires. We’ve asked for their advice on many topics. One interesting fact that was noticeable with the interviewees is that they had trouble recalling or predicting information, in detail, several years away from where they currently are. For example, we’ve spoken to billionaires at length about their path to success. Many of these individuals were older baby-boomers and had difficulty recalling the barriers they faced when they began their start into entrepreneurship. What we learned from all of these interviews is that most people can’t advise you effectively about your situation if they are too far removed from it. A 2015 MBA student may not gain useful advice from a 1995 MBA graduate, as the student will want details that likely can’t be recalled. The answer to this problem is to choose someone closer to your situation, within 5 years. So a 2015 graduate would consider connecting with graduates no earlier than 2010 graduation year. This is just a rule of thumb for gathering advice about your current situation.

Career Timeline
Career Timeline

It’s unlikely that you’ll run into the problem of having too many mentors. Most professionals don’t have mentors and don’t know the value of them. In fact, most professionals don’t plan their career. Mentors can be invaluable to your career. Our clients have mentioned that many of their jobs have come at the hand of their mentors.

To use mentors, it’s helpful to find numerous mentors with experience that spans across the entire breadth of your career. You’ll want to befriend professionals who are in the same stage you are in. Then, you’ll want mentors who are a few years ahead of you and so on. If you only have one or two mentors, you might be missing out on advice that is directly applicable to where you are, leaving you with the burden to determine when you need to use the info.

That’s it….stay tuned for the release of our next ebook.

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