By Nash Wills, Staff Writer
First year MAGAM and MGM students have been given the unique opportunity to be able to participate in the new Thunderbird Mentor Program. The program was originally conceived by the Career Management Center as a way of meaningfully connecting alumni and students, thereby improving upon the already outstanding Thunderbird network. The program is designed to be “a catalyst in helping students achieve professional and personal growth” according to Thunderbird Mentor Program Guide. Mentors were matched with mentees based on a couple of different factors including language, career focus and goals, geographical area desires, previous work experience, and general hobbies and interests. So far, the program has been an outstanding success, with most students having already met their respective mentors via Skype or in person.
For Tomás Thomas (MAGAM ’17, Mexico), the program has already gotten him focused and thinking about where his skills can take him: “We met over Skype the first time and had an hour long conversation. He gave me tips and advice as far as my approach to career search and an internship. Our second meeting was last week; he flew all the way from Mexico for the Thunderbird Executive Alumni Leadership breakfast and lunch. It was great to talk to him in person and we got to a more personal level. He gave me further advice and we plan to Skype in the near future in order to see my progress.” Tomás’s mentor graduated from Thunderbird in the 2000s and is now the CEO of a shoe company called Emyco that is based in Leon, Mexico.
Jonathan Cornella (MAGAM ’17, US) and Lauren Herber (MAGAM ’17, US) both expressed similar sentiments about the program and their mentors. Jonathan’s mentor “works for United Blood Services and lives in North Carolina.” She and Jonathan speak “on a weekly basis and she has been very helpful to me and gives me input on the medical device that I am designing at ASU.” This match has been perfect for Jonathan and his unique interests because of all of the work that his mentor does with hospitals. She is able to help him refine his ideas and helps him to focus on his stakeholders and customers. Similar to many other students, Lauren met her mentor in person for the first time last week when many alumni came to campus in order to participate in the Thunderbird Executive Leadership Council networking event. In her words, “the meeting proved to be extremely valuable.” In their first meeting, her mentor was able to offer her practical advice on her job search and career plans. Having developed an interest in public relations since coming to Thunderbird, her mentor was able to connect her with people that he knows who work in that specific field. Thanks to her mentor, she has now “expanded [her] network and received guidance on what steps to take next” in her search.
The mentor program hasn’t been exclusively successful within the MAGAM degree, though. When Chaz Madrid (MGM ’17, US) found out who his mentor would be, he was stunned to discover that the person who he had been matched with was “someone I had met in Hong Kong about 7 years previously. We remembered the meeting and were both extremely happy to be back in touch on a different level.” His mentor was able to give him both career guidance and “advice as to how to make the best of my time at Thunderbird.”
Maintaining and building strong student-alumni relations is an ongoing process that has always been an essential and integral part of the Thunderbird Mystique. For myself, the program has been great because it has given me the opportunity to meet various alumni and think through my career choices in both a practical and inquisitive manner. Moving forward, it seems that this program is one that is here to stay and will continue to benefit future Thunderbirds.
Feature Image Courtesy of www.bloomberg.com