Discussion Topics

College of Business Progressive Mentoring Program:   Suggested Topics & Activities

For Sophomores

  • How to make a decision about what major to select, what’s important to consider, choices, etc.
  • Explore the different majors by discussing what type of career someone could have in each major or by helping the student prepare for an informational interview with someone working in that major
  • What is “networking”, how do you find people to network with about business and encourage the student to practice networking in the community at professional association events, business meetings, etc.
  • What’s possible with a career in business (the short and learn term view from the mentor’s experience)
  • Student participates in a half day job shadow with the mentor to see a day-in-the-life of business
  • Discussion about the value of an internship now, how to search for opportunities, what goes into the decision of job options, resume preparation, and how to prepare for applying and interviews

For Juniors

  • Growing the student’s network of people, how to stay connected and encourage the student to practice networking in the community at professional association events, business meetings, etc.
  • Student participates in a half day job shadow with the mentor to see a day-in-the-life of business
  • Discussion about the value of an internship, how to search for opportunities, what goes into the decision of job options, resume preparation, and how to prepare for applying and interviews
  • Explore characteristics of successful business people and etiquette for business professionals

For Seniors

  • Explore areas to fine tune the student to be most successful in full-time job interviews
  • Growing the student’s network of people, how to stay connected and encouragement to practice networking in the community at professional association events, business meetings, etc.
  • Explore characteristics of successful business people and etiquette for business professionals
  • What criteria to consider when making a decision on a job offer

General topics for discussion at any student level

Communication

Discuss appropriate ways of communicating via e-mail, phone, text or in-person. How should you address an email for business communication? What are some expectations others might have regarding communication? How do different generations or cultures in the workplace approach communication?  What should a new graduate consider when they join a new team? 

Networking

Why is networking truly important? What are the most effective ways to network? Are there any groups, clubs or events students should be a part of that would be beneficial in developing a broad network? How to grow and nurture your network?

Resumes and Cover Letters

Discuss professional presentation, highlighting qualifications, difficulties in writing a good resume and cover letter, etc. Discuss the value in a clear and concise resume. Feel free to exchange resumes and cover letters between the student and mentor in order to receive personal feedback on those documents. Review campus resources available.

Interviews

Discuss the interview process, preparation for interviews, lessons learned, attire, expectations, etc. Review campus resources available for practicing for interviews.

Preparation for the “Real World”

What should students expect and how should they prepare? Mentors should give the student an idea of what work in his or her field is like on a day-to-day basis. Discuss what some related organizations, reading materials, magazines, books, volunteer opportunities, websites, and other references are useful to gain experience.

Job Challenges

In the mentor’s opinion what are possible challenges students are likely to face when first entering into their careers? What were some of the challenges you as a mentor have personally faced and overcome? In the mentor’s line of work was/is it a challenge to balance work with your personal life?
Discuss skills that students should possess that can be helpful in dealing with possible job-related challenges (ex. time management, interpersonal, adjustment, etc.)

Leadership

What characteristics are beneficial to have in order to be a successful leader in your industry? What steps should be taken to reach a leadership position? What are actions, attitudes, or characteristics of leaders you might know that you feel are NOT appropriate or helpful in a leadership role? Do you think everyone should strive for a leadership position?

Lessons Learned

Mentors give a broad idea of “lessons learned” as an experienced professional. Has your career been what you expected? Which decisions were good for you? Which decisions would you make differently? What advice do you have for students exploring a career in business? In your field? In your Industry?