Finding the Right Mentor Relationship

The National Association of Women MBAs' (NAWMBA) director of operations, Julie McReynolds, and AACSB's senior vice president and chief knowledge officer, Juliane Iannarelli, discuss what goes into making an effective mentor-mentee relationship.


Juliane Iannarelli: [00:05] I'm sure that in your work you've seen wonderful outcomes from supportive mentorship relationships. What in your experience have you seen makes an effective mentor or mentee relationship for the women that you work with?

Julie McReynolds: [00:31] An organic mentor/mentee relationship looks different for everyone. One of the things that we hear is, "How do we find a mentor?" For me, mentorships form organically. It's not you go up to someone and say, "Hey, can you be my mentor?"

[00:48] Chances are you already have a mentor that's already around you in your network. If you think hard enough, there's someone that is your career cheerleader. They are helping guide your decisions throughout the workplace. They are helping you navigate the business world.

Iannarelli: [01:08] Can that mentorship start within the MBA program itself or do the effective mentorships typically wait until after the individual has entered the workforce?

McReynolds: [01:23] The recommendation normally is to start the mentorship, start the networking process as soon as possible. The more you can build your reputation, the more you can build on any of the skills or areas that you see are lacking or build on the strength that you have, the better it will be.

[01:43] The larger your network is, the more empowered you'll feel as you graduate from school.

Iannarelli: [01:49] Do you find that the women that are members of the National Association of Women MBAs are seeking certain consistent personal or professional development directions?

McReynolds: [02:02] The challenges with women in the workforce are repetitive whether you're dealing with navigating the corporate environment, how to work with a different management style. Chances are that our mentors have been through all of it.

[02:19] They've seen all of the leadership styles. They've seen programs at work that have been very effective in helping women internally, as well as obviously having that network to lean on.

Iannarelli: [02:35] What kinds of things do you notice businesses doing well in order to create a more inclusive environment for women that are part of their workforces?

McReynolds: [02:45] There are several businesses that are partners with the National Association of Women MBAs. With that, they encourage their women to attend our events, whether they're nationally in one of our professional chapters or being a speaker at one of our academic chapters.

Filmed April 2017 on site at AACSB's International Conference and Annual Meeting (ICAM) in Houston, Texas, USA.