We’ve discussed how even the most successful people in business today have mentors in their lives, and it’s so important for you to truly understand that this is a more than a single person undertaking. I know that you may want to go this alone and do it your way as a learning experience with its ups and downs and failures and rejections. And trust me, that’s going to happen and we’ll have you prepared for that. But this is not intended to take you away from that path. You need a trusted advisor on board with you to guide you and to bounce ideas off. This certainly could be a group of strangers you meet on Reddit, but you’ll soon find that one of your best mentor targets is likely one of your professors.
Not only does your professor see you every day in class and around campus, she knows your work ethic and she is there to help. Your teachers are some of the best cheerleaders you have, and one of their biggest advantages to you in this process is just how connected they likely are. A professor is an amazing link to the real world out there. They have friends and key contacts in a multitude of industries. Many college professors today are former corporate executives, or in the case of Adjunct professors, are currently employed by companies big and small.
This is not about getting an A in this class. It’s about developing a team of trusted advisors excited to help push you along in this process. Why search outside of your comfort zone if this cheerleader is in the game with you already?
When a professor posts office hours, be the first to stop in. Doesn’t have to be for a lengthy discussion on this week’s class; this is about you–or rather its about your professor. Remember, people love to talk about themselves. Give this person every opportunity to tell you how she got to this point in her life; she will open up to you and will want to know the same about you and your goals. When it comes time to apply for jobs, this person will prove a lot more to you than just a great reference letter.
ACTION ITEM: Identify a professor who fits this category and take time to invite her into your network.