Asper mentors are senior level executives and highly skilled managers, representing diverse professions, companies and industries. Mentors act as advisors and role models to Asper graduate students as they look to launch a new career, make a career change, or familiarize themselves with a new region. Through the mentoring experience, students gain guidance and feedback on developing their leadership skills, information on industries or functions, and insight into best business practices.

On this page:

Program overview and responsibilities

What is a mentor?

A mentor is an individual, often older, always more experienced, who helps and guides another individual’s development. A mentor is an advisor who is caring and considerate and acts as a trusted supporter to his/her mentee’s goal achievement.

Types of mentoring

One-on-one mentoring

One-on-one mentoring will provide Asper graduate students with the opportunity to learn directly from an experienced mentor. Every effort will be made to match students with a mentor whose background and experience align with the students’ interests and career goals.

Group mentoring 

The group mentoring experience will provide students in the early stages of their degree or those students seeking a career transition the opportunity to explore companies and industries while continuing to define functional focus and future career direction. The group will be comprised of one mentor and approximately 3-4 students. 

 

 

Program structure

It is expected that these relationships will last eight months and will consist of at least five meetings. These meetings may take place at a variety of places, including (but not limited to): company events, Asper sponsored events, your mentor's office, your mentee’s office, restaurants/coffee shops, online, etc. Additional meetings may be coordinated if agreed upon by the mentor and mentee.


It will be the student’s responsibility to drive the mentoring relationship. Students are required to make initial contact with the mentor and to develop an appropriate agenda for each meeting. This agenda will be forwarded to the mentor at least 5 days prior to your scheduled meeting.

Mentee responsitibilies

Once accepted into the Asper graduate student mentor program you must adhere to the following expectations and responsibilities. Failure to do so will result in withdrawal from the program.

  • Commit to the minimum time requirements of the program. One-on-one mentoring students will be encouraged to meet with their mentor at least five times over an eight month period. Group mentoring students will meet with their mentor once. Additional meetings may be arranged based on mutual interest.
  • Maintain integrity and keep all sensitive information confidential.
  • Be active in your role as a mentee: arrange meetings with your mentor, ask questions, attend meetings, dress appropriately and respond to mentor communications quickly and professionally; it is the students’ responsibility to prepare for each meeting with relevant questions for discussion in order to ensure a productive and informative session.
  • Send a meeting agenda to your mentor at least 5 days before your next meeting.
  • Represent the Asper School of Business graduate student mentor program, yourself and your classmates in a professional and ethical manner.
  • Communicate potential problems in completing program commitments with the Graduate Career Advisor. Respond to the Graduate Career Advisor upon request in a timely manner.
  • Be open to experiencing industries and professions that differ from your career aspirations. Remember, every situation can be a great learning opportunity!
  • Acknowledge that participation in the program is a career building activity, not a job placement activity. You are not permitted to solicit mentors for internships or jobs – the purpose of the program is to explore career paths, expand skills and build networking opportunities.

Mentor responisibilities

As a mentor, you will act as a coach, guide, motivator, advisor and role model to your mentee. Ideally you will:

  • accept your mentee(s) without making judgments while communicating hope and optimism;
  • be committed to the role of mentoring, one-on-one mentors meet at least five times with their mentee over an eight month period; group mentors will meet once;
  • provide constructive feedback about mentee's personal and professional skills;
  • share knowledge about specific jobs, career paths, organizational cultures, and industries while facilitating networking opportunities;
  • be culturally sensitive, and open to learning about new cultures  and ways of life through your mentee;
  • coach and guide mentees toward achieving specific developmental and career related goals by providing relevant and constructive feedback.

As a mentor you are NOT expected to:

  • offer jobs or internships to your mentee;
  • provide your mentee with contact information from your network;
  • have all the answers for your mentee;
  • initiate contact with your mentee.

Students participating in the program have been notified that this is not a job placement program and that it is neither appropriate nor acceptable for them to solicit job opportunities from their mentors.

Please do not hesitate to communicate potential concerns and program feedback to the Graduate Career Advisor.

Matching

The process of matching students with mentors takes place October to December.

After a student has completed the Mentor Request Form (available on the Career Portal in September), they will meet with the Graduate Career Advisor to review their career goals and program expectations. Through a discussion process, when a potential mentor has been identified, the Graduate Career Advisor will email both the student and mentor (in one email) with the match results. It will then be the student’s responsibility to contact their mentor and schedule a meeting within four weeks of the match. It is also the student’s responsibility to develop an agenda for each meeting; this agenda should be forwarded to the mentor at least five days before the meeting.

All individual matches will operate on a mutual match basis - there is no pressure to continue the relationship past the first meeting if both parties are not committed or interested in doing so. If, after the initial meeting, you have concerns about continuing the mentoring relationship, please contact the Graduate Career Advisor immediately.

See the relevant section below for information on how to become involved.

Information for students

Why request a mentor?

Benefits of mentoring include:

  • Establishment of professional network.
  • Receipt of guidance, support and feedback.
  • Enhanced insight into organizational culture and the Canadian labour market.
  • Enhanced sense of security and reduced stress; confidence and opportunity to step out of the textbook and into the real world!
  • Specific skill and knowledge development; increased knowledge of a specific industry and profession.
  • Knowledge to maximize opportunities and to avoid potential pitfalls; accrue valuable business lessons from those more experienced.
  • Provide a practical forum where academic concepts can be discussed.
  • Leadership, communication and networking skill development​​​​​​.

The mentorship program is not a job placement program and it is neither appropriate nor acceptable for you to solicit job opportunities from your mentor.

Eligibility criteria

All current Asper graduate students, full-time and part-time, are eligible to apply to the Asper graduate mentor program.

Unfortunately not every student who submits a mentor request form will be considered for the program. The following criteria will be used in determining who is eligible to participate in the program.

Screening Criteria:

  • Student must have at least 15 credit hours remaining in their degree.
  • Careful thought and consideration must be demonstrated in completing the Mentor Request Form. If adequate information is not provided and responses are not well written and thought out, the request form will not be considered.
  • Excellent communication skills must be displayed throughout the interview. The student should be able to clearly articulate the reasons for wanting to participate in the program.
  • If there are two students seeking a mentor with similar career and mentoring goals, the student enrolled in the full-time program will be given priority in being matched with a mentor.
  • If there are two students seeking a mentor with similar career and mentoring goals, the student who is closer to graduation will be given priority in being matched with a mentor.

Meeting the above stated criteria and submitting a mentor request form does not guarantee you will be matched with a mentor. Your ability to be matched with a mentor will depend on the availability of suitable mentors.

Mentee responsibilities

Once accepted into the Asper mentor program you must adhere to the following expectations and responsibilities. Failure to do so will result in withdrawal from the program.

  • Commit to the minimum time requirements of the program. One-on-one mentoring students will be encouraged to meet with their mentor no less than five times over an eight month period. Group mentoring students will meet with their mentor once. Additional meetings may be arranged based on mutual interest.
  • Maintain integrity and keep all sensitive information confidential.
  • Be active in your role as a mentee: arrange meetings with your mentor, ask questions, attend meetings, dress appropriately and respond to mentor communications quickly and professionally.
  • It is the students’ responsibility to prepare for each meeting with relevant questions for discussion in order to ensure a productive and informative session.
  • Represent the Asper School of Business mentor program, yourself and your classmates in a professional and ethical manner.
  • Communicate potential problems in completing program commitments with the Graduate Career Advisor. Respond to the Graduate Career Advisor upon request in a timely manner.
  • Be open to experiencing industries and professions that differ from your career aspirations. Remember, every situation can be a great learning opportunity!
  • Acknowledge that participation in the program is a career building activity, not a job placement activity. You are not permitted to solicit mentors for internships or jobs – the purpose of the program is to explore career paths, expand skills and build networking opportunities.

How to request a mentor

All current Asper graduates students are eligible to request a mentor from the Asper mentor program. Specific criteria have been developed and will be used in determining who is eligible to participate in the program (see above).

To request a mentor, log onto the Asper Career Portal. Along the left-hand menu, you will notice a tab labeled "Mentor Program". Click on this tab and complete the appropriate Mentor Request Form (MBA, MFin, MSCM [coming]).

Deadline to submit a Mentor Request Form is September 30th.

After submitting the completed form, you will be asked to meet with the Graduate Career Advisor. The objective of this meeting will be twofold: one, to assess your professionalism and communication skills and two, to learn more about your goals in participating in the program.

Although every effort will be made to match each student with a suitable mentor, submitting a mentor request form does not guarantee you will be matched with a mentor.

Goal setting and reflection

By completing the mentor request form and meeting with the Graduate Career Advisor, you will have taken the time to think about and establish your career goals and explore the reasons why you want a mentor. You will also have set out at least three specific skill development goals you would like to achieve with the help of your mentor. These exercises will help to ensure you are working toward achieving your short and long term goals with the guidance and assistance of your mentor.

If you are participating in the one-on-one mentoring, you will be asked to complete a reflection and feedback form half way through your mentoring experience (after 4 months). This process will assist you in establishing what you have learned from your mentor and how this information is helping you to achieve your goals. The Mid-Term Feedback Form will also help you to define what else you would like to learn and what additional questions you should ask your mentor.

Upon completion of your mentoring experience, you will be asked to complete a Year-End Feedback Form summarizing your learning and providing feedback on the program.

The meetings

During your initial meeting with your mentor, it is recommended that you establish the following expectations regarding future meetings:

  • How often will you meet?
  • Where is the best meeting place?
  • What is your preferred method of communication?
  • If one party has to cancel on short notice, how will this be communicated?
  • Clarify limits of confidentiality.

Sample topics to discuss with your mentor:

It is your responsibility to create an agenda for each meeting, which will be forwarded to your mentor in advance. Use the following suggestions to help create each meeting’s agenda.

Personal:

  • How to balance work and personal life responsibilities.
  • Your mentor's personal background (family, hobbies, travels, etc.)
  • What would your mentor do differently if given the chance?

Professional:

  • Your mentor's work history.
  • What aspects of their job search were challenging?
  • Challenges they overcame to enter industry/profession.
  • Interview skills, resume tips.
  • Job search strategies.
  • Key success factors in your mentor's chosen industry. How did your mentor acquire those skills?
  • How and why your mentor chose his/her career?

Academic:

  • Your mentor's educational background. How did education prepare your mentor for their career?
  • Professional designations.
  • Association memberships.
  • Academic skills that are critical for your chosen industry.

Ten tips for mentees

These practical strategies can help you build a relationship with your mentor.

  1. Initiate. In order to sustain the mentoring relationship, take the initiative to ask your mentor a question, to let them know your educational and professional interests and objectives, and to ask about their own experiences.
  2. Help your mentor help you. Tell your mentor how they can be most helpful to you. Make it easy for your mentor to give you honest, specific feedback. Ask for it early in your relationship.
  3. Expect support, not miracles. You can expect a certain level of support and advice from a mentor, but they cannot solve your problems for you. Perhaps the most valuable quality a mentor can offer is an alternative point of view. A mentor can put the situation in perspective, offer feedback, serve as a sounding board, and identify other resource people or activities you can engage in.
  4. Communicate clearly. Initiate contact with your mentor if you have questions or would like to discuss something. Review your mentor request form, which identifies your needs, and communicate them as clearly as possible to your mentor.
  5. Be teachable. Be willing to learn new things, obtain another perspective, and be responsive to suggestions and constructive criticism.
  6. Follow through. When you decide to act on your mentor’s suggestions, act in a timely manner and then report back to them. Work hard at being a good mentee.
  7. Correct misunderstandings when they happen. Get in touch with your mentor before a concern becomes a problem.
  8. Remember that you own your development, your mentor does not. It is up to you to identify objectives as well as keep the relationship focused and moving forward.
  9. Use active listening skills in discussion with your mentor.
  10. Ask for specific advice on your skill set, ideas, plans, and goals. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for your mentor to respond. Be complete yet succinct in your comments and explanations.

University of Manitoba co-curricular record

The Co-Curricular Record (CCR) is a formalized, university-certified record of University of Manitoba approved activities that support student development in venues that are not for academic credit. The CCR is received by students alongside their academic transcript, as a statement of involvement in activities that support holistic student development. The Asper Graduate Mentor Program has been sanctioned by Student Affairs as a recognized partnering program.

Concluding the mentoring experience

Each individual mentoring relationship lasts eight months and is structured with a beginning and an end. There is no requirement for the mentor and student to meet after these eight months have passed. However, if both parties agree, they may choose to continue their mentoring relationship informally.

At the conclusion of the eight-month period, you will be asked to complete a Year-End Feedback Form. This process will provide you with the opportunity to reflect on your experience as a mentee as well as provide constructive feedback on the structure of the program.

It is also recommended that at the end of the mentoring experience you write your mentor a thank you note or celebrate with your mentor in a meaningful way, such as inviting them out to lunch.

Information for mentors

What is expected of you as a mentor?

The program is designed to be flexible, allowing you and your mentee to decide on how best the relationship will work. The minimal expectations of our mentors are:

  • Approach the mentoring relationship with an open mind, professionalism and respect.
  • For one-on-one mentors, meet with your mentee 5 times over an 8 month period. For group mentors, host a small group of students once.
  • Guide your mentee toward achieving developmental and career goals by providing constructive feedback.
  • Share knowledge about specific jobs, career paths, leadership competencies, organizational cultures and industries while facilitating networking opportunities.
  • Communicate concerns immediately to the Asper Graduate Career Advisor.

As a mentor, you are NOT expected to offer jobs or internships, to have all the answers, or to initiate contact with your mentee. After matching, students will reach out to initiate the relationship, and to arrange each subsequent meeting: keep an eye out for communication from your mentee. 

How will you benefit as a mentor?

The student you mentor will benefit greatly from your expertise. This partnership will also be a positive and enriching experience for our mentors.

Benefits of mentoring include:

  • (Re)connecting with Asper.
  • Refined coaching and mentoring skills.
  • Leadership.

  • Opportunity to give back to the Asper School of Business in a meaningful but non-financial way.
  • Contribution to professional discipline and next generation.

  • Inspirational and rejuvenating effect of interaction with enthusiastic mentee.

  • Access to future hires.
  • Enhanced career and personal satisfaction. Reflective thinking.

Please contact the Asper Graduate Career Advisor if you are interested in becoming an Asper mentor for graduate students.

Mentor responsibilities

As a mentor, you will act as a coach, guide, motivator, advisor and role model to your mentee. Ideally you will:

  • accept your mentee(s) without making judgments while communicating hope and optimism;
  • be committed to the role of mentoring. One-on-one mentors will strive to meet five times over an eight month period; group mentors will meet once;
  • provide constructive feedback about mentee's personal and professional skills;
  • share knowledge about specific jobs, career paths, organizational cultures, and industries while facilitating networking opportunities;
  • coach and guide mentees toward achieving specific developmental and career related goals by providing relevant and constructive feedback.

As a mentor you are NOT expected to:

  • offer jobs or internships to your mentee;
  • provide your mentee with contact information from your network;
  • have all the answers for your mentee;
  • initiate contact with your mentee.

Students participating in the program have been notified that this is not a job placement program and that it is neither appropriate nor acceptable for them to solicit job opportunities from their mentors.

Please do not hesitate to communicate potential concerns and program feedback to the Graduate Career Advisor.

How to become an Asper graduate student mentor

To become an Asper Graduate Student Mentor, simply contact the Graduate Student Career Advisor.

When we are preparing for the program to start you will be contacted for an updated bio and photo, which will be compiled in a comprehensive list of active mentors and made available to the students accepted to the mentor program. 

You will be notified in an email when a student has been identified as a prospective mentee. At that time you will receive a copy of the student’s mentee profile which will clearly outline the student’s career and educational goals, along with their proposed learning goals that they hope to achieve while with their mentor.

Please note, interest in participating in the program does not guarantee a mentee will be matched to you immediately. Our office works diligently to ensure our matches are compatible. Only when a student who complements your profile is available will you be contacted as a mentor.

Goal setting

All students who apply to the graduate student mentor program will have taken the time to establish their career goals and to explore the reasons why they want a mentor. They will have set out at least three specific skill development goals they would like to achieve with the help of their mentor. As a mentor, you will be given this information before your first meeting. This will help provide structure and guidance during your first meeting with your mentee.

The initial meeting

During your initial meeting with your mentee, it is recommended that you establish the following expectations regarding future meetings:

  • How often will you meet?
  • Where is the best meeting place?
  • What is your preferred method of communication?
  • If one party has to cancel on short notice, how will this be communicated?
  • Clarify limits of confidentiality.

Students are expected to initiate contact and arrange for all meetings.

Tips for a successful mentoring experience

Use these tips as guidelines to structure your mentoring relationship with your mentee:

  • Ask Questions. Find out about the student. Ask direct action-oriented questions.
  • Share your personal stories. Students are interested in you and your career, not just your company and your industry. Let them know about your struggles and successes.
  • Tell them how their Asper education can help them. How are graduates from their program employed in your company and industry? What career paths are available? Share what you know, or bring in other grads to talk about their work.
  • Invite other executives. Bringing in a partner, colleague, boss or client can give students more exposure and enrich their experience.
  • Give them a tour. A quick tour of your facility is one way of giving students an inside view of your company. 
  • Leave time for Q&A.
  • Be aware of and sensitive to cultural differences and expectations, and help position your student for success in your field, while remaining open to new perspectives yourself.
  • Clearly communicate. Ensure your student is clear on your expectations of them. Clarify terms with respect to confidentiality.
  • Create an openrespectful and trusting relationship. Encourage the student during challenging times and provide appropriate feedback. Confidentiality and integrity are the basis for a successful experience.

Sample questions and topics

Sample questions

Although it is the student’s responsibility to create an agenda for each meeting, some students may find it challenging to develop the appropriate questions to ask. In this circumstance, use the following suggested questions to help drive the conversation.

Personal:

  • What are your expectations of the mentoring relationship?
  • How do you think a mentor can help you?
  • What are your interests outside of work and school?

Professional:

  • Why do you want to pursue a career in this specific area or industry?
  • What challenges are you currently facing with your professional development?
  • Are you interested in attending conferences and networking? (How can you or your colleagues help?)

Academic:

  • What courses are you taking? Which ones do you enjoy most? How do you want to apply what you are learning in your job?
  • Have you considered obtaining a professional designation?

Sample topics

Personal:

  • How you balance work and personal responsibilities.

Professional:

  • Your work history. Discuss what aspects of your job are challenging for you.
  • Challenges you overcame to enter your industry/profession.

Academic:

  • Your educational background.
  • Professional designations.
  • Association memberships.

Key challenges you were confronted with in terms of job search, acquiring and developing your skills, important career decisions, etc.

Follow-up on constructive feedback given to your mentee.

Concluding the mentoring experience

Each individual mentoring relationship lasts eight months and is structured with a beginning and an end. There is no requirement to continue to meet with your mentee after these eight months. However, if both you and the student agree, you may choose to continue your mentoring relationship informally.

At the conclusion of the eight-month period, you will be asked to complete a Year-End Feedback Form. This process will provide you with the opportunity to reflect on your experience as a mentor as well as provide constructive feedback on the structure of the program.