The Value of the Mentoring Programme

I still remember vividly when I returned to school and campus life last August. I was filled with both curiosity and a fear of the unknown regarding the students, professors and school life. The MBA programme presents us with a plethora of choices about industries and directions, from investment banking, PEVC, and consulting, to the leadership development programmes of multinational companies. Which path should I take? What are the odds? How can we prepare for a career shift? We were overwhelmed by these questions. Seeking the answers, we took on many challenges.

In late October, the School’s mentoring programme began. As MBA students we have a limited amount of work experience in our respective fields. For us, the EMBA and MBA alumni were legends, and their experiences became our valuable assets. We immediately wanted to be on good terms with them; to hear their stories of success and other experiences that were not so encouraging. We hoped that they would help us solve our puzzles and give us guidance. Of course, we also hoped that we could return the favour in some way.

The CEIBS Mentoring Programme and the immense resources of the alumni association have helped us to answer our many questions. During the mentoring meetings, students have been enriched by sharing about academics and professional fields, as well as life philosophies.

Two mentors really impressed me. One was Zhang BoFan. Mr. Zhang initially began with three mentees but that grew to a group of 78 students, over one-third of the class. Mr. Zhang shared his thoughts on personal growth, recommended interesting movies, and gave advice that can assist us in every aspect of life. Students were also free to share their questions, and a heated debate would often erupt during our discussions. Besides the group meetings, Mr. Zhang used his connections to invite top executives from different industries to give seminars for our entire cohort. If I remember correctly, there were five seminars about topics such as entrepreneurship, the sports industry, education, and tai chi and judo strategy. Every seminar was packed and was praised by the students. Mr. Zhang has a big heart and he really cares about the MBA students.

The other mentor is probably my biggest takeaway from CEIBS; she is my beloved Ms. Na Li. Ms. Na had five mentees, and at first I was worried that she might not be able to take care of us all, but I was wrong. Ms. Na would spend her weekend with us and always made us her top priority. Every session would last one or two hours. During these sessions, she would listen carefully to our thoughts and troubles, and share her amazing life story and advice. She pushed us to discover what we really want and pointed us in the right direction. Her resources became ours, and her friends became ours.

I really hope the mentoring programme will continue to grow and attract more volunteers to help others. I also hope that this programme will be mutually beneficial for mentors and mentees, and can be a long-running tradition at CEIBS, helping class after class.

Author: MBA2018 Bessie Liu