A Culture of Mentorship
Bauer College Puts Mentorship at the Forefront of Learning
Woven into the foundations of Bauer College’s Strategic Plan, a culture of mentorship ensures students the opportunity to gain perspective from someone who has walked through the same path to provide wisdom and encouragement.
“If you ask any successful business person, they will always have had a great mentor at some point along the road.” This quote from business icon Richard Branson seems to be at the heart of mentorship programs within Bauer College, where future business leaders learn, develop and grow through support from current entrepreneurs and executives of some of the world’s most successful organizations.
By cultivating a culture of mentorship, Bauer College ensures that there is at least one stop on the road for students that allows for the opportunity to gain perspective from someone who has walked — perhaps stumbled — through that same path and can provide hard-earned wisdom and encouragement.
Mentors are the single most important influence in the lives of students... These folks are called personal mentors and not only are the lives of the students changed but in most cases the lives of the mentors are lifted as well.
Director, Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship
Because mentorship is a part of the fabric of the college, woven into the foundations of the current Strategic Plan, Bauer leadership ensured that all mentoring programs continued virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic and even found a way to expand mentoring programs.
This newest addition, the Executive Mentoring Program, pairs select graduate students with senior c-suite executives who provide counsel to Dean Paul A. Pavlou as members of the Bauer College Board.
Like all of the formal mentoring programs at Bauer, the Executive Mentoring Program has grown quickly as students understand and share the value of their experiences.
MBA student Louise Goldberg was paired with Susan Coulter, President and CEO of the Houston Methodist Hospital Foundation. Goldberg said the relationship has been invaluable.
“She did not offer advice as much as she asked questions that helped me dive deeper, helping me discover who I really want to be as a leader,” Goldberg said. “She helped me reflect on my previous work experiences as well as academic experiences during my first year in the MBA program, helping me see those through a different lens.”
Mentoring through the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship is one of the most enduring forms of formal mentorship programs at Bauer and will always be embedded in Wolff Center programming.
“Mentors are the single most important influence in the lives of students in the Wolff Center,” said Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship Director Dave Cook.
“Each student is matched with a generous, knowledgeable, and experienced mentor who becomes their friend, coach, role model and hero. These relationships often last a lifetime. These folks are called personal mentors and not only are the lives of the students changed but in most cases the lives of the mentors are lifted as well.”
In addition to personal mentors, the Wolff Center also relies on “Domain Mentors” who advise and expose students to a particular business, or service. “Investor Mentors” provide scholarships. “IP Mentors” help students navigate intellectual property laws. “Accounting Mentors” lend specialized financial expertise.
“In most cases we can help students find support for just about any situation where a mentor could bring value,” Cook said. Wolff Center student Nick John began meeting with real estate attorney Faisal Vellani (BBA ’04) (J.D. UH-Law ’10) this summer and has relied on his knowledge and advice to create a business that is already generating revenue.
“I can trust in him and call him for anything that I need,” John said. “We meet on a consistent basis and each time I learn more and more from him. He has also introduced me to many people in his network that can help me in my business and my Wolff Center projects. He continues to try to help me achieve my dreams and goals that I set. Without Faisal, starting my business would have taken a lot more time.”
The Bauer Corporate Coaches Program, launched in fall of 2020, has already impacted the lives of more than 3,000 undergraduate students, said Zach Wortzel, Manager of Experiential Learning at the Rockwell Career Center.
The program teams professionals with student teams who are navigating a semester-long ethics case competition. Students, mostly sophomores and juniors, have raved about the value of forging a meaningful connection with a professional relatively early in their college careers, Wortzel said.
Because 2021 relationships took place virtually, they may have been even more vital to students missing the experience of being on campus, he said. Eighty percent of students surveyed said having a mentor made them feel more connected to the Bauer College during the Spring 2021 semester.