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External Mentorship Information Session

By: Hannah Velasquez, Brown '18

On September 29th, Penelope Shao ‘19, WIB’s External Mentorship Chair, led a panel, alongside Minoshka Narayan ‘18, to encourage members to apply to the program to provide advice and insight on how to navigate their new mentor-mentee relationships.  

The aim of the External Mentorship Program is to match WIB members to professional women in the industry of their interest, whether that be consulting, finance, etc. By fostering these mentorship relationships, members are able to gain personal guidance and support from Brown alum, while also exploring potential career options.

The panelists emphasized that it can be challenging to match members with a mentor with similar interests. This was the case for Minoshka Narayan, who is interested in finance, and banking, but was matched to a mentor who works in the asset management division of Goldman Sachs. For Minoshka, her mentorship relationship was an invaluable experience as her mentor, a Brown alum, knew what it was like to be a Brown student, understood the transition from Brown to the workplace, and while Minoshka might not be interested in asset management, her mentor could provide her insight into the culture of Goldman Sachs.

“Mentors are very approachable and help you get a sense of what they do, and are honest about what they like and don’t like,” stated Minoshka, “they sign up to be a part of this program, they are very enthusiastic about it and no one is forcing them to do this.” Even though her mentor was a part of a division she was not interested in applying to, all the interview tips she received were still incredibly helpful, “having someone read my resume and give me honest feedback, that kind of help you don’t get from meeting people at info sessions.”

Furthermore, the panelists went on to discuss how conversations with your mentor can be a great way for you to workshop questions prior to asking them to recruiters. For Minoshka, talking to her mentor helped her figure out what she didn’t want to do, which she stated, “can be more helpful than knowing what you might want to do.” Her mentor was able to connect her to other individuals who could speak to her interests. Penelope remarked, “any conversation you have with anyone is valuable, being a part of the External Mentorship Program is an additional great perspective to have. However, be understanding that they have busy schedules.”

Here are some questions that attendees asked our panelists:

Q: Is the mentorship program a yearlong relationship? Do you get a new mentor every year?

A: You are matched to a mentor on a semester basis. However, Minoshka has maintained her relationship for over a year. The formal pairing is due to the fact that mentors have jobs and they are incredibly busy. Penelope hopes to be the start of a relationship, but “it is up to [members] to maintain it.”

Q: I am a first-year interested in business, but am unsure of what specific industry to pursue. Will I still be considered for the program?

A: Yes.

Q: Are all the mentors Brown alumni?

A: Yes, all mentors are women Brown alum.

To learn more about WIB’s External Mentorship Program, please contact Penelope Shao at bwibmentors@gmail.com.

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