Finding a mentor

YoungPorimasu

New Member
I have heard many people talk about the importance of finding a mentor as an effective means to acquiring valuable experience, skills, guidance and networking opportunities.

1)However, I'm unsure about how to approach potential mentors. How does one go about asking a well-established professional to mentor them in a way that is respectful, professional and also in such a way that is likely to result in the potential mentor agreeing to take an 'apprentice' under his/her wing?

2) Which attributes should one look out for when choosing a potential mentor to approach? i.e company size, age, credentials of the mentor perhaps?

3) How should a 'mentee' act/behave with a mentor, once the mentor has agreed to this?
 

Daniel Duffy

C++ author, trainer
Just got out of high school and have about a year before university starts.
Why do you want a mentor?

2) Which attributes should one look out for when choosing a potential mentor to approach? i.e company size, age, credentials of the mentor perhaps?

Wrong question, certainly at your age.
 

YoungPorimasu

New Member
True. Not trying to find one now, would like to know how one goes about doing this after they get an undergraduate degree?
 

Liam

Active Member
I have heard many people talk about the importance of finding a mentor as an effective means to acquiring valuable experience, skills, guidance and networking opportunities.

1)However, I'm unsure about how to approach potential mentors. How does one go about asking a well-established professional to mentor them in a way that is respectful, professional and also in such a way that is likely to result in the potential mentor agreeing to take an 'apprentice' under his/her wing?

2) Which attributes should one look out for when choosing a potential mentor to approach? i.e company size, age, credentials of the mentor perhaps?

3) How should a 'mentee' act/behave with a mentor, once the mentor has agreed to this?
Maybe I'm a little off the wall here, but having experienced good mentoring, it's not about forcing the issue.

You make the most of a good mentor when the opportunity arises. In the meantime you keep developing yourself and use good old fashioned gumption. The danger is that it becomes "workperson blaming his/her tools" where instead of bitching about not having the right athletic shoes and equipment to practice sports, you blame the trainer.

I saw that in my undergrad where one of my classmates bitched constantly about the top Trinity Scholar who'd done half the degree before we started through stuff he learnt while doing IMO. He started doing every fad - books on memory when he felt he'd blanked exams, books on psychology after failing one year from sheer nerves. He took 8-9 years to graduate his undergrad, while the rest of us moved on and did our own thing.

I know it sounds a bit counter-intuitive and you have probably been sold the idea of a "go-getter", but the danger is that you forget to continue making the most with what you got and try so hard to find a mentor that you let opportunities slip through your fingers. For instance the best mentor I had was early in my Project Finance career, which involved no maths or quant work and had I taken the approach of going "this isn't a math role, lets ride the wave until I get out" I could have let this slip me by. Everybody on my team seemed to know I'd get out of that market at some point, but putting in the effort meant they supported me. This holds true whether you're in high school, college or in your first role.

Remember you have your mind to investigate theorems, the internet to develop your math interests, coding tends to be opensource, you can look up ideas for projects to do and coding competitions to join, and you can look up ideas that will develop business acumen. And you have whatever is in front of you academically and in terms of summer internships/jobs. I didn't have half the internet resources that are available now and turned out fine.

Also remember it's a two-way street - a mentor will need to see talent in you and that you are worth working with. I've met many go-getters in the past trying to network and they say all the wrong things, wind me up and my help ends there and then. A little knowledge can be a bad thing as many graduates I've been exposed to start rabbiting on about salary levels and big companies like GS/Google etc - technically what they is true but it gives off a bad impression especially if they pass judgement on other people's careers when they have never set foot in an office.
 
Last edited:

Zororo Makumbe

New Member
Maybe I'm a little off the wall here, but having experienced good mentoring, it's not about forcing the issue.

You make the most of a good mentor when the opportunity arises. In the meantime you keep developing yourself and use good old fashioned gumption. The danger is that it becomes "workperson blaming his/her tools" where instead of bitching about not having the right athletic shoes and equipment to practice sports, you blame the trainer.

I saw that in my undergrad where one of my classmates bitched constantly about the top Trinity Scholar who'd done half the degree before we started through stuff he learnt while doing IMO. He started doing every fad - books on memory when he felt he'd blanked exams, books on psychology after failing one year from sheer nerves. He took 8-9 years to graduate his undergrad, while the rest of us moved on and did our own thing.

I know it sounds a bit counter-intuitive and you have probably been sold the idea of a "go-getter", but the danger is that you forget to continue making the most with what you got and try so hard to find a mentor that you let opportunities slip through your fingers. For instance the best mentor I had was early in my Project Finance career, which involved no maths or quant work and had I taken the approach of going "this isn't a math role, lets ride the wave until I get out" I could have let this slip me by. Everybody on my team seemed to know I'd get out of that market at some point, but putting in the effort meant they supported me. This holds true whether you're in high school, college or in your first role.

Remember you have your mind to investigate theorems, the internet to develop your math interests, coding tends to be opensource, you can look up ideas for projects to do and coding competitions to join, and you can look up ideas that will develop business acumen. And you have whatever is in front of you academically and in terms of summer internships/jobs. I didn't have half the internet resources that are available now and turned out fine.

Also remember it's a two-way street - a mentor will need to see talent in you and that you are worth working with. I've met many go-getters in the past trying to network and they say all the wrong things, wind me up and my help ends there and then. A little knowledge can be a bad thing as many graduates I've been exposed to start rabbiting on about salary levels and big companies like GS/Google etc - technically what they is true but it gives off a bad impression especially if they pass judgement on other people's careers when they have never set foot in an office.
Great advice.
 

Jobo

New Member
Maybe I'm a little off the wall here, but having experienced good mentoring, it's not about forcing the issue.

You make the most of a good mentor when the opportunity arises. In the meantime you keep developing yourself and use good old fashioned gumption. The danger is that it becomes "workperson blaming his/her tools" where instead of bitching about not having the right athletic shoes and equipment to practice sports, you blame the trainer.

I saw that in my undergrad where one of my classmates bitched constantly about the top Trinity Scholar who'd done half the degree before we started through stuff he learnt while doing IMO. He started doing every fad - books on memory when he felt he'd blanked exams, books on psychology after failing one year from sheer nerves. He took 8-9 years to graduate his undergrad, while the rest of us moved on and did our own thing.

I know it sounds a bit counter-intuitive and you have probably been sold the idea of a "go-getter", but the danger is that you forget to continue making the most with what you got and try so hard to find a mentor that you let opportunities slip through your fingers. For instance the best mentor I had was early in my Project Finance career, which involved no maths or quant work and had I taken the approach of going "this isn't a math role, lets ride the wave until I get out" I could have let this slip me by. Everybody on my team seemed to know I'd get out of that market at some point, but putting in the effort meant they supported me. This holds true whether you're in high school, college or in your first role.

Remember you have your mind to investigate theorems, the internet to develop your math interests, coding tends to be opensource, you can look up ideas for projects to do and coding competitions to join, and you can look up ideas that will develop business acumen. And you have whatever is in front of you academically and in terms of summer internships/jobs. I didn't have half the internet resources that are available now and turned out fine.

Also remember it's a two-way street - a mentor will need to see talent in you and that you are worth working with. I've met many go-getters in the past trying to network and they say all the wrong things, wind me up and my help ends there and then. A little knowledge can be a bad thing as many graduates I've been exposed to start rabbiting on about salary levels and big companies like GS/Google etc - technically what they is true but it gives off a bad impression especially if they pass judgement on other people's careers when they have never set foot in an office.
Great advice.
What is your view on the importance of role models? Do you think boys need male role models?
 
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