The value of a mentor

The word mentor may evoke images of helping younger children with their maths homework after school, but mentoring extends far beyond this early stage of childhood development. Mentorship can be one of the most important and formative aspects of professional life yet it is often overlooked. Some people choose to seek formal mentors in an extremely professional manner, whereas on the other end of the scale, your mentor could be simply a more experienced friend who you learn from and look up to. Finding a mentor can be a daunting a difficult task, as it is important to find the right person for you. Here are some questions that you should ask yourself and some advice to follow for when you are looking for a mentor!

What Are You Looking For In A Mentor? To answer this question you should think about both your short-term and long-term goals and consider what you want your mentor to offer you. One aspect to consider is how often you would like to meet with them. Levels of commitment between mentor and mentee can vary greatly; you could meet up a few times a week or maybe just a few times a month. Before you see a mentor, make sure you know your goals well enough to have at least a rough idea of where you want this relationship to take you.

Where Do You Find A Mentor? This question is more of a matter of what you are comfortable with as there are many places in which you can find one. You are looking for someone that is a strong role model so a good place to start is considering people you already know, within both your personal and professional life. There may be someone in your life that you admire and respect and also has the wisdom you require. However, you should not limit yourself only to people you already know. You can research people in positions that you would one day like to work in who may interested in your career progression. Being a mentor can be an extremely rewarding experience so people may be more willing to mentor a stranger than you may think.

Differences Are Important! One of the most important things to remember when it comes to looking for a mentor is that they should be different from you in a key way. They could be more daring than you or maybe rein you in a little. These differences are vital when it comes to learning. If you and your mentor are very similar then you may enter a situation in which they support your weaknesses and don’t challenge you to change the way you currently think and operate. The reason you are seeking a mentor is to become better, to improve your current self. Someone who actively forces you to do this by challenging your current ways will take you further.

Set Up A Meeting. Once you’ve identified a potential mentor, you should set up a meeting with them to discuss your relationship. Make sure you are in a comfortable environment because this can be quite a daunting conversation to have with either a complete stranger or someone you’ve known for a long time. You should be clear with your potential mentor what you are hoping to achieve and what kind of commitment you expect from them. This will help to truly establish your relationship and will help you ensure that you get the most out of it.

Following these tips will ensure that you select the perfect mentor for you and get the most out of your internship! Apply now to our international internship programs, available in all industry sectors.

Photo 1. based on Teamwork and team spirit, by 드림포유, CC-by-ND 2.0


The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!

To learn how to apply to our internship programs, click here.


John Monahan

Before joining The Intern Group in 2014, John held senior positions in the investment operations field, including Senior Manager for Investment Application Services at Liberty Mutual (one of the USA’s largest insurance companies), and AVP at Bank of New York-Mellon. John holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from Harvard University with a field of study in Economics, which he earned while working full-time. A travel enthusiast, John has visited over 30 countries, and believes deeply in the value of international experiences as a lever for educational, professional, and personal growth.
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