Mentoring Program: Overview for Mentors

The Dedman School of Hospitality’s Hospitality Mentorship Program at the Marriott Career and Professional Development Center connects hospitality alumni and industry partners with motivated students who seek guidance in preparation for their hospitality careers.

The goal of the program is to connect each mentor with a Dedman School of Hospitality junior or senior for the purpose of adding value and direction to the student’s college experience. Each mentor is paired with one student unless the mentor informs us of an interest in working with more than one student.

What is a mentor?

Mentors are advisors, people with career experience who are willing to share their knowledge. Good mentors are able to share life experiences and wisdom, as well as technical expertise.

How does the program work?

  • The Hospitality Mentorship Program takes place each fall and spring semester.
  • To become a mentor or ask additional questions, email Alishia Piotrowski.
  • Students are invited to apply for a mentor and are matched with those who best fit their career goals.
  • The program lasts six weeks. Each week, the mentor and mentee communicate over a discussion topic. Sample discussion topics are provided as launching points but are not binding. Other topics are covered at the discretion of the participants.
  • Discussions may take place in person, over the phone, or by video conference depending on location and preferences. It is up to the mentor and mentee to set the dates and times of each week’s conversation based on their schedules.
  • Mentors and mentees each have two weeks to request a change of mentee or mentor, respectively. In the event a mentor or mentee does not add value or meaningfully participate, he/she will not be asked to reapply to the program.
  • At the halfway point, both parties will be contacted to ensure the relationship is going well. If you are experiencing any issues, however, please directly contact Alishia Piotrowski. Do not wait for the halfway point.
  • At the end of the six week period, you will be asked to evaluate the program. You are under no obligation to continue your mentor relationship with the student past the six week point, but may choose you do so.

Mentor expectations

Mentors are expected to communicate with their mentee at least once per week for approximately 30 minutes. Communication can be in person, on the phone, by video conference or over email. The mentor should act as an advisor to the student and should be prepared to guide them as they prepare to enter your field. A sample program timeline is included below to highlight sample discussion topics that may be relevant to the mentee.

Student mentee Guidelines

Students gain a great deal from the mentor relationship, including the development of professional communication skills. Your mentee has been asked to abide by the following guidelines in all communications with you:

  • Not to ask for a job
  • To always be respectful and communicate professionally
  • Not to ask about a mentor’s personal life. It is appropriate to ask overarching questions, such as how to maintain work-life balance in the field, but there should be no prying.
  • Not to ask about confidential personal or company information.

Sample Program Timeline

As previously mentioned, the Hospitality Mentorship Program lasts six weeks. Mentors are expected to communicate with their mentees at least once per week for 30 minutes. Here is a sample of weekly discussion topics you may use to guide you through the semester, if you so choose:

  • Week One: Meet & Greet. Introduce yourselves and discuss your expectations, or hopes, for your relationship. Provide good book suggestions, etc.
  • Week Two: Hospitality Sector & Happenings. In what sector of the hospitality industry is the mentee most interested? What do they hope to do in this chosen sector? Are there any trends in the sector the mentee should be aware of? What types of candidates are these companies looking for?
  • Week Three: Personal Experiences. Share your experiences with your mentee. How did you get to where you currently are? What do you enjoy most about your job? Is there anything you wish you could change about your path? What do you wish someone had told you when you were in the mentee’s position? What can your mentee do right now to prepare for this path?
  • Week Four: Work-Life Balance. How do you manage a work/life balance? What does it look like in your chosen industry? Hospitality can be very demanding; what do the mentee’s expectations look like and how do they align with your experiences?
  • Week Five: Professional Organizations and Networking. Speak about the importance of professional organizations and the role they play within your own network. Which organizations have you found to be especially valuable to you, or which ones do you feel your mentee could benefit from? Explain how the student’s on-campus and community involvement are the beginnings of their network.
  • Week Six: Preparation for Entering the Career. Review the mentee’s resume and cover letter and provide advice on how to improve it. Discuss the mentee’s current job outlook for the approaching summer or after graduation. Identify any shortcomings or obstacles and address how to overcome them. Address the possibility of any future conversations or the potential for a continued relationship. 
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