Mentor and Mentee, a Mutually Enriching Relationship
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Mentor and Mentee, a Mutually Enriching Relationship

A NEW PLATFORM MAKES CONTACTS BETWEEN JUNIOR AND SENIOR ALUMNI ACROSS THE WORLD MUCH EASIER


There are moments in one’s professional life when you have to look at yourself in the mirror and say: “If I want to advance in my career, I have to seek dispassionate expert advice from someone who knows what I’m doing, but is not biased in my favor because we don’t know each other personally. Somebody who is on my side, but speaks his/her mind clearly, based on direct experience. I need a mentor, in short. Not only Bocconi students, but also alumni can enter a mentorship. The mentoring service has been active for the Bocconi Alumni Community since 2014, and so far it has involved a total of about 300 mentors and as many mentees. For some months now, finding the right match for a professional mentorship is even simpler, thanks to the new Bocconi Alumni Connect platform, whose purpose is to make contacts and exchange between alums across the world much easier. Once master and apprentice have been matched, how does mentoring play out and how should one approach it? We asked two pairs of mentors and mentees to tell us.

Mentor
Massimo Leto di Priolo, Bocconi class of 1971 alumnus 1971, consultant for Banca Albertini
“I started this experience five years ago, because I was curious to see what a mentor could actually achieve in practice. Since then, I've done it three times.”
 
Mentee
Nicoletta Poggi, Bocconi class of 2008 alumna, Market Risk Specialist at Banco BPM
“I was in the midst of an employment transition, with the merger of the bank I worked for with another. My first intention was to find another job, but the market offered nothing interesting and I wanted advice on the moves I should take.”

What kind of relationship emerges during a mentorship?
Mentor
➜ A relationship is created in which mentees gain knowledge of their work that they would not get in such a short time. Objectives are set, perhaps imagining an alternative route for the mentee either in the same company or elsewhere. Mentor and mentee invest time, so both are encouraged not to throw it away..
Mentee
➜ A relationship of great trust and mutual sincerity is created. And it cannot be otherwise, if the relationship is to be profitable and functional.

Did you click right away?
Mentor
➜ I never had any problems. On average, the mentoring relationship takes from one to two months to get going: if after three months the tuning has not taken place it is better to interrupt the relationship. Only time would be lost.
Mentee
➜ Yes, it was easy. Massimo had a very structured approach, but immediately friendly and sincere, as well as always disinterested and reserved.

What is the right way to deal with this experience?
Mentor
➜ The mentor must have true humility and ability to listen. He doesn't have to go to class. It is therefore a rather demanding activity: if you are not really available, the mentee does not open and does not trust you with his or her problems.
Mentee
➜ It is very important to open up to new ideas and points of view that can be gathered, reflecting and drawing their own conclusions from them.
 
Mentor
Giuseppe Beretta, Bocconi class of 1989 alumnus, Executive Coach for Turning Point, Talent Scout and Sales Coach for Digital Attitude
Mentee
Camilla Budelli, Bocconi class of 1995, formerly AmTrust Revive Managing Director at AmTrust Financial Services

What is the most useful teaching you have learned from it?
Mentor
Authenticity. That is not a value in itself, but the condition that makes the relationship effective. Trusting one another allows you to address issues in a direct and useful way.
Mentee
I have drawn above all an experience teaching: that of receiving a dispassionate opinion from a person who quickly framed me. It is a stimulating experience.

What is the purpose of mentoring and, conversely, why we shouldn’t make the mistake of overlooking its benefits?
Mentor
➜ It must serve to transfer experience and knowledge. To provide advice that is based on lived paths and not only imagined. On the other hand, it should not serve to provide a job and this must be clear from the beginning. Just as it must be clear, for the mentor, that theoretical lessons are not dispensed.
Mentee
➜ As mentee it can be very easy to put one's concerns on the table, but if one does not have good ability to listen to the mentor's indications and if one does not question oneself, the work is of little use. You can't think that exchanging ideas with the mentor solves the problem. Advice and suggestions are obtained from the mentor, but the concrete action that derives from it remains in the hands of us.

What did you learn from this experience?
Mentor
➜ I realized that I probably needed to use mentoring in some key steps in my career. There are moments of solitude where having a mentor can be very useful. Furthermore, I realized that the problems are the same regardless of the industry.
Mentee
➜ I have regained confidence in action and greater awareness of my abilities. Each of us has a certain idea of himself, it is useful to compare it with someone: you can discover new traits of your character.

If you were to summarize your experience in a couple of words, which ones would you use?
Mentor
➜ I would say that it is a wise give-back. That is, it is a way to give back a little of what has been achieved.
Mentee
➜ Constructive, because it was serious and useful for the purpose, and humanly pleasant. A relationship of closeness has been created which for me is very important in every relationship.
 

by Andrea Celauro
Translated by Alex Foti


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