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4 Benefits of Flash Mentoring for University Alumni Offices

Posted by Devinee Fitzgerald on Aug 12, 2018 2:23:25 PM
Devinee Fitzgerald
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Learn 4 key benefits of flash mentoring from this mentee spotlight story. Christine had just finished her summer internship between junior and senior year when she realized she was on the wrong career path.



Christine had just finished a summer internship between junior and senior year when she had a realization: she was on the wrong career path. Christine began researching the advertising agency world.

Christine came from a business school background where there had been a “very, very, very big emphasis on networking.” She knew she should talk to people who had industry experience. Once she narrowed her focus to a few choice agencies, she turned to her alma mater, Harvard Westlake School for a flash mentoring session.

Benefit #1: Flash mentoring opportunities increase your current students' chances of successfully finding a fulfilling career.


Harvard Westlake Works, Powered by PeopleGrove

Harvard-Westlake Works, powered by PeopleGrove, is a mentorship platform where alumni can connect for flash mentoring and share career advice. It was there that Christine found an alumni mentor, Anna, who worked at the Los Angeles advertising agency, Omelet.

Benefit #2: A mentorship platform only for a university's alumni community strengthens the ties of the alumni network.

Interested in learning more about the Omelet advertising agency, Christine reached out and requested a flash mentoring session with Anna via the platform. Anna, who had signed up for the platform a few months before, responded right away.

“I am always excited to get the chance to work with people who went to Harvard-Westlake...It is a very tight-knit community with a lot of inherent trust and respect built into it," said Anna. For Anna, the community aspect of the platform — combined with the fact that everyone on it was a Harvard-Westlake student or alum — made her feel comfortable.

Christine initially asked for an informational interview. Christine's preparedness set the tone for proactive career conversation and impressed Anna. Christine’s search for the right career field resonated with Anna. “I actually come from an architecture background and did a full 180 after a few years," said Anna. 

Benefit #3: Digital flash mentoring methods such as phone calls and video calls afford more meaningful connection than static messaging.

Anna and Christine talked about what Christine was looking for on a professional level. Anna shared details about her role at Omelet and past career experiences. They also covered personal topics, such as the pressures of finding that first job after college.

Anna got a sense of who Christine was — something that she feels would not have happened over email. “Getting on a phone call or video call is really important — just hearing someone’s voice and the way they talk helps you get to know them," said Anna. 

Having spoken to Christine on Harvard-Westlake Works, Anna felt comfortable recommending Christine for an internship. Anna’s confidence in Christine turned out to be well-placed. Two months later, Christine had a full-time job offer. Christine still feels able to turn to Anna for advice.

Benefit #4: Flash mentoring opportunities allow alumni to have an emotionally rewarding experience associated with your university.

Christine enjoys the informality and comfortable communication style she and Anna have established as colleagues at Omelet. “Anna was so helpful when I got here and she still is!" said Christine. 

Anna first thought of flash mentoring as a way to help others from her alma mater's community. But, Anna believes the benefits of that initial flash mentoring session are ongoing. Anna said that watching Christine embrace her new role reminded Anna how much she loved her job.

"Having the opportunity to help guide someone reminds you of all the things you love about your own job that you might be taking for granted," said Anna.

Topics: Mentorship Spotlight, Connections, Community College