From the Dean

When I was a freshman at Knox College, I was part of an incoming class of 200 students. Yes, 200 students for the entire freshman class, and I thought things were intimidating! Imagine being a freshman at Purdue with an incoming class of thousands! Those first days as a Purdue freshman can be a little scary, somewhat confusing and at times, a bit overwhelming. But, providing a junior or senior mentor to call on for advice helps freshmen overcome that initial anxiety and feel more confident on campus.

That’s the idea behind Krannert School of Management’s mentoring program for incoming freshmen. A collaborative effort involving students, faculty, alumni and the advising office, the program helps incoming students connect at Krannert more quickly.

Krannert Direct Admit freshmen were paired with mentors during last fall semester. The program was so successful we are making it available to all freshmen in the fall of 2014.

Christine Jackson, associate professor of management, teaches the mentors about leadership with help from Krannert alumni. Mentors enroll in Professor Jackson’s 16-week, 2-credit-hour class, the Krannert Leadership Development Program. In addition to role-playing and experiential exercises, student mentors learn from visiting alumni speakers, who share stories from their own experiences as mentors.

The class meets every other week. On the weeks when class doesn’t meet, mentors and freshmen get together for events and activities. Mentors guide freshmen through resume building, networking and career planning exercises. As the mentees gain confidence, the mentors gain leadership skills that will serve them well in future professional endeavors.

Our mentors reflect the diversity of the Krannert School, with domestic and international students of all majors and academic experiences stepping up to make a difference for underclassmen. Feedback from the first class showed that mentors were surprised by how much they gained from the mentor-mentee relationship and how much the process furthered their own personal development.

In addition to regularly scheduled face-to-face meetings, texting was a popular way for freshmen to ask mentors questions. A highlight for many was the resume building exercise. Mentors guided mentees as they planned what their ideal resumes would look like in two years. Then, they developed a strategy to get there.

The mentoring program is just another way our faculty, students and alumni work together to ensure that the next generation of global business leaders is prepared to solve the world’s toughest business challenges.