In an effort to better meet the mentoring and networking needs of undergraduate certificate in finance students and engage interested finance alumni, BCF launched a UCF mentorship program in 2015. Three years later, hundreds of students have benefited from the advice of experienced alumni. Here’s one example.
The mentorship program is part of an overall increase in career development support of our undergrad students. Starting Fall 2015, we held a UCF Careers Boot Camp orientation before classes started, offered office hours for undergrads for resume reviews and mock interviews; created a LinkedIn page for new UCF students sharing best practices career tips; and hosted alumni and corporate affiliates interested in outreach to undergrad students in our speaker series and workshops (e.g. Private Equity Workshop series).
The mentorship program will connect interested UCF students (launched with last year’s junior UCF class) with Princeton alumni who are interested in deeper connections on campus and with students.
The program will unfold as follows:
- August – Survey new UCF juniors regarding specific area of career interest/ideal job and current clubs/sports on campus (to determine affinity connection with alumni)
- July/August/September – connect with potential alumni mentors and match UCF juniors with alumni mentors based on survey results and alumni interest
- Ongoing – Connect students with mentors via email, providing details of nature of program, expectations, ways to engage, etc.
As we introduce the student to his/her mentor, we set the ground rules to manage expectations:
- Mentors are not expected to help a student find an internship or job, nor to give specific advice on a regular basis.
- Mentors do not need to meet in person unless convenient – email, Skype, telephone calls can all be ways to connect for those who are not in the same vicinity
- Mentors can share their own career path and experience in job search, provide general advice based on the career goals of that student, and provide general feedback based on a student’s interaction.
In the future, we will look to host a reception at the BCF or an event in NY to connect interested mentors/mentees in person, and/or host a thesis workshop connecting mentees with mentors at a senior thesis fair/roundtable.
Here’s what our students have shared about their Undergraduate Certificate in Finance Mentorship program experience:
“My mentor was very helpful, giving me direct advice as well as suggested reading for asset management and banking. He also recommended me for a private equity firm and helped me land an interview there. I definitely plan on keeping in touch with him.”
“My experience with the mentorship program has been great! I’ve spoken with him at least a dozen times and he has been incredibly helpful. Thank you for running such a useful program!”
“My mentor was helpful in the beginning of the year when everything was crazy (interview-wise) and I didn’t know what was going on.”
“I have really enjoyed the mentorship program this year. I was facing some of the hardest choices I have had to make in my life and having experienced professionals from a variety of backgrounds guide you through the process has been immensely helpful. They have provided me with contacts and been very accommodating with call schedules and extra help via email. I would highly recommend every finance certificate undergrad to take part in this program, it is perhaps one of the most useful tools i had last semester.”
“My mentor and I spoke about his life choices, and how he wishes he had done finance like his classmates instead of doing finance journalism.”
“We talked on the phone, and she was extremely helpful – especially when I was considering accepting an S&T offer. She gave me a lot of realistic advice about what it was like actually working there day-to-day, as well as giving me some perspective for my long-term career. She always responded to my emails, and was very prompt and very friendly!”
“I spoke with my mentor going into the summer once for a bit about interest in IB. He was definitely helpful just in terms of giving me a clearer idea of what to expect and how to prep for interviews.”
“I was able to meet up with my mentor when I was home for fall break. He was wonderful, and helpful, mainly with providing insight into his career journey and for providing support in my internship experience for this summer.”
“My mentor has been nothing short of amazing. I have had some great conversations with him. He has always been available to answer my questions and give me advice, and his recommendations have been very valuable to me.”
“I’ve interacted with my mentor on the phone and via email, and it was definitely a great way to get to know a recent graduate in the finance industry.”
“My mentor works in tech banking in San Francisco, which is my first choice for a career. I thoroughly enjoyed talking with him and learned more than I ever did hopping around Wall Street Oasis and Mergers and Inquisitions. Honestly there’s not much I’d change about the program, if another junior next year had the same opportunity as I had I’d be thrilled for him or her.”
“I grew up in the south and I’ve always known I wanted to live back in the south. At the beginning of this year, I felt like the only place I could even think of looking for finance jobs was New York City. This program set me up with an energy M&A banker in Houston. He talked with me frequently and really inspired me to look at jobs in Houston. He even introduced me to a high school friend of his at a boutique investment bank, which ultimately turned into a final round interview. Later in the semester, you sent out an email saying there were still unmatched mentors. I noticed an “energy M&A banker in Houston” on the list, so I asked if I could speak with him as well. We had a great conversation. Within five minutes of hanging up, he calls me back and asked if I could do a first round interview at his company. I did the interview that night, and a few days later, I was flown down to Houston for the final round. Before I even got back on the plane they had offered me an internship! My first mentor helped guide me to what I really wanted to do, and within five days of meeting my second mentor I was offered a job at his firm. None of this would have been possible without your help and I cannot thank you enough for all that you’ve done.”