I received a phone call from a former mentee who told me he was finally able to land the job he aspired for. He thanked me for my advice and said he could not have done it without my help. It was an amazing conversation, and it made my day!
I have been a mentor for the FIU Business Mentoring Program for the past seven years. This program, directed by Yanyn San Luis, has grown by 1,000 percent since 2014. This year, we had 1,500 mentor/mentee matches from FIU Business’ current 10,000 students. That is an incredible level of growth, but every year, we have a shortage of mentors.
During my time, I have build many incredible relationships and seen many benefits of mentoring. Some people say they don’t have the time, patience or anything to contribute. But those are just excuses.
Here are the five reasons why you should mentor a student from FIU (or from any local university):
1. To give back to the South Florida community. You’ve worked hard to become an expert in your field. And you have reached a level of success. Why not share it with someone that can really benefit from it?
As a double major from FIU (bachelor’s degree in business administration, ’00; master’s in finance, ‘15), I was able to build a successful wealth management firm in Miami. Now it is my turn to reciprocate.
You can give back by giving money or you can give your time and expertise. A great way to give your time and expertise is through mentoring. It does not require a lot of time — 30 minutes per week, one lunch per month, the time is up to you. But by sharing your experience and mentoring a student, you are finding a great way to give back to the community.
2. You can make a difference in a student’s life. I’ve learned many students don’t know what they want to do. I have met many students interested in the field of finance but don’t understand the various career paths. It’s the same for any other field. Many times, they just need a little direction, a little guidance. And that small guidance can make a big difference.
Sharing our experience within our specific careers can be impactful to a student. I’ve had many students see me after they graduate to tell me how our time together has made a difference in their lives.
3. You learn as much from them as they do from you. The young students today are from a different generation. Sometime, this younger generation gets a bad reputation; however, these young students are very smart. They have a different perspective than someone who has been in the field for 20 years. They sometimes see things I don’t see.
I’ve had my mentees come to my office and sit in with many of my team members bringing fresh ideas and viewpoints. The mentees many times ask great questions and provide insightful feedback. I do believe that the teacher learns as much from his or her student as the student from the teacher.
4. The “thank you” is really special. When I received that call from my former mentee, it was a special moment for me. Whether it is a card, phone call or just a simple thank you, there are no words to describe the great feeling I get when I see the gratitude from my mentees. They know we are busy professionals, and they truly are grateful for our help. And to me, that simple appreciation means a great deal.
5. It’s the right thing to do. At the FIU Mentoring Program, we have a major shortage of mentors. Giving your time can have a great impact on the future generation and on tomorrow’s leaders. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time. But that time that you contribute will give exponential returns. I believe its our duty as professionals in the community to give a small amount of our time for the possibility to make a difference in the community.
As a young student studying finance at FIU, I never had an official mentor. Now I have decided to devote my time to be that mentor.
Miguel Horvath, CFP, MSF is a private wealth advisor at Horvath Wealth Management, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. in Miami. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies. Miguel.firstname.lastname@example.org or go to horvathprivatewealth.com.