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IU South Bend business students build professional bonds with local executives

Business luncheon_3By: RACHEL NUNER
Staff Writer
rnuner@iusb.edu

As part of the Judd Leighton School of Business and Economic’s Executive Mentorship Program, 26 students were paired with local businessmen and women at a luncheon on Monday, Oct. 12, in an attempt to create a professional bond between students and their official mentors for the school year.

This is the school of business’s third year conducting the program with help from executives at First Source Bank. At least half of the mentors are IU South Bend graduates.

Students and mentors will meet monthly to discuss a variety of topics in hopes of giving the students a taste of the real world, said Ken Klimek, program coordinator for the 2015-16 school year. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange monthly meetings with their mentors.

A final follow-up questionnaire and panel discussion will take place in April 2016 after the pairs conduct their monthly meetings throughout the school year.

While each pair has the freedom to discuss any subtopic of business they wish, the Executive Mentor Program informational packet provides discussion suggestions for each monthly meeting.

For the months of November and December, it is suggested that the pairs discuss the topics of networking and professional etiquette; for January and February discuss teamwork and collaboration; and for March discuss interviewing.

“The majority of IUSB’s business students stay in town after they graduate, so meeting these mentors prior to graduation really gives them an upperhand,” said Mark Bradford, professor in the school of business. “There’s a need for local representatives of the community.”

Bradford was the first individual to pitch the idea of the executive mentor program.

“I’m happy to be involved and have a chance to give back to students by hopefully providing them with some super-helpful tips,” said mentor Ali El-Ammori.

El-Ammori graduated from IUSB in 2012 with a degree in business, and was immediately hired at A-1 Telecom Distributing. It is El-Ammori’s first year involved with the mentor program and he hopes to return in the future.

“This program is an incredible and potentially career defining opportunity for business students,” said Rob Ducoffe, dean of the school of business.

Program coordinators and others involved are pleased with the effectiveness of the program and hope for the program to grow further in upcoming years.

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