An alumnus meets with a student in the mentoring program.The Alumni-Student Mentor Program launched in spring 2014 as a way to build connections between generations of alumni and strengthen our community.

The department is seeking alumni willing to spend a small amount of time to make a big difference in the lives of students. Participants can get involved in the department, help current students in a valuable and concrete way, and help us establish a culture of service that will be paid forward for generations to come.

The department also offers a Peer Mentor Program that partners freshmen and senior students to smooth the transition to CU Boulder.

Apply to Join

For mentees:

  • Gain valuable career advice
  • Broaden your professional network
  • Learn more about your fields of interest and the types of job and companies in these areas
  • Learn how someone previously in your shoes has transitioned into the professional world, works on achieving professional goals and deals with work-life balance
  • Foster a sense of professionalism
  • Gain additional insights and support beyond those of the faculty and fellow students

For mentors:

  • Make a significant impact on students
  • Impart on students a sense of professionalism and maturity
  • Share advice learned from your educational journey and professional career

Mentors will be assigned a small number of student mentees, to be determined based on the number of volunteers. The mentor also can request a certain number of students if desired.

Mentor-mentee pairing will be maintained through graduation. We strongly encourage mentors to continue contact with mentees after completion of their degrees.

The estimated monthly time commitment per student mentee is 1-2 hours.

General guidance is provided below to participants on the expected level of commitment. However, we encourage mentors and mentees to be flexible and to share with each other and with the department their ideas for improving or getting the most out of the program.

  • Meet in person or via Skype at least once a semester. The focus is on establishing face time between mentors and mentees. Mentors with multiple students may meet in small groups or individually.
  • Do not be afraid to reach out to your mentor with questions or concerns throughout the semester. However, have reasonable expectations on your mentor’s time and commitments. Please realize that your mentor likely has a full-time job and be considerate of his or her time. Communication is important; you may considering saying something like, “I may have a lot of questions for you, especially when I’m studying or considering classes. Please let me know if I am taking up too much of your time or when might be convenient for you to meet.”
  • Answer mentor emails or phone calls in a timely manner, even if it is only to say you are busy at the moment and will get back to your mentor at length within a week or two. The ASMP coordinator will establish reasonable boundaries with students.
  • Behave professionally and respectfully. For instance, turn your cell phone off during in-person meetings; attend in-person meetings in business casual attire unless requested otherwise by your mentor; address your mentor formally in emails unless requested otherwise.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact the ASMP coordinator if you have any questions or concerns.

The advice mentors give to students will vary greatly, but below are some general topics mentors may wish to address.

  • Career advice. What fields and opportunities are out there, and how can students prepare now to position themselves to take full advantage? Based on their career goals, should students consider additional education or go directly into industry?
  • The transition from school to the next step. Whether they are going into industry or graduate/medical/law school, mentors can provide valuable advice on how to make the transition go as smoothly as possible.
  • A sense of professionalism. Advice on how students will be expected to carry themselves and act in the professional world.
  • How to find a job. How to network and best present oneself, job search tools that may be useful, etc.
  • How to choose a graduate/medical/law school. What is most important to consider when applying for and visiting schools? For instance, advisor connection, ranking if going into academia, multiple research projects of interest, etc.
  • Ways to bolster a resume. Apart from a high GPA, what will help students find a job or get into a good graduate school? This may be certain industrial experience, research, leadership roles, volunteer work or other extracurricular activities.
  • The importance of service. Why is giving back or volunteering important?
  • Helpful advice mentors have received. Advice that helped the mentor’s career or life.

Conversation starters for mentees

  • Can you tell me about yourself and your current job?
  • How did you get where you are now?
  • What would you like to know about me?
  • What classes do you think might help me after school?
  • Do you recommend graduate school or getting an MBA?
  • How do I put myself in a position to succeed in industry?
  • What are the positives and negatives of a large company versus a small company?
  • Would you be willing to look at my resume and cover letter and give me pointers?
  • Do you have recommendations for how to network?
  • In what activities did you participate outside of school?
  • How did you manage the transition out of CU?
  • What can I do to set myself apart from my peers?
  • What do I need to do now to make myself the most marketable?
  • Do you have any test-taking or studying strategies?
  • Can you explain more about jobs in a particular field?
  • What exactly do people spend their time doing at work?
  • I’m interested in (certain classes or activities). Can you suggest any companies or graduate schools where I would do this kind of work?
  • Is there a certain field you might recommend (that I may not have thought of before)? 
  • What are your goals, and how do you achieve them?
  • How do you balance work and your personal life?
  • How is work different from school?
  • How should I conduct myself at work, especially if it is more formal?
  • How do I best present myself in interviews and in the workplace?
  • Will my first job out of school pigeonhole me and my career?
  • How do I get on the management track?
  • How do I get into consulting? How does independent consulting work?
  • Do you have any tips on negotiating?
  • Do you have advice on financial issues? For instance, various retirement plans, stock purchase plans, resources for money management and stock investment, or in buying a house?

Conversation starters for mentors

  • Tell me about yourself and your background.
  • What are your questions for me?
  • What do you want to take away from this mentoring program?
  • What classes do you most enjoy?
  • In what activities are you involved?
  • What are you doing to set yourself apart from your peers?
  • In which fields are you interested and why? In which fields are you absolutely not interested and why?
  • What are your short-term (post-graduation) goals?
  • What are your long-term (10-20 years) goals?
  • What do you think you need to do now to achieve your goals?
  • What are your concerns for your future?
  • Would you like me to look over your resume and cover letter and provide advice?
  • How do you think a school and professional setting are different?
  • Do you have questions about choosing a graduate, medical or law school?
  • Are you concerned that your first job outside of school will pigeonhole you?
  • Do you have questions about the advantages and disadvantages of working at a small versus big company?
  • Do you think you would be interested in management? How do you think you could position yourself to move into a management role?
  • Do you have questions about negotiating?
  • Do you have general questions about financial issues? For instance, how various retirement plans work, what a stock purchase plan is, what resources for money management and stock investment exist, or what is involved in buying a house?

Apply to Join

Students may join the Alumni-Student Mentor Program as sophomores, juniors or seniors. Mentors may be asked to provide a brief biographical sketch or a LinkedIn profile for pairing purposes, while students will fill out a survey expressing their interests.

The ASMP coordinator will match mentors and mentees based on shared interests on or around the first day of each month and will send an introductory email. The coordinator will then step back and let the mentor initiate the next contact. Mentees also must attend one expectations session prior to meeting their mentors, where the ASMP coordinator will go over a student/program expectations presentation.

The ASMP coordinator will contact all students during their first mentoring semester to check in and solicit feedback. A survey will be administered to all mentors and students once a year to determine ways to improve the program.

Mentors are always more than welcome to contact ASMP Coordinator Carrie Ngai at any time with questions, concerns, or advice on how to improve the program.