When I first came to college, I didn’t have a professional mentor and didn’t know how to form a relationship like that. Now as I prepare to enter the business world after graduating, I know how important it is to build my network. Thankfully, I had the opportunity during my first year to become a part of the Graduates of the Last Decade (G.O.L.D.) Mentorship Program at Purdue. Before getting an email explaining the program, I hadn’t heard of it and didn’t know what to think of it. However, I decided to give it a try and see what comes out of the program.
After getting the confirmation email that I would be able to participate in this program, I was thrilled to find out that the program coordinators paired me with Nick Sabatini, a financial analyst at Google. The coordinators paired students with a mentor based on our major, the career path we wanted to take, and our personal interests. They recommended that we have monthly meetings with our mentor online, since these Purdue graduates had moved away from campus. They suggested topics that we could discuss with our mentor and questions to ask, but we were encouraged to come up with our own ideas and questions so that the conversations could flow better, and we’d get the most out of the experience.
Talking with Nick helped me develop a broader mindset about the path I could take. Because Nick is so young and accomplished, he is a phenomenal resource. He gave me advice on career fairs, how to set goals, and how to achieve those goals, both personally and professionally. He also taught me about how I should be thinking to get to the place that he’s at today.
Going into our meetings, I first expected him to be very professional and straightforward, and that we’d only discuss topics about Nick’s experience at Purdue and his career path. However, our meetings ended up becoming more personal. As time went on, they evolved into more of a casual conversation. We started talking about how he’s doing as a person and how I can learn from his experience and transform it into what I can do to better prepare for my future. Although we attended Purdue at different times, and we are at very different periods in our professional lives, I’m still able to relate my life to his. We’ve found commonalities between us, and these have helped us keep our conversations going.
I didn’t expect to have so many top professionals getting involved in this program. My mentor Nick works at Google, and I have a friend whose mentor works at SC Johnson. It’s amazing to see these alumni take time out of their busy schedules to speak with college students. Even if we don’t continue to have monthly meetings, it’s still nice to know that we made a connection with someone who has accomplished so much in their life so soon out of college.
I love how open the mentoring has been. Having full freedom to speak about whatever we wanted with a mentor who is so young to relate to me was a huge plus. He’s more in touch with what I may be going through as a student now. The career path I'm interested in, a financial path, is similar to what he pursued after graduating. He went through a rotational development program where he took a few different roles at the same company over the course of a few years, which is similar to what I want to do.
I would absolutely recommend this program to interested students. After being a part of it for a year, I’m so glad to have joined it. I don't think there's any better way to get connected with such talented individuals who have graduated from Purdue recently and were in your shoes not that long ago. Anyone who’s on the fence should just go for it. There’s no risk involved—the worst that could happen is not connecting personally with your mentor and there is no obligation to continue meeting – and the benefits you could receive from it are too extraordinary to give up.