The Value of Finding a Mentor: Advice from a Mentee
The perfect mentor is someone who works in your desired field and inspires you to reach your full potential. But how do you find the right match?
Luckily, with our MAP to Success Mentoring Program, we do the mentor matchmaking for you. Students are matched with a CPA mentor who'll provide one-on-one coaching, feedback on your resume and cover letter, and help you grow personally and professionally.
We recently caught up with Taiera McFarlane, a selected mentee who participated in the program last year. She had a lot to say about the experience.
How has the mentoring experience changed you?
The MAP to Success Mentorship program definitely changed my perspective on the accounting world here in Canada. My mentor was Neal Sengupta, a CPA employed at PwC. As an international student originating from the Caribbean island of Antigua, the Canadian business world is very different and more diverse. Neal honestly opened up my eyes to that. During our mentorship sessions he would always cheerfully answer my plethora of questions regarding his background, his path to his present position and his future aspirations. He gave me tips on how to enhance my resume and cover letter and he shared meaningful advice on practices I should adopt as I progress for my CPA designation. From our many conversations I was able to understand the importance and major role networking plays in advancing through the business world (or anywhere for that matter). The experience encouraged me to go out and network more, and I do so through the variety of networking events that the PSAP program hosts.
What was the most valuable thing you learned?
The importance of networking and tips on how to go about it, as well as the importance of standing out in my cover letter. Neal mentioned that these opportunities open doors and provide a platform for me to show my true self and show how I am different from the pool of applicants. He mentioned that even a small chat over coffee could secure a job more easily than submitting a resume. I deemed this to be very valuable information as I would like to get my foot in the door in the corporate world here in Canada.
What advice do you have for students starting out as a mentee?
Ask questions. When you think you don't have any more questions to ask, ask other people for feedback on good questions to ask. Your mentor is there to support you and provide as much information as possible, giving insights and sharing their personal experiences. Meet with your mentor in person for coffee or lunch. Take it as an opportunity to practice networking even. Be open-minded and inquisitive and take notes. However, while doing all this, remember to have fun and be yourself. Even though your mentor is a successful professional, they also remember what it's like to be your age, at your stage in life.
Taiera McFarlane is an international student from Antigua. She is a junior student at Trent University – Durham, and is pursuing her BBA Honors degree with a specialization in Accounting. Upon graduation she plans to stay in Canada and wants to work towards obtaining her CPA designation. She's currently interested in auditing and taxation at the individual level. She loves reading and crossword puzzles.