Business students are getting a personalized perspective on their future careers and the classes to take to get there through the Mihaylo Faculty Mentor Program.
“The goal is to make the college experience better, to help students feel more connected as soon as they have declared their majors,” said Jeffrey Jolley, a former vice president and chief actuary at Pacific Life Insurance and lecturer in finance.
“Although all advisers are helpful, I have found that they can only provide general information about all concentrations rather than the direct and unique advice,” explained Samantha Condy, a senior studying risk management and insurance. “I chose Professor Jolley because of his background in life insurance.”
“I had a counseling session with Professor Jolley about the finance program and I learned a lot,” said junior business major Charles Bang. “He helped me choose courses to help my understanding of the program and would guide me with each session. I personally feel that the mentorship is very helpful, especially for students who are not very sure of what they want to do yet or how to achieve their goals.”
It was precisely that reason that Mihaylo College began the program as a pilot last spring, said Jenny Zhang, associate dean of the college. “The initial thinking was: what can we do that could help students be better prepared and graduate on time?”
Being mentors “was a way to provide additional resources, to get to know the needs of our students and address their issues. It’s not a required part of their program because we want it to be a positive experience,” she added. “This allows us to help students see that we are concerned for their well-being and have an interest in seeing that they succeed in the future.”
“It’s working really well. I love being in the classroom environment but I love working one-on-one with students and I try to devote as much of my time as possible to mentoring students,” said Jolley. “I go over classes they need, when they should take them, share my experiences.”
“I would not have taken the classes that I am currently enrolled in if it had not been for his close ties with all the insurance professors and knowledge of those courses,” said Condy. “He introduced me to a variety of insurance and finance courses, which will help me as I am starting to apply within the industry.”
“I also remind them that this is not a one-time visit and encourage them to return,” Jolley explains. “Sometimes it’s to go over their resume or come in and talk about a problem they may be having in class — even if it’s not in a finance class. I want them to see that they have an ally in their corner.”
“The most important part of the mentorship for me is the comfort I receive knowing that I am on the right track,” said Sally Lattouf, a junior studying risk management and insurance. “If I am even the slightest bit hesitant about which classes to take, he (Jolley) clarifies them for me and makes sure I leave with all my questions answered.”