How much does a mentor mean when it comes to deciding what you want to do, or to graduating and getting a job? Those are exactly the questions Ryan Murphy asked himself early in his college career in 2014.
It was then Ryan visited Xavier’s Career Development Office and talked with his mentor, Dan Link, for the first time. After that, everything began to fall into place.
The Career Development Office brings together professionals and students to share career inspirations and professional development. In this case, the professional was Link, a 2008 Business Management grad who had participated in the mentoring program when he was a student.
He read Ryan’s profile and liked what he saw. “I picked Ryan because he was undecided,” Link says. “I wanted to show him that you don’t have to have it all figured out.”
Turns out, Link did a good job helping Ryan figure it all out, including deciding on a major. At the time, Ryan had originally chosen education but shifted into neutral, going instead to undecided (now known as exploratory).
Link helped him to think about business as a possible major and career.
“I knew I liked working with people,” Ryan says. “I like the challenges that business faces and I like the classes.”
Once he switched his major to business, the next step was to find an internship. Link stepped up again.
“He gave me some really good insights into how to apply, where to look and opportunities that could happen after internships with good companies,” Ryan says.
Now, the Career Development Office says they need more mentors to sign up. They are especially short in these programs: Sports Management, Sports Marketing, Advertising, Graphic Design, Health Services Administration, Occupational Therapy and Nursing.
“This program gives students an invaluable opportunity to pair with a professional mentor to work on their networking skills, personal and professional development,” says Erin Roush, the office’s assistant director for mentoring & assessment. “Mentors help cultivate a student’s career aspirations through sharing their own path to success and providing insight into their career field.”
Ryan Murphy was able to intern with Fifth Third Bank and its innovative Operations Leadership summer program. It was a good way for him to “test drive” his new major, as well as learn if life in a corporate environment is a good fit. After all, internships have become an extension of the job interview.
Now Link and Ryan, who earned a business degree in Management, are working together at Fifth Third.
“I felt like Xavier created an environment, and I wanted to give back to the University the way the mentoring program had done for me,” Link says.
Learn more about becoming a mentor.
PHOTO CAPTION: Dan Link, left, and his mentee, Ryan Murphy, with their awards for Mentor and Mentee of the Year.