takafumi watanabe
How to Control Your Career Path with the Power of Mentorship

A mentorship program will connect you, the mentee, who has energy, ambition, and a bit of anxiety about making career decisions, with a mentor, who has professional experience and knowledge, creating significant benefits for both sides.

As an international student studying marketing in a master’s program in the United States, I faced challenges in discovering my future career options because I had limited resources to help me understand different working environments, complex company construction, and the complicated job search process in the United States. After connecting with my mentor, Jay Atcheson, Vice President at Element Fleet Management, through AMA Baltimore’s Mentor Connections mentorship program, I realized that connecting with a person who has already proven to be successful in marketing is essential.

Jay and I had many conversations in a variety of ways including email, phone calls, and face-to-face meetings. During our conversations, we discussed various topics including the work experience, job search methods, future career paths, and recent marketing trends. For example, Jay discussed deeply about how I should pick my first job with considerations about my future career path as an international student. All of the discussions with Jay were very helpful for me to have a deeper consideration about career and lifestyle.

Before I had a job interview, Jay gave me multiple useful insights from his experience and perspective as an employer. He told me what the employers are looking for, and what kind of questions I should ask to the interviewee. Thanks to his advice, I was able to get the job offer.

To make the mentorship meeting more productive and effective, some tips to keep in mind include:

Before meeting:

  • Make a general plan throughout the program
  • Share your goals
  • Decide discussion topics

During meeting:

  • Challenge the mentor from your own perspective
  • Be respectful
  • Show your ambition  

After meeting:

  • Voluntarily follow-up with your mentor
  • Provide and request feedback

I strongly believe that mentorship positively affected my life. The connection will not only last during my academic program, but also will be a life-long connection. I strongly recommend and encourage people who have great ambition to participate in this program. A phone call or a cup of coffee with your mentor can change your entire life.

Takafumi Watanabe is a student at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and a past mentee participant in AMA Baltimore’s Mentor Connections mentorship program. To learn more about the program, visit our mentorship page.