Mentorship Programs Gaining Ground Across Top Business Schools

Michelle Gianforcaro

Michelle Gianforcaro


Georgetown University has been using Chronus software for its undergraduate population since 2013, dubbing its mentorship program “Hoya Gateway,” says Matt Kelly, associate director of Georgetown’s alumni career services office. Between 750 to 800 students make requests for alum mentors each year, and about 17% of the students using the program are from the McDonough School of Business, Kelly said. Many of those business students have recently switched majors and are looking for career advice from an alum in the field they’re interested in pursuing. Students using the program feel empowered because they get to pick their own mentor, and the software makes it easy for them to keep track of their goals, Kelly maintains.

“Having some kind of technology-based program makes it kind of exciting and easy for students to use,” Kelly continues. “They like the fact that they won’t hear radio silence on the other side when they reach out to a mentor, and that they can play around with the matching tools and profiles.”

At the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business, which has been using the Chronus platform since 2009, more than 2,000 students have been linked with alumni through the school’s various mentoring programs and over 50% of Leeds undergraduates are participating in one of the Leeds mentoring programs, Chronus said in a press release. At Leeds, the mentorship program appears to have more than just short-term value for the students. In an Educational Benchmarking study conducted by Leeds, students who participated in the school’s Professional Mentorship Program were 40% more likely to secure a job than non-participants.


At Villanova, Gianforcaro is hoping that Chronus will yield similar benefits for the school’s undergraduate business students and forge more relationships like the one between Kristin Bianca, a finance and economics major and senior at Villanova, and Heather Gravelle, a Villanova alum who works as a senior client associate at Wells Fargo’s wealth management and investment planning practice in Charlotte, NC.

Bianca signed up for the mentorship pilot program back when she was a sophomore, and has leaned heavily on Gravelle over the last two years as she looked for an internship and later a full-time job. According to Gravelle, Bianca frequently called upon her for career advice during coffee dates on campus and spending hours honing Bianca’s mock interview skills.

“It was an all around win-win,” Gravelle claims. “The people who step forward to mentor want to do it, and it helps energize alumni who are interested in making an impact.”


Bianca credits Gravelle’s advice and cheerleading in helping her sharpen her interview skills and land a dream job in the human capital division at Ernst & Young in New York City. “Honestly I think my interview with Ernst & Young would have been quite different if I hadn’t worked with her,” says Bianca. “I don’t know if I’d have that job today without her.”

Villanova officially introduced the Chronus platform to sophomores a few weeks ago and so far over 150 students from the sophomore class have signed up, a number Gianforcaro expects will grow as word gets out about the program. Participating students will be able to set semester goals with their mentors, and the mentors and mentees will be expected to brainstorm together about how to achieve that specific goal, whether it’s gaining a leadership position in a student club or targeting companies they want to intern at in the summer.

“Who is not going to do better with an individual coach,” questions Gianforcaro. “It is very appealing to millennials to feel that they are special, and this program will help them feel special and give them that unique one-on-one relationship.”


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