Ilitch School corporate mentor and student build a relationship with real roots
Each fall semester since 2015, the Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business Corporate Mentor Program has given students the opportunity to be matched with a professional corporate mentor and work one-on-one throughout the entire academic year. During this time, students consult monthly with their mentors–usually in-person–to get instruction and support with important career decisions and, most importantly, get exposure to the day-to-day life of the professional world.
Amber Conway and Emily Kravetz, co-directors of the program at the Ilitch School, take very seriously the compatibility of every mentor and mentee; so, it’s no surprise when there’s a successful pairing.
This past fall, senior accounting major Daniella Suvak matched with Sarah Matteson, who graduated from the Ilitch School in 2012 and currently works as an audit manager for Deloitte.
The two developed a close relationship, finding creative ways to work together in sometimes unconventional settings. In one of their meetings, for instance, Matteson invited Suvak to participate at a volunteer event for Life Remodeled, a Detroit nonprofit focused on rebuilding neighborhoods. In all, they planted four trees on lots where buildings were previously demolished.
“We had to dig through bricks and rocks, and it was not an easy task,” Matteson said. “She had a great attitude and was very helpful.”
Overall, Suvak said having Matteson as a mentor was a very positive experience.
“She gives me a lot of insight into what to expect with my internship and has introduced me to different people at her firm.
“She is always available to answer my questions and gives me great advice about my education and career path. Sarah and I had our standard meetings where we met in her office, but we also volunteered together and had lunch with another mentor-mentee pair.”
A member of the honors college, Suvak recently finished an audit internship at Plante Moran’s Detroit location. She hopes to join the Ilitch School’s AGRADE program next year to work towards her MBA, which she plans to pursue after completing her undergraduate degree.
The Corporate Mentor Program incorporates an intentional effort to help first-generation, undergraduate students (neither mother nor father graduated from a four-year university within the United States) further explore a career direction and become career-ready. This program is a formal mentoring program that focuses on one-on-one relationships to help participating business students develop a professional identity and a clearer vision for their career path. The program matches a mid- to senior-level executive, who is either a WSU alumnus or friend of the school, with a Wayne State business student.