The Impact of MSUM’s Paseka School of Business Mentorship Program on Students and Community Members

The Impact of MSUM’s Paseka School of Business Mentorship Program on Students and Community Members

By Caitlin Wilts

Cultivating professional relationships on campus can be one of the most rewarding experiences. Business administration student Bailey Orvik and MSUM alumnus and Assistant Chief Credit Officer at BlackRidgeBANK Jason Peterson were paired last year as mentee and mentor in the MSUM Paseka School of Business executive mentorship.  

The Paseka School of Business offers this program to students who are curious and passionate about growing professionally. It’s a one-credit course offered each semester for up to 30 students.

The program combines professionals and soon-to-be graduates to meet, discuss, and formulate a real-world plan for career development. Program Coordinator Jane Pettinger says mentors are Fargo-Moorhead area professionals, many of whom are MSUM alumni.

Mentors are recruited through MSUM’s alumni network, local area professionals, and recommendations by faculty, staff, students or other mentors.

Each mentor and mentee is carefully evaluated before being matched to provide students and volunteers the most beneficial experience. Peterson says the mentorship program “is a benefit for the students, but the mentors can look back at their career paths and assist with real-life knowledge and experience.”

Pettinger, Orvik’s advisor, encouraged her to participate in the program. Going into her experience, Orvik set goals to develop her networking skills and to seek guidance with entrepreneur goals. With a minor in human resources, she also wanted to learn what it logistically looked like to work in human resources for a larger company.

Peterson earned a degree in finance from MSUM in 1997. He’s thankful for his involvement in the program as a mentor for more than three years. “I get as much if not more out of the program than the students,” he said. “I recognize the uncertainty and excitement of starting a new life after college.  I hope my career and life experience helps the student as they embark on their career.”

Orvik and Peterson’s mentorship included meeting every other week at coffee shops, Peterson’s workplace, or networking gatherings. They also met on campus for certain program events to talk with other mentors and students. One of Orvik’s favorite events was the brown bag lunches; mentors and mentees gathered on campus to discuss topics like interviews and resumes. Orvik says she gained insight about the dos and don’ts of specific topics.

Through the executive mentorship program, Orvik learned how to professionally present herself during interviews, business meetings, and networking events.  “The mentor-mentee relationship with Jason has enriched my college experience by turning out to be one of my favorite parts of college,” she said. “This experience has equipped me for future work events and has shown me that I can be a mentor at a young age!”

Orvik encourages other students to participate in the mentorship program to learn how to create professional business materials, introduce yourself properly, and ultimately experience the significance of having mentors in your life.

Learn more about MSUM’s executive mentorship program.