The Spartan Sponsors Mentor Program pairs students and alumni with similar career interests with each other, both on campus at the annual Homecoming Spartan Sponsors Mentor Program meeting and throughout the year with phone calls and email. The connections made are a win-win, broadening the student’s perspectives and allowing practicing professionals to share insights and “give back” in a way that can help a young person start down a path to success.

Once alumni and students are paired, they are invited to attend the Homecoming kickoff event. If that is impossible, mentorship can still continue by phone or email as often as alumni schedules permit – and of course, alumni are invited to visit campus anytime. The mentor relationship lasts one school year. Alumni may choose to continue their mentoring relationship across consecutive years, or they can be paired with someone new each year.

The deadline to sign up for both alumni and students is October 1 of each year. There is a mandatory training session for students before they are paired with a mentor. 

Mentors

  • What do I gain from being involved as a Spartan Sponsor mentor?

    There are practical benefits, certainly. Your contact with students who have chosen to be part of the mentoring program can also be a recruiting tool. Moreover, you can help students learn more about your segment of the industry. You will meet and get to know students who will graduate and seek positions in companies like yours. But even more, you may find that what you give away in expertise, wisdom and time is returned to you many times over in the knowledge that you have helped to direct and influence an industry leader of tomorrow.

  • How do I get involved?

    Simply fill out the online form for alumni on this page, and SIRC will match you to your student and tell you how to get started.

  • What can I expect from my Spartan Sponsor mentor student?

    Questions, questions and more questions. The goal of the program is for the students to gain knowledge about the industry and their career paths by learning from YOU!! They may ask you to help them with their resumes. They might want to know more about your own career. They might need help understanding possible career options. Or they might ask about handling specific job-related situations. They might even ask you about proper attire in interviews. You have tremendous industry experience that students can benefit from.

    Read the advice we give to students about conversations they might have with you and when. This information may be useful for you to know as you and your student make contact.

  • What should I include in my biography (part of the mentor application)?

    Include in your biography your career path: where you started, how you moved up and how you decided that the career you chose was right for you. Or you might give a detailed description of what your current position entails. The idea is to give the students a basic understanding of where you’ve been and what you are doing, so they know what they can ask you. For instance, if you have lived in 17 states, mention it. If you are a working mother, mention it. The more you share, the better.

  • What if I have any other questions?

    Just call the SIRC office at (517) 353-9747 or email us and we will be happy to help you!

Students

  • Why should I join Spartan Sponsors?

    It is an easy and effective way to learn about the industry, make career contacts, explore and get possible internships and permanent positions, and to network, network, network!

  • How do I get involved?

    Fill out the online form for students, and SIRC will match you to your Spartan Sponsor mentor and tell you how to get started.

  • Is there a contact schedule and suggested discussion starters?

    October–December

    • Become better acquainted
    • Discuss how to make a great first impression
    • Discuss professional etiquette
    • Discuss resumes and business correspondence (students send via email, fax or mail to mentor for feedback)

    February

    • Discuss tips on interviewing
      • content
      • types
      • length
      • things to say
      • questions to ask
      • appropriate dress

    March

    • Discuss tips on internships
      • current industry trends
      • how to select the best internship
      • how to structure the internship
      • which skills to develop
      • what to do when unexpected situations arise

    April

    • Discuss leadership
      • how to develop leadership skills
      • what traits impress industry leaders and recruiters
    • Say farewell and thank you!
    • Seniors: Discuss the elements to consider in a job offer:
      • salary and benefits
      • location and relocation
      • separating and balancing personal and professional time
      • the transition from student to professional
      • life in the “working world”

    Most of all, be gracious, enthusiastic and eager to learn, and your conversations will come naturally!

  • How can I get to know my mentor?

    In your first contact with your Spartan Sponsor mentor, consider asking the following kinds of questions:

    • Tell me your story:
      • What was your first job?
      • How and why did you get started in the business?
      • How did you get where you are today?
    • What is your title? What do you do on a daily basis? What is your typical day like?
    • How do you create balance between a high-powered job and your personal life?
    • If you could reflect, what are two or three things about your job that make you excited to go to work each day?
    • What is one thing you would change about your job if you could?
    • What was the worst job you ever had and why?
    • What was your major in college? Which classes did you find particularly helpful? Do you have an advanced degree (and if so, what is it in)?
    • ?

    • What is one important thing you learned in college that you feel was critical in your career?
    • In your opinion, how important is getting a college degree in pursuing a career in hospitality? Are graduate degrees valued in your segment of the industry? In what way?
    • What skills/attributes are necessary in order to be successful in the hospitality industry?
    • What are the advancement opportunities in your segment of the industry?
    • Is there anything you would do differently to better prepare your for your career?
    • If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
  • What if I have more questions?

    Contact the SIRC office via phone at (517) 353-9747 or email at shbsirc@msu.edu, and we will be happy to help you!