Q: How much time is involved?
A: About 4 hours/month to meet one-on-one with your mentee. In addition, during the semester mentors attend a monthly seminar at the U of H along with all the students and other mentors. These monthly meetings are either on Tuesday or Thursday evening from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Many mentors have found value in networking and connecting with not only their students, but other mentors. At the end of these sessions the student is given an assignment, which then you as their mentor would provide guidance and support on the assignment—the time and place for this meeting is agreed upon by you and the student. There are no formal meetings during the summer or holidays.
Q: What Qualifications are required for me to be considered as a WCE Mentor?
A: The ideal mentor would have been involved in a startup and have entrepreneurial experience. You should be of good character and intent on making a positive difference in developing a student entrepreneur.
Q: Do I have to be affiliated with the University of Houston?
A: While we certainly welcome U of H supporters, we have great mentors from, Texas A&M, U.T., Rice and other fine universities and colleges. The common thread is that these mentors have a passion to give back to a new generation the gift of innovation and the skills associated with taking ideas and developing them in markets.
Q: Is it difficult to be a mentor?
A: Our program has been identified as one of the top ranked programs in the country, in part because we are able to bring quality people into the lives of our students. We have gone to extraordinary lengths to prepare both student and mentor to succeed and to enjoy this relationship. Our hope is that you will view this as one of the richest and most productive experiences of your career. We also hope you’ll have some fun in the process. We will provide the structure, the direction and the resources to give you every tool necessary to use your experience, knowledge and insights to help young entrepreneurs succeed.
Q: What if the student and I don’t fit?
A: This will be a mutually voluntary relationship. If either you or the student is not satisfied –either the mentor or the student can terminate the mentoring experience. Honestly, we’re not perfect. In very few cases our students aren’t ready or capable of fulfilling their role in this experience. In an even more rare case, we’ve had mentors who were unable to fulfill their commitment to the student. We do our best to avoid these situations, but when they do– we work hard to try again and find the right fit.
Q: How do you match students and mentors?
A: It varies, however, the mentors wishes are taken into consideration. For instance, in the past some women mentors have requested a female student, or vice-versa. Beyond that, we usually try to bring a balance to the experience. As an example, if a student has strong finance and accounting abilities, we might match them with a mentor strong in marketing and branding to help the student find balance in his/her experience.