Harold Taber founded the Biola MBA mentor program in 2001. His vision was to create a fundamental distinctive that would benefit graduate business school students at Biola University. The Crowell School of Business MBA and Master of Management programs provide an opportunity for the students to be involved in a one-on-one mentoring relationship with a Christian businessperson. The Biola MBA and Master of Management programs carefully nurture and encourage the integration of biblical principles into all areas of life, including the business environment. All Biola graduate students are carefully selected through our application process. Likewise, all 100 Mentors are carefully selected through an application and interview process. Care is taken so that there is an assurance that all the mentors are committed Christians, that they have the required professional experience, that they exhibit strong entrepreneurial characteristics of servant leadership, and that they truly have a heart for giving back by sharing their knowledge and experiences with others.
Since its inception in 2001, the MBA mentor program has been a blessing to our students. There are countless stories of the lives that have been influenced and changed by the mentor relationship. There is no doubt about the impact mentoring has on the lives of the students that put the time in to meet with their mentors. Mentor meetings with the MBA and Master of Management students strive to instill values, vision, expectations, skills, and perspectives that will lead them to increased levels of influence in their careers and places of work. Biola mentors attempt to translate their professional backgrounds and experience into the development of the character of the MBA and Master of Management students.
Biola's MBA and Master of Management mentor program is different than mentoring in a business setting. Biola mentoring is about being available to the student, being able to educate them about what really goes on at the executive level. It is not workplace mentoring; it is more about life mentoring for the Christian businessperson. Mentors influence large and small actions, often giving timely advice. Giving advice and being a sounding board through the many stages of life provides our students with an upper hand to achieve success at work, success with relationships, and success with life in general. The mentors share from their successes and from their failures in order to pass on their wisdom and help the students make better decisions. The process takes time and effort for both parties, but there are also blessings for both the mentor and the mentee.
The focus of the program and the Biola mentors is on the student and the development of that student. The mentors are intentionally there for the benefit of the student. Though the student is the focus, the blessings that are drawn from the relationship go to both the student and the mentor. As mentioned earlier, every one of our mentors has a heart to give back. They have attitudes of serving others through giving back and encouraging those around them. They aren’t looking to get anything back for themselves. The mentors cherish the idea of passing on their life experience and business knowledge to a younger person. However, it is through this giving to others that our mentors are also blessed. I continually hear stories about how the students have blessed the mentor and how the mentors are blessings the students. Some are blessed by the mere fact that they build trust with another person. They get to practice active listening and perhaps engage empathy. Others are blessed by expanding their network and getting to know someone new. Sometimes, it is through a glimpse into the lives of younger people that the mentors and students are blessed. Another way they are blessed is through self-reflection. The process of meeting with others and telling one’s story leads to self-reflection.
In addition to being blessed by the one-on-one student meetings, our mentors serve as a guest speaker in a class or give an afternoon tour of a market exchange or manufacturing facility. They serve on panels that judge student presentations and provide feedback, which is extremely valuable for the students. One of the premier events at the Crowell School of Business is the Biola Startup Competition. This competition is designed to unleash and develop the entrepreneur experience for Biola students. The mentors play a pivotal role as coaches and judges for this event.
I hear stories of mentors attending graduations, weddings, baby celebrations, and other significant life events. It is truly a blessing and a privilege to develop relationships, influence lives, and share life in this way. What a blessing to be a mentor! The mentors tell me that they have been blessed by the mentoring experience way beyond their expectations. They generally feel that they have been blessed way beyond the blessings that they impart to students. In reality, it is a huge blessing and a life-changing experience for both students and mentors.
The mentors thrive under these conditions. It connects them to something that is truly making a difference in the lives of the next generation of Christian business leaders.
Proverbs 27:17 As Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Proverbs 15:22 Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.
Philippians 2:3-5 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.