CET Mentors Guide The Way for Students

Think about the last time you tried to navigate to a place you’d never been before. How did you do it? Chances are you had the help of a GPS. There may still have been a wrong turn here or there, but there was likely less stress, allowing you to reach your final destination safely and on time.  Imagine a GPS system that could do the same for your education and future career.

Marriott School students found just such a tool when they attended this month’s speed mentoring event.

As part of the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology’s eWeek, students had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with experienced entrepreneurs in fast-paced three- to six-minute sessions. They came prepared to pitch their best business plans and to receive support, feedback, and direction.

“A big success of the week is having the donors come and interact with students,” says Jeff Brown, Rollins Center managing director. “That interaction is what our donors want, and it’s what our students need.”

Deborah Weiss, a second-year MBA student from Vancouver, Washington, attended the event to present a plan to the mentors.

“I have an idea that I’ve been thinking about since this summer and some of the guys in the program were like, ‘Deb, you need to pitch it’,” Weiss explains.

Weiss found herself sitting across from Bob Despain, an experienced entrepreneur and one of the Rollins Center Founders, a prestigious group of donors. They got so deep into conversation that, soon, three rotations had passed without them moving seats.

“The thing that stuck out to me with Deborah was the fact that there’s a certain maturity about her and her idea,” Despain says. “She’s still trying to get her mind around where it’s going, but the root idea resonated with me. It was something that I would use.”

This is the seventh time Despain has participated in the mentoring program, and over the years he has met with many hopeful entrepreneurs.

“The most impressive thing that I see is the genuine thrill of an idea that students want to do something with,” he says. “There’s an excitement with each student when they come and present. It’s fun to see that excitement and enthusiasm.”

The Rollins Center also offers a mentoring program throughout the school year. For more information on participating, visit the program’s website.