Jennifer Mohammed (MS ’08), a director, talent management and development in the Human Resources department at MasterCard, is mentoring a college student because she thinks it’s the right thing to do. But Mohammed also thinks it’s a smart business move to mentor students in the College of Business at Florida International University (FIU).
“Mentoring is a good way to connect with the people who are the future of the business world,” she says. “Many of the FIU students will stay in south Florida so it’s especially beneficial to connect with them, to see what the ‘up and comers’ are thinking.”
Mohammed, who’s enjoying mentoring FIU business student Katarina Perez, is one of 15 people at MasterCard’s offices in Miami participating in the mentoring program offered by Office of Advancement in the business college. This year, the program has paired 136 students with mentors, compared to last year’s 54, an increase of an impressive 151 percent.
Alumna Francis Hondal (MBA ’94, BBA ’87), now executive vice president, Global Consumer Credit and Loyalty Solutions at MasterCard Worldwide, was responsible for MasterCard becoming a partner in the business college’s mentoring effort. Currently MasterCard is the leader in providing mentors for the program.
Getting involved with students who need a connection.
“Many of our students are first in their families to attend college,” said Yanyn San Luis (BA ’10), assistant director of alumni relations in the Office of Advancement. “Our students are fortunate that professionals are stepping forward to provide a personal connection to the business world.”
San Luis added that mentors can mold and shape the lives of students who will soon be beginning their careers. “When a company participates in a big way, like MasterCard is doing, they are influencing the future,” she says.
Mohammed noted strong enthusiasm for the project among MasterCard mentors, in spite of logistical challenges. “Most of our people are traveling almost constantly and you would think mentoring would be impossible,” she says. “But with texting, emailing and meeting face-to-face when possible, effective mentoring can still be accomplished.”
Reflecting on the benefits of the experience, Mohammed said, “I wish I could have had a mentor when I was an undergraduate.”