Every year the College of Business organizes a Corporate Mentor Program to connect students and local professionals in the Greater Springfield business community. The goal is to foster professional development by pairing a professional mentor with a student mentee. Applications open March 19th for the 2018-2019 academic year.
One of this year’s mentees is Advertising and Promotions senior MacKenzie Turner. Before applying, MacKenzie aspired to work in an advertising agency. Since meeting her mentor and learning more about what the marketing field has to offer, MacKenzie has new goals for her future.
MacKenzie learned about the mentor program through Missouri State’s Corporate Relations Specialist, Vickie Hicks. Vickie thought MacKenzie would be a good candidate for the program so she reached out and encouraged her to apply. After submitting an application and completing an interview with three Missouri State professors, MacKenzie was selected and partnered with marketing coordinator, Lauren Cook, an MBA alum of Missouri State.
Lauren works at Butler, Rosenbury & Partners (BR&P), an architecture firm in downtown Springfield. She leads their marketing efforts and shares some of these experiences with MacKenzie through their monthly meet-ups. The two get together and attend events hosted through the Corporate Mentor Program or grab lunch to catch up.
In November, they attended a networking event in Glass Hall to learn about business etiquette and expand their network. After learning the do’s and don’ts of business dinners, the group had time to socialize. The only catch was attendees couldn’t talk to anyone they already knew.
“It was a very valuable experience because I had never been to an event like that,” MacKenzie said. While it may be uncomfortable at first to network with strangers, MacKenzie quickly saw how necessary it can be in a business setting. Lauren also felt its benefits, saying, “The events that Missouri State has put on for us have been really beneficial. I thought the networking seminar was excellent and I could apply that directly to my own job, too.”
In October, MacKenzie visited Lauren at BR&P to shadow her for the day. They started by taking an exclusive tour of the new Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium. BR&P helped to create the main building that connects Bass Pro and the Conference Center to the museum. MacKenzie got a behind the scenes look at what went into planning and designing the space. She said, “I thought that was so cool to get that opportunity because without this program I never would’ve been able to do that.”
After the tour, they headed to Lauren’s office where she showed MacKenzie around the firm, introduced her to coworkers and gave her a peek at some videos and projects in the making.
The two also had the chance to meet with Lauren’s boss, Tim Rosenbury. He gave MacKenzie tips on finding a job and interviewing. MacKenzie says he helped her take her resume and cover letter to the next level by encouraging her to include class projects and courses she’s taken to show how she’s turned classroom lessons into real-world experiences.
To wrap-up the day, Lauren took MacKenzie to one of their latest projects, the construction site of a hotel BR&P designed. MacKenzie got to see Lauren in action as she flew her drone to capture footage for a promotional video.
“We had a really packed day, but I hope she had fun and got to see that I do about 10 million different things during the day,” Lauren said.
The day of shadowing proved to be a success when Lauren and Tim’s tips helped MacKenzie during a recent interview for a summer marketing internship with Plaid Door/Junior League of Springfield. MacKenzie and her interviewer discussed class projects and their application. “The woman was fascinated and impressed. I ended up getting the job!” MacKenzie said.
After getting to know Lauren over the last year and experiencing a day in the life of a marketing coordinator, MacKenzie is interested into looking into similar marketing positions. “Learning about everything that Lauren does seems like a better fit for me. After seeing it first hand, I can actually see myself doing something like that,” MacKenzie said after her shadowing experience.
Lauren has also noticed MacKenzie’s aspirations adjust. “When we started out, MacKenzie was unsure of what she wanted to do. It’s been really fun to see how she’s grown and changed throughout the process. I don’t know where she’ll end up, but I’m happy I can assist her.”
Once MacKenzie establishes her career path, she would be interested in mentoring students too. “It’s a very good opportunity for people who don’t have a lot of experience in the business field. I highly recommend doing it because I’ve learned a lot. Even if you don’t meet the requirements, try finding a mentor on your own! I’m really glad I had this opportunity.”