Robert Bridges

Photo by: Ziva Santop/ Steve Cohn Photography
Photo by: Ziva Santop/ Steve Cohn Photography

USC Marshall School of Business

Any instructor, especially one in business and finance education provides the basic knowledge required to develop a student’s technical capacity. There is a more important responsibility in teaching, however, and that is to provide context for a broader understanding of professional standards, protocols and how the knowledge is applied in practice. This is a process that integrates a wide set of topics, including and incorporating personal experience, industry practice and protocols and observation of economic and social trends that emerge and change over time. This latter process is how I view mentorship, and it invariably goes beyond the experience of the classroom, is often personal, and is applied according to a student’s needs and requirements.

The mentor’s ultimate goal is to encourage success and attainment of a student’s potential and ambition by nurturing the internalization of intellectual discipline, ethics and curiosity. This includes taking to heart the importance of living with ever enlarging dreams that challenge and expand a young person’s capacity for achievement. By taking an interest in students as individuals, a mentor has the capacity to develop lifelong patterns of thought, behavior and standards that allow him or her to live with an enlightened purpose. Mentorship promotes personal success, and its legacies are the cultivation of critical analysis and the constant, inquisitive quest for learning. Moreover, it serves as a precedent to encourage the protégé to later take up the responsibility and enjoyment of mentorship for generations to come.