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Business Students Mentor Middle Schoolers

Earlier this semester, Matthew Brown '13 was part of a team of management majors that welcomed 25 middle-schoolers from the Barnard Environmental Studies Magnet School in New Haven for a sneak peak at career opportunities in business.

Matthew Brown smiling

"Mentoring at this stage and providing an outlet for them to ask questions and inquire about their goals is very beneficial to helping them stay motivated," he said.

The initiative, organized by management professor Tony Carter, seeks to engage area middle school students in the long-term strategy of developing a competitive workforce. The program also provides a valuable experience for the UNH students.

"The goal for my students is to understand how to handle mentoring as a function of management," said Carter, director of UNH's Small Business Institute, who has been arranging such mentoring days with area middle schools for several years.

"For the local middle-school students, the objective is for them to learn about and begin to develop the competitive skills needed to become successful and learn how these skills will benefit them in the future."

The day included presentations and seminars by senior-level corporate executives and college professors designed to give the young students a clearer understanding of the important role management plays in today's competitive business world. The program focused on mentoring, advising and coaching the children on how to develop interpersonal, communication and management skills. The youngsters were also treated to lunch and a guided tour of the UNH campus.

three students outside of bayer hall

Brown, an Orange native, said the experience was invaluable because it allowed him to gauge his ability in a real-life forum by mentoring someone he had never met. He also learned how to adapt his mentoring style to different age groups.

"I learned that you have to be able to adjust your language and approach depending on different factors when mentoring," he said. "For example, with the student I mentored, I crafted questions that he would relate to and tried to create realistic scenarios for him to encourage him to capture his goals."

Written by John A. Lahtinen Communications and Public Affairs Writer/Editor. To see this story in UNH Today, please click here.