students gathered around a table

Mentoring in The Richmond MBA

March 23, 2021
A mentoring duo is setting the standard for networking during a pandemic.

The Richmond MBA has an extensive mentoring network for students to ensure the perfect match for a lifelong partnership. One example of a rockstar mentor is Rob Hafker, former EVP at eBay and managing director at IBM, who’s been part of The Richmond MBA Mentorship Program for five years. 

“All successful people in business or in any profession have benefited from teachers, managers, and mentors who helped them succeed,” Hafker said. “Being a mentor is a great way to pay it forward and give back to the next generation of leaders. Help them benefit from the experience and wisdom acquired by those who have lived through what young professionals will encounter as they begin their careers and become future leaders.”

Debbie Fisher, associate director of The Richmond MBA, runs the mentorship program, and matched Hafker with Leighton Mair, JDGB’22. 

“My mentoring experience with Rob has been exceptional. We end up meeting around once every three weeks or so to discuss his experience, some of the lessons that he has learned, and what I could take away from that,” Mair said. “He has also been extremely helpful in trying to give me some direction for where I want to take my career.” 

Mair is in the JD/MBA program at University of Richmond, and said Hafker has been crucial in helping him establish his professional network in Richmond. “I am extremely grateful that Rob proactively tries to connect me with people that he believes could be valuable to talk to. Through this, I have networked with partners at major consulting firms and gained greater insight into what they are looking for and what I could do to advance my career.”

Mair said Hafker has no shortage of topics for him, and other students to consider on their professional journey:

  • The different job titles and responsibilities within consulting organizations and how a consulting career progresses through those job roles.
  • What skills need to be demonstrated in each job role and what the criteria is for promotion at each level.
  • How to leverage work experience in consulting into other opportunities in industry.
  • Having a vision and a plan for your career but keeping oneself open and flexible to the many changes that will impact any plans made today.
  • The recruiting process at different types of business organizations.
  • Networking to identify, engage and leverage people in your personal network and the network of your mentors. 
  • Business ethics and how one's ethics might be challenged during ones career and how to respond to those challenges.
  • The importance of and challenges of work/life balance as one pursues their career aspirations.

“In the future, I believe that he will be extremely valuable in terms of helping me determine how I pursue my career goals,” Mair said.

For more information on The Richmond MBA Mentorship Program, contact Debbie Fisher. Want more details about The Richmond MBA? Click here.