Some academic theories might be best understood by the people who put those theories into practice.
Practitioners who teach have their failures as well as their successes on display for students. They also serve as a sounding board for students seeking practical career advice.
Business schools have come to value the practitioner’s perspective, and they are increasingly making room for those viewpoints on their staffs. Bloomberg Businessweek identified 25 top executives who teach/guest lecture, including Neil Braun, Dean of the Lubin School of Business.
Neil Braun: Viacom Entertainment
Who: Chief executive officer, Viacom Entertainment (VIA), 1988-94; president, NBC Television Network, 1994-98
Where: Pace University’s Lubin School of Business
What: Dean, guest lecturer
Braun joined a growing list of former executives tapped to run business schools when he was named dean of Pace University’s Lubin School of Business in June 2010. Braun also flits in and out of the classroom as a guest lecturer. He says he has his most rapt audience any time the discussion topic is M&A negotiations. During his time at Viacom, the company bought Blockbuster and Paramount Pictures. “Students hang on every word when you can tell them what was really going on,” he says of those deals in Bloomberg Businessweek.
Professor Bruce Bachenheimer, director of entrepreneurship at Pace University, offers the following guidance on managing the mentor relationship:
“Do some research before seeking a mentor — to help find an appropriate candidate and to be able to ask that person to serve as a mentor in a meaningful way.
“Once you have a mentor, be sure to demonstrate that you value the relationship and are taking affirmative action (i.e. not just saying “thanks” regularly, but really letting the mentor know the efforts are worthwhile).
“Always try to find ways to reciprocate — to demonstrate your gratitude and commitment. Little things that may be of assistance to the mentor can go a long way.”
If you are lucky, you have the good fortune to have people step forward to become mentors and sponsors. If you are strategic, however, you won’t leave that to chance but will seek out the right mentors and sponsors and will earn their support.
Learn more about how “Mentors offer unique career support” in this article appearing in New Jersey’s largest newspaper and quoting Professor Bachenheimer, the inspiration behind Pace’s budding entrepreneurs.