Mentoring: The secret to career advancement in any field

By Shauna C. Bryce and Jared Redick


Everyone—no matter how junior or senior—can benefit from a mentor, no matter how junior or senior.

Leaders in every industry report that mentors were instrumental in their success. Bill Gates’ mentor is Warren Buffett, whose own mentor was Ben Graham, author of the landmark book, “The Intelligent Investor.” U.S. Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg is well known for mentoring—a commitment that stems in part from the lack of available mentors, particularly female mentors, during much of her legal career. Indeed, she relied on her spouse for much of her support during her groundbreaking career.

As you can see from those two examples, mentoring can take more than one form. In both cases, however, the goal of the mentee is the same: to find a battle-tested mentor to help push and pull you up the ladder of success.

A good mentor gives you support and helps open doors. A great mentor helps you achieve heights you may never have imagined were possible.

This article is an adaption of one of six topics from “Eye on the C-Suite: A Crash Course for Your Future.” We were asked to give the presentation in June 2015 to the Harvard Club of Washington, DC, which serves more than 20,000 Harvard alumni from all divisions, including Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School.

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