As summer turns to fall, it’s a good time to reflect on the contributions our interns made over the past few months. We’re grateful for their hard work, and for the opportunity to share our experience with the next generation of marketers. It also got me thinking: What’s the best way to prepare young millennials for the real business world?
At BumbleBee, we hire 2-3 interns each summer. For most, it’s their first marketing job, and their knowledge is limited to the classroom. The nature of classroom learning is that it’s linear and predictable—first you do this, then you do that.
The business world isn’t like that, of course. We juggle a lot of projects at once, all at different stages and requiring many types of skills. There’s an element of unpredictability every day. Clients change their target markets, their message, their minds, and it’s our job to ensure the project is successful—no matter what. It can be a bit like rebuilding an airplane while in flight. Our interns soon discover there is nothing linear about business, and there’s no set curriculum.
If you’re like me, you’ve asked yourself about the best way to mentor millennials. After all, they comprise 40% of today’s workforce and are predicted to make up 75% by 2020*, so you certainly have millennials rising through the ranks of your organization.
Part of the challenge millennials face is discovering they don’t know they don’t know—and then setting about learning it. To do that, they need to make professional connections and relationships.
Millennials are accustomed to finding information instantly on the Internet and connecting through social media—but that’s not necessarily the best way to find trusted advisors. Face-to-face networking deepens relationships and leads to unexpected connections—connections that provide a varied and well-rounded view of the world, giving access to many people’s points-of-view.
Thanks to technology and a global workforce, today’s world is more collaborative than ever before. The old model of the mentee sitting at the feet of the mentor waiting for knowledge and wisdom is only half the story. While mentors still teach their young charges, the learning can—and should—flow both ways. Millennials are often tasked with teaching the mentor, especially when it comes to areas like technology and social media.
At BumbleBee, we’ve been broadening our mentoring efforts beyond our intern program, by working with local colleges and universities in the Bay Area. I’m currently working on a committee at my Alma Mater, Cal Poly, to expand their mentoring program.
So I’m curious—what kinds of programs have you seen success with?
Email me or share your experiences here, and if you’re interested in mentoring with us, give me a call.
Contact me here: firstname.lastname@example.org or 925.699.7921