University of Colorado's Professional Mentorship Program Gives Leeds School of Business Students Competitive Edge

The Leeds School of Business Has Always Been a Leader in Entrepreneurial Studies; In Founding the Professional Mentorship Program Its Students Now Have an Even Greater Advantage

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Jul 29, 2014) - The University of Colorado (CU), Flagship University of the state of Colorado, is a leading research university in Boulder, CO, nestled at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. This also happens to be one of the nation's top entrepreneurial and tech-startup hotbeds. CU's Leeds School of Business has a start-up of its own, an extensive mentorship program for its business students that began in 2009. The Professional Mentorship Program (PMP) started out with just 75 students and 55 professional mentors. It has grown to include 600 students and over 650 professional mentors. It has been instrumental in the career development of thousands of students and is being replicated by universities across the nation. It gives students a clear advantage as they apply for jobs, begin careers, or as they startup companies of their own.

The PMP has met with overwhelming success; over 97% of both mentors and students state that they would recommend participating in the PMP. It is effective in giving students valuable skills, insights, and a competitive advantage in entering the workforce. According to Katie Lewis, a Leeds student and entrepreneur, "Being a part of the Leeds Mentorship Program has given me access to the resources I need as a young businesswoman. Connecting with my mentor Ryan McMunn and heeding his real world advice is what inspired me to create Blue Vitriol Studios. It's more than having enough gumption to dream, having a mentor makes 'Congratulations, you are now the owner of '___(place your dream here)____' a reality." This is why the PMP has over 80% of students believing that it made a positive impact; it gives students a sense of preparedness and confidence during the leap from college to career.

Kristen Freaney, program manager of the PMP, says, "We hear so much about the need for today's college graduates to have refined soft skills when they enter the workforce and the PMP is helping our students do just that." Students are learning how to communicate effectively, how to behave in a professional setting, and how to identify a corporate culture that fits with their skills and values. The program bolsters students' professional development, and complements their classroom experiences in ways that give them a competitive advantage in the job search process and as they launch their careers.

The PMP has experienced explosive growth since its inception in 2009. Today, over 40% of Leeds' junior and senior classes are participating in the PMP, which is testament to how successful the program truly is. The PMP has mentors in 28 states, 7 countries, and representing over 400 companies. Furthermore, the programs are pioneers in the field of mentoring and are shaping the way that college-based mentoring initiatives will look in the future. "We've been contacted by several institutions, including Yale, MIT, ASU, UNM and others, to share best practices and advice on how they can implement similar programming. We are so proud of how far we've come in the last five years and we're looking forward to continued growth and success well into the future," says Freaney. The PMP's growth will continue with students like Teri Detmar actively encouraging others to join: "It is really something special that Leeds offers and I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to take part in it. I can't even begin to tell you about all the amazing connections I have and opportunities I have had by knowing my amazing mentor. Everyone in Leeds should jump at the opportunity to be a part of it."

Business professionals are eager to get involved in the mentorship program as well. The PMP is a catalyst for personal and career development for students. For mentors it is a meaningful way to connect with the next generation, meet young talents, and give back to the community. CU Boulder alumnus Ryan McMunn, Founder and CEO of BRIC Language Systems and mentor to Katie Lewis, is one of them. McMunn revels in the opportunity to give back to the university that has meant so much to him. In Mr. McMunn's own words, "The PMP provides for real world learning, the stuff you can't get from textbooks. It also provides the networking opportunities that are essential in starting a career. I wish this program existed when I was at CU; it would have helped so much. Being a part of it now, as a mentor, is a great experience."

The PMP is poised for continued growth over the coming years as more students like Katie Lewis and Teri Detmar succeed in not only finding jobs, but starting careers and businesses. It is the mutual enjoyment and benefits of the program that will allow for its continued growth, according to McMunn. "The Leeds School of Business does a great job of pairing mentors with students. Katie is a bright young entrepreneur with great ideas and I look forward to helping her pursue them. I'm looking forward to watching Blue Vitriol grow."

About The Leeds School of Business:
Located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, the University of Colorado Boulder, Leeds School of Business is an integral part of one of the nation's top entrepreneurial corridors. An accessible and respectful community of top-tier faculty, talented staff and proud alumni, as well as engaged corporate partners and industry experts, serve as catalysts for student innovation and leadership. Experiential learning opportunities and personalized career development programs are pathways to student success.

About BRIC Language Systems:
BRIC Language Systems is a cutting edge language training & consulting company focused on Mandarin Chinese, Brazilian Portuguese, and Spanish. BRIC has been cited hundreds of times in media outlets, including Fox Business, CCTV America, NY Post, Huffington Post, US News & World Report, Everyday Health, and Investor's Business Daily.