Rutgers Business School's successful Team Up program is recreated for graduate students.

MBA students get a mentoring program of their own

More than five years after the start of Team Up, a mentoring program that connects undergraduate students with working professionals, Rutgers Business School creates a version for MBA students.

When Rutgers Full-Time MBA student Stephanie Gelband was selecting a professional to be her mentor in the TeamUp MBA program, it was the company after Michele Frey’s name that caught her eye.

“I was familiar with Prudential because I did a case competition the company sponsored,” Gelband said.

The women also shared an interest in marketing. Frey, who has worked at Prudential for 15 years, is vice president of marketing, and Gelband is hoping to put her analytical skills and marketing knowledge to work for a consulting firm.

During the semester, Frey helped Gelband polish her interview skills, served as a sounding board and source of advice. Frey also cheered Gelband on as she pursued a variety of opportunities.

“I feel very comfortable talking with her about different career opportunities,” Gelband said.

The two have met over lunch, but mostly they speak by phone. And they text. “Once I get to the second step (of an interview), I like to consult with Michele,” Gelband said. “She’s been a big help to me.”

Frey started forging a connection with Rutgers Business School a few years ago when she came to speak to a group of students. She has worked with interns at Prudential and mentored undergraduate students at Rutgers before TeamUp MBA was launched in the fall.

The women have a mutual respect for one another. While Gelband appreciates Frey’s experience and the insights she’s been able to share. Frey admires Gelband’s determination and focus. “She knows what she wants to do,” Frey said.

Rutgers Full-time MBA student Stephanie Gelband with her mentor Michele Frey, vice president of marketing at Prudential.
The MBA Team Up program allowed Rutgers Full-time MBA student Stephanie Gelband to be mentored by Michele Frey, vice president of marketing at Prudential.

Frey said the relationship benefits her, too. “I can listen to their challenges and offer a vantage point that helps them, but it also enriches me,” she said. “It helps me step out of what I do every day. It expands how I look at things and, I think, that makes me more valuable.”

Rutgers Business School alumni who are interested in mentoring current undergraduates or MBA students can learn more about the TeamUp program and the necessary qualifications to participate.

Sangeeta Rao, an assistant dean who oversees Rutgers Business School’s mentoring efforts, said the success of the nearly six-year-old Team Up undergraduate program inspired the creation of the new program for MBA students.

“I know how well the concept of a mentor pool works, the effectiveness of our structure and matching process, and the consistent successful outcomes for students, and knew that many of the components could be replicated at the MBA level,” Rao said.

-Susan Todd

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