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Graduates giving back – a mentoring program for MBA students

Ann Darwin (Business School, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)

International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education

ISSN: 2046-6854

Article publication date: 7 September 2015




The purpose of this paper is to discuss the challenges and obstacles encountered in the implementation of a mentoring program for Master of Business Administration (MBA) students at the University of South Australia (UniSA) Business School. The paper starts with an exploration into the need for a mentoring program, the trial and subsequent four years of implementation. The paper also explores the network model of mentoring and the reasons why this, rather than a more traditional model, was chosen for the program’s implementation.


This exploratory case study uses data from over 600 students and their alumni mentors over a five-year period to evaluate and improve the program as well as cultivating a critical community of adult learners.


Feedback from students indicates that the mentoring program is regarded by most as a value-added feature of their early learning as it offers support, if and when it is required, from those who have been there before.

Research limitations/implications

Results are limited to one institution. However, as research into mentoring for higher education students is thin on the ground, this study contributes to our understanding of the positive impacts of mentoring on student success.

Practical implications

This paper emphasizes the importance of business leaders giving back to their alma mater through mentoring current MBA students. It shows how mentoring can support learning and management development.


This is an original study which explores ways to increase the learning of higher education students for positive social outcomes.



Darwin, A. (2015), "Graduates giving back – a mentoring program for MBA students", International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching in Education, Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 200-212.



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