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As an international student, I always look forward to connecting with professionals and finding mentorship. How should I approach the professionals in asking them to be my mentor.

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Shante’s Answer

This is a great question Pin. I am a mentor and have been for several years, and it is refreshing to see someone as young as yourself inquire about a mentor. If you are working or doing an internship while in another country, you can look if your job has a mentorship program. Where I work we have it, so I am also a mentee as well. If you are not working, you should reach out to a professor that has the most impact in your life, and start those types of conversations. Ask if you can schedule a meeting for coffee and come up with conversational topics before the coffee that way you know how you want the conversation to go. If you like the answers the professor has, ask if you both can continually meet on a weekly or biweekly basis depending on both of your schedules. Good luck!

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Enrique’s Answer

In addition to Shante's great answer, I would suggest finding publications online about topics that interest you and reach out to the authors. In today's virtual world, you should be able to contact people from all around the world.
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Adam’s Answer

In finding a good mentor here are some following tips to think about when searching and reaching out potential mentor candidates.
1) Know your goal.
Think about your higher aspiration that you want to achieve and visualize where you want to be or would like to be. Get very specific in what your goal is (i.e. better speaker, better writer, networking better, running a business, etc.). That way when selling or pitching your inquiry for the message is more clear to a potential mentor and they are more likely to invest their time and expertise into you.

2) Making it a two-way street
Think about special gifts, talents, skillsets, achievements, and knowledge you bring to the table so professionals you are seeking become interested in what you have to offer in return for their time. Many higher up management representatives (executives, VPs, COO, CEO's, etc.) are very insulated in their roles so having a specialty gives them a glimpse into lower sectors of an organization to provide mentorship.

3) Assessing an ideal mentor
Make a short list of mentors you'd like to reach to and assess their personable skills during your own "interview" assessment. Pursue someone who is a good listener and explains things in detail. A good mentor is a good story teller and doesn't mind being vulnerable and talking about their own mistakes on their journey that have led to their success. Also make sure they are someone whom you are comfortable with and has the time to invest their knowledge. In my experience, those who are closer to retirement tend to offer more "pass down" knowledge they've acquired and are candidate of mentorship.

4) You have to take the lead
You are responsible for making sure the connection sticks and you're getting what you want out of the relationship once you've found a mentor. This means setting up meeting cadences, figuring out an agenda, running logistics, and being clear about what you're looking for or want out the conversation or goal you're after.
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