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My Mentor: A Connection for Life

By Samantha Cretens

April 28, 2022

A W crest is pictured surrounded by the spring blooms of an ornamental pear tree
portrait of Samantha Cretens
Samantha Cretens

The beginning of any new adventure can be a bit daunting. Coming into the Wisconsin MBA as a Strategic Human Resource Management MBA candidate is especially intimidating because we begin recruiting for summer internships on day one. Luckily, we were not alone. The Strategic HR Center matched each student with a mentor. This person would assist us throughout the year, and specifically, throughout the recruitment process. Mentors serve as a confidant, professional adviser, and friend.

My mentor this year was Mark Esselman, a 1980 graduate of the Industrial Relations master’s program at UW-Madison. Mark comes with many years of HR experience, as well as experience as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston. His mentorship began by preparing me for the internship recruiting process. I will admit, it had been a few years since I properly interviewed for a professional position, so Mark had a lot to work with. Our mock interviews and preparatory work helped set me up for success.

Mark shared the highs and lows of my semester. From the (many) rejections from employers, to the high of receiving my offer letter, Mark was with me through it all. Our mentorship did not stop after the offer letter. We’ve met multiple times to talk about anything relating to MBA life. Preparing for the future internship, what classes to take, and life were all topics of conversation. I’m so grateful for that the Strategic HR Center placed me with Mark; I know I’ve made a connection for life!