Cal Poly Marketing Mentor Program Featured in Marketing Education Review

Cal Poly faculty members Stern Neill, Lisa Simon, Sharon Dobson, Brennan Davis, and Lynn Metcalf have teamed up on research that will appear in the next issue of Marketing Education Review.  The article, titled “The Impact of Peer Mentoring on Marketing Content and Mastery,” was based on research they conducted this fall regarding a newly established marketing mentor program in the Orfalea College of Business.

Neill had the initial idea to start a mentorship program at Cal Poly, which formally paired older marking students who had exemplified academic excellence with freshman who were interested in pursuing a concentration in marketing. Metcalf worked with Neil to develop the concept and bring it to fruition at Cal Poly. The mentors worked in collaboration with the faculty members Davis, Simon and Dobson to provide guidance and assistance to the younger marketing students and provided the opportunity for all involved to Learn by Doing.

Throughout the quarter, the professors assessed the course and the effect that the peer mentors had on mentee content mastery. Their research found that students who worked with mentors performed better on a standardized test, reinforcing that the mentors had a positive affect on their learning. Additionally, the study  found that the mentors who had key leadership skills had students who preformed better on the tests.  The research ultimately showed that, when working a collaborative learning environment, students learn best when mentors seek to involve and recognize their contributions.

The experience not only provided valuable insight about how students learn, but it  also provided the mentors with a chance to grow and learn as well. The mentors were immersed in a demanding and engaging learning environment that gave them the tools they will need to succeed in their future careers.

“They say the best way to learn something is to teach it,” said Jenna Hoffman, a business senior who participated as a mentor in the program. “So now I feel like my degree in business and marketing is completely legitimate and qualified as I transition into my career.”

During the quarter the marketing mentors worked along side the professors and gained insight as to what exactly goes into the lesson planning process. They also spent a lot of time working hands on with the students, providing them guidance and assistance wherever they could.

Hoffman’s experience as a mentor not only showed her how classes are run, but also helped to improve her interpersonal skills as she learned to work with different personalities.

“Different leaders have different ways of going about their tasks,” Hoffman said. “As a mentor—and eventually as an employee — it’s important for me to be able to adapt to these variances and contribute my personal best regardless.”

For the full article in Marketing Education Review, visit ____.