The Mentorship of John Cooper (A)
(8 pages of text)
John Cooper had spent the last five years working for Standard Holdings, an early-stage business development and private equity arm of the Standard Group of Companies (Standard). The job was one he took immediately after graduating from business school, and he took the position of business analyst to capitalize on the chance to work with Alan Kirkpatrick, an accomplished and well-respected entrepreneur and founder of Standard. During his years at Standard, Cooper had benefitted greatly from Kirkpatrick’s rich mentorship and devotion to the optimal development of professional relationships. Cooper acquired the confidence to fully exploit his potential and subsequently was invited to participate in many unique experiences and developed relationships with all of Standard’s key stakeholders. Cooper could not help but feel he was being groomed for a senior leadership position much earlier than expected. After receiving an interesting phone call from a recruiter, Cooper wondered how to achieve his goal of career fulfillment and began by investigating other opportunities available to him within Standard and, alternatively, incorporating his own independent consultancy.
The objective of this set of two cases is to teach students about the topic of mentorship and its value in the context of making important career decisions. What may seem to be a straightforward decision for John Cooper, whether to incorporate his own consulting company, is actually complicated by the rich and valuable mentoring relationship between him and Alan Kirkpatrick. In discussing the case, students should carefully examine the decision being weighed, as well as evaluate the history of professional development undergone by John Cooper with Alan Kirkpatrick as his dynamic mentor. The objectives of the cases are to:
- Take a long-term perspective on making major career decisions.
- Identify the risks of the decision and mitigate them through effective communication.
- Build a plan to make and follow through on the decision.
- Identify the characteristics of good mentees and mentors.
- Identify and discuss the tangible and intangible elements of effective mentorship programs.
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