Much ado about mentors

Harv Bus Rev. 1979 Jan-Feb;57(1):14-20.


An international management firm conducted a study of executives that included questions regarding compensations, personal data, and current position. It was of special interest to determine the effect of mentor and protege relationships on business careers. Of the individuals surveyed, two-thirds reported a relationship with a senior person who took a special interest in their career, during the first five years of their professional development. In general, executives who had a mentor are better educated, earn more money at an earlier age, more apt to follow a career plan and report high job satisfaction. The majority of sponsors are older businessmen holding positions of authority and who feel that personnel development and management succession are key responsibilities. The following characteristics of a mentor are judged most important: willingness to share experiences, knowledge of the organization, organizational power and respect from peers. Mentor-protege relationships frequently develop into lengthy friendships which in turn encourage young executives to eventually sponsor their own proteges.

MeSH terms

  • Administrative Personnel / education*
  • Administrative Personnel / psychology
  • Commerce*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*