Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

I confess. I did not come up the title of this article myself, but I decided to use it as it fully covers the philosophy of our mentoring program! After the successful start of the Mentoring Program for the Full-Time MBA students in October 2016, we also launched it in January for the 2017 Executive MBA students.

The title comes from a book, written by Adam Grant, who examined why some people rise to the top of the success ladder while others sink to the bottom. You would think of drivers like passion, hard work, talent, and luck, but it appears that success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others.  Givers dominate the top of the success ladder, but a few givers are also at the bottom. Givers look for the potential in people and strive to be generous in sharing time, energy, knowledge, skills, ideas and connections with other people. However, to end at the top of the success ladder instead of the bottom, it is extremely important for givers to set boundaries. Instead of being available for every person and every request all the time and instead of dropping everything that they are doing to help others, givers need to determine how they can help most of the people most of the time. One of the concepts in the book is the five-minute favor. Instead of just helping everyone all the time, offering something of unique value to other people that will take five minutes or less. It’s basically about finding high benefit to others, at low cost to the self!

This is also what mentoring is all about. During the mentoring kick-off event, mentor Filip Himbeek, Division Manager at ERIKS NV BELGIUM, and mentee Ivar Andres Duran, Business Development Analyst at CommScope shared their experience. To them, mentoring was very energizing, it expanded their network and both mentor and mentee had an interesting learning experience. Nic Steyaert, Managing Director at West Lease said he was very happy to join the program and to free up some time. Nic not only shared useful experiences with his mentee, he also received useful examples from his mentee, which was beyond Nic’s expectations.

The FT MBA end EMBA mentees and their mentors are warmly invited for a follow-up event themed “No Fear for Failure” on April 20th. Make sure you register for this event!

Vlerick Alumni wants to be a community of givers. If you are interested in learning more about giving, we highly recommend the book or TED-talk by Adam Grant. You can also put these principles to practice by joining next year’s mentoring program. Engage in our community and send an e-mail to [email protected]. We will gladly add you to the mentor pool!

Isabelle Decroos
Group Financial Controller at ArgenX and member of the Vlerick MBA Alumni board


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