Mentoring in Action: Lawrence Watkins

Lawrence Watkins (MSA ’17)Lawrence Watkins head shot photo

Mentoring Program: Informal relationship during Master of Science in Accountancy Program

Mentor: Tim Janke, Associate Dean for Working Professionals MBA Program


How did you establish a mentoring relationship with Tim Janke?

Mr. Janke was more of an informal mentor. During the academic year I took his Private Equity and Business Law courses. After reviewing my exams during office hours, I asked if he would be willing to meet to discuss trends in the private equity industry. From that point forward we met a few times to discuss personal, academic, and professional goals.

How have you benefited personally from being in a mentoring relationship?

My professional and personal aspirations will change, so it helps to have some one provide insight along the way. I do not have family members who work in accounting, finance, or in the private equity industry, so it is nice to have someone who has experience to share their insight.

Can you give an example of a significant conversation that you have had with your mentor and share what you learned?

One conversation that comes to mind is our discussion about earning a MBA. (Mr. Janke is the Associate Dean for the Working Professional MBA program here at Wake Forest.) Without hesitation, Mr. Janke was able to state MBA program statistics, share information that will help me determine when to start, and how to get the most value out of the program.  Some of this is information that you can find on a website, but information that comes from personal experience is priceless. I am thankful and will never underestimate the value of having a mentor.

What impact has this mentoring relationship (or with other mentors) had on your Wake Forest student experience?

Having a mentor, especially a professor as a mentor, took a lot of pressure off of my shoulders. As a young professional – in my opinion – we like to act as if we have everything figured out. We like to act as if we know which industry or service line we want to focus in, which city we want to build a career in, etc. In reality we do not know, so it was, and still is refreshing to have someone who has experience to tell you that you are on the right track.

Why is mentoring important to you?

John C. Maxwell has a quote that I think speaks volumes: “One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.”

A mentor has the experience and the wisdom to help you navigate the course. This is not to state the journey will be any less challenging, rather than you have someone in your corner to count on when the going gets tough. I am thankful for the mentors I have had along the way.