Conversation Starters and Networking Practice | NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Conversation Starters and Networking Practice


Student mentees should come to face-to-face meeting with one or two specific topics he or she would like to discuss with their alumni mentor.  Students should let mentors know what topic(s) they are hoping to discuss at the meeting so the mentor has time to prepare.  Otherwise, it may be beneficial to decide together at the beginning of the meeting which topic(s) to discuss.  Discussion topics can include:

Initial Meeting Topics

  • Mentor’s typical day, workload, and responsibilities, personal history and interests
  • Students typical day, course load, personal background
  • Mentor’s advice on going into the field of work
  • Mentor’s career path advice for students in today’s job market 
  • Techniques for maintaining relationships around special interests, and mentor’s favorite places to socialize outside of work 

Second Meeting

  • Mentor’s experiences in his or her field, including their opinions about the field, commonly faced ethical issues, and future of the field
  • Critique of the student’s current resume
  • Interviewing tips and strategies
  • Strategies and opportunities for networking in the mentor’s field, including professional associations, boards and institutes to join

Third Meeting

  • Guidance about paid and volunteer opportunities in the field
  • Specific courses or training programs that may benefit the student 
  • Balancing a work budget, dealing with day-to-day operations of an office
  • Mock job interviews/tips for verbalizing your experience and strengths

Advanced Topics for additional meetings

  • Negotiating salaries, navigating benefits and workplace expectations
  • LinkedIn participation and activities overview (Mentors could review the student’s online profile and provide guidance on helpful industry groups or discussion boards)
  • Long term career planning
  • Work-life balance
  • Personal values