Business degrees and MBAs are often seen as validation for business success — and rightfully so. Business schools provide important knowledge and background to help future entrepreneurs navigate the challenging landscape. However, many successful business people will point to a different influence when asked about their path. Often, prosperous business people learned as protégés to a mentor. Ramy Eidi, President and CEO of Eidi Properties points to his relationship with his mentor as a key factor in his success and recommends other entrepreneurs give it a try.

According to Business Mentors, mentoring is most often defined as a professional relationship in which an experienced person (the mentor) supports and encourages people to develop specific skills and knowledge that will maximize their business potential and improve their performance. In short, it is the transfer of knowledge, skills and experience.

Ramy had mentors early on and because of that, he says he learned valuable lessons from his mentor, like the importance of “keeping a level head”, “shopping the marketing” and “doing your homework”.  His mentor helped him avoid emotional landmines with advice like, “Don’t just fall in love with the first space.” and, “You cannot get attached to brick and mortar. And you shouldn’t.”

What Do Mentors Bring To The Table?

Experience. A mentor is someone who has been there, done that. Because of this, they can help their protégés learn about the business in a real way, with real expertise and wisdom. The knowledge they provide isn’t hypothetical or too broad. It relates to their own experience and if you choose your mentor well, it is the wisdom needed to help you down your path.

Relevance. Where a business school might teach the broad strokes of how to run a business, a mentorship is relevant to the specific type of business and industry you want to enter. This helps you understand the inside details that a business school simply cannot provide.

Relationship. Even though students often lean on their professors for knowledge, the relationship forged between a mentor and a protégé is one of mutual investment. The mentor sincerely wants the protégé to succeed. Because of this, the mentor helps put a protégé in successful circumstances because they develop a bond.

It is important to know, however, this is a two way street. The protégé is expected to work hard and earn the attention of the mentor. Through this hard work and the development of a relationship, the protégé develops more than mere knowledge and wisdom, they cultivate confidence. That confidence is critical in dealing with business, because business is turbulent and stressful. A mentor can prepare you for these stressful and turbulent situations.

A mentor is a great way for aspiring young business people to find their way, as they help bring out your potential as well as instill you with confidence — things you don’t find in business school. It requires the guidance of someone closer to the industry and closer to you. This is why Ramy’s words and success are so relevant.