From mentee to mentor—Bryan Tarlowski gives back

Alumnus Bryan Tarlowski moved to Aotearoa New Zealand from the United States at the end of 2018. He chose to do the Executive Master of Business Administration at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington because he was drawn to the waterfront campus and New Zealand’s large export industry.

two people looking at camera one with short brown hair, one with long curly hair against alumni as mentors banner
Bryan graduated from Business School at the University of South Florida in 2011 with a Bachelor of Marketing, then spent ten years working in international marketing in first the games industry in the United States, then the health science industry in the United Kingdom.

“I knew I wanted to get my Master’s, and I was waiting for a good time. When I left the health science industry, it had slowed down—I had no idea that wasn’t going to last! I wanted to dedicate a full year to my MBA, and having moved to a new country, I also wanted to spend time working out the international marketing industry here in Aotearoa,” says Bryan.

As well as having met a New Zealander while travelling, who invited him back to Aotearoa, another drawcard for study here was New Zealand’s reputation as a free trade and global business-focused industry space.

Bryan was mentored during his MBA by alumna Caitlin Attenburrow, who at the time was Brand Manager for Whittaker’s Chocolate in Porirua. “I needed that guide to help find work here, and she really helped me establish connections. She helped me with my resumé and connected me with her large network.

“I particularly liked how bold she was in her recommendations—she was all about taking the shot."

Bryan is now the International Business Development Manager for Goodnature, Wellington’s 2022 Exporter of The Year, a humane animal trap company founded by University alumni Robbie van Dam and Craig Bond. This year, Bryan chose to rejoin the Alumni as Mentors programme as a mentor.

“I really like the programme they have set up—we used an online portal, which helped guide us as mentor and mentee. It gave me good resources on frameworks for mentorship and how to best set goals for your relationship with your mentee,” says Bryan.

He found that everything you learn in the programme is applicable to every aspect of your life—with your family and within your own workplace, as well as with your mentee.

His mentee, Jessica-Anne Hewitt (pictured with him above), is studying a conjoint Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

Bryan says, “The resources have given me the key to help her establish smart goals. I am continually working on my leadership skillset and my management skillset.

“It’s also given me connections with other mentors, which has been valuable in helping me grow.”

He says that to participate as a mentee in the programme, you don’t need to have any particular goal in mind—part of the mentor’s role is to help you set career goals, and work out where you want to land after university.

“My time both as mentee and mentor has been immensely valuable. I think if you are in your final year of study, you should seriously consider joining this programme. It is a daunting time and you are graduating into an uncertain economic space. This experience helps you in that transition from study to work.”

Bryan also recommends mentorship for the fact you get to see people succeed. “It’s extremely gratifying.”

Find out more about the alumni as mentors programme.