Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Student-Athlete Alumni Mentoring Program: Networking Forged Professional Path

Student-Athlete Alumni Mentoring Program: Networking Forged Professional Path

Written By: Kate Reilly

Senior cross country and track & field runner Aadi Mhatre signed up for the Student-Athlete Mentoring Program at its inception in 2016 not knowing the tremendous impact it would have on his professional career and education in just his first year at Carnegie Mellon University. Three years later, the senior reflects on his mentor, Dr. Baris Polat's, lasting impression on his current career goals.

Mhatre and Dr. Polat, a former men's basketball student-athlete, immediately connected over their shared chemical engineering major. Dr. Polat gave Mhatre course recommendations and crucial scheduling suggestions that the senior says were influential in his early success as a student-athlete.

Dr. Polat is currently the Director of the Global OSD (Oral Solid Dosage) Operations Management Division at Mylan, a pharmaceutical company, in the greater Pittsburgh area. Dr. Polat's guidance steered Mhatre towards internships that allowed him to explore several different industries eventually landing on a similar career interest in pharmaceuticals.

Since their initial meeting during Mhatre's freshman year, they have connected once a semester. Dr. Polat has provided helpful insights for Mhatre's career from overall job acquisition and networking advice to resume tips.

"Baris introduced me to the concept of pharmaceutical manufacturing as a career path. Before that, I wasn't too sure what I wanted to do," said Mhatre. After the fall of his sophomore year, Mhatre worked as a Process Development Intern at Insmed Inc, a pharmaceutical startup in his hometown of Bridgewater, New Jersey. Throughout the experience Mhatre consulted Dr. Polat on navigating new professional interactions and making the most of the opportunity.

Enjoying his pharmaceutical industry experience, the following summer Mhatre decided to join Merk & Co., a multinational pharmaceutical company, as a Global Operations API Sourcing Intern. Mhatre gained a diverse skill-set within the industry both on the manufacturing process end and "big picture" business side of financial planning and project management.

Since the mentoring program's outset during Mhatre's first semester, the program has grown to support student-athletes with mentors from a wide range of industries. Mhatre recommends the program to freshmen and sophomores interested in developing a meaningful professional relationship. Mhatre says, "As a college student who is constantly developing and learning new things, I think it's important to always gain new perspectives, talk to as many people as possible and be cognizant of what is going on in the world. I think the mentoring program really fills this need for highly motivated college student-athletes as they are trying to figure out what they want to do post-graduation."

More information on the program and sign-up directions can be found at the Student-Athlete Alumni Mentoring Program page.