For college students, being a role model is not uncommon. Active mentorship is an even bigger shoe to fill. But leadership is a vital quality in business, and each semester students from Mays Business School voluntarily walk that path. Mays’ eight M.B. Zale Leadership Scholars participate in the “Teens in Retailing” program to give business direction through visits with A&M Consolidated High School students.

Zale Scholars mentored students in a co-op class this fall about academic and professional career planning in retail. Zale Scholars, who are hand selected for the prestigious program that provides specialized learning opportunities to top students in pursuit of retailing careers, know that finding a career is only half the battle—getting an education must come first. So they advise students on how to prepare academically, and then how to get the job. Presentations on dressing for success, applying for college and interviewing skills are a priority for Zale Scholars—showcasing Mays while encouraging early professional development for 60 high school students.

Many students find a keen interest in retail because they already work in the field. Zale Scholars tell the younger students how a part-time job selling shoes in a department store or operating a cash register can develop into a successful career.

The program is a professional development tool for the scholars, too. While learning to work together to form presentations, they learn to communicate as a group. While giving advice to a room full of students, they communicate as leaders.

“The program is important to Zale Scholars because it broadens our horizons and gives us great experience with public speaking,” said Ashley Harris ’07, Student Retailing Association president and Zale Scholar.

Being a mentor and role model is a tall order, but Zale Scholars are a perfect fit. “We can really tell that they value our advice and opinions,” Harris said. “It’s both fun and rewarding. I realize now how much I’ve learned and how much I have to share from my experiences at Texas A&M University.”