One good mentor can change the course of a student’s life. The long-loved Associate Board founded by Bobby B. Lyle has matched Cox MBA students in meaningful, one-on-one mentoring relationships with Dallas-Fort Worth-area executives since 1970. A new Cox Mentorship Academy, launched early this year, will build on this vision, thanks to Zoom, with an expanded reach beyond Dallas-Fort Worth.

The Academy continues to match students with volunteer mentors, focusing on teaching students the skills they need to build their own mentor network after graduation. The time, dedication and caring these mentors give qualify them all as true Allies for Cox.

While we know our MBA students benefit from these relationships, we asked five current mentors to tell us what they’ve learned from mentoring Cox MBAs.

Contessa ‘Tessa’ Hoskin, EMBA ’09

Vice president of Global M&A Business Integration at WEX Inc.
Cox mentor for: 10+ years

“I learn from mentoring Cox students as much as they may learn from me, if not more. I listen to and learn from them to understand their vision, goals and where they feel they are — whether they are at a decision point in their career or working to conquer a challenge or hurdle. Cox students are the best and brightest people (I’m not biased, right?) — ambitious and eager to represent themselves, conquer the world and live up to the Mustang code of excellence. They all share the common thread of being at a crossroads, trying to decide what’s next in their careers. I help them realize the answers they have to the questions they are weighing. I like watching these students come to realize they need less validation and more of an understanding of their own value.”

Carlos A. Martinez

General partner of Clement Capital Partners LP, president of Clement Business Advisors Inc., adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at SMU Cox
Cox mentor for: 3 years

“In my experience mentoring Cox students, I have learned the importance of looking deeper to really understand who each student is as a person — the challenges they have faced, their backgrounds, their gifts and the limitations that make them unique. This has allowed me to build a closer relationship with my students to help them navigate environments and find contexts that they can explore to pursue their goals and make a difference in the world.”

Jenn McMillen, MBA ’04

Founder and chief accelerant of Incendio
Cox mentor for: 10 years

“I didn’t have mentors at some critical junctures in my life, so I want to be that person for whoever needs it if I can. I love mentoring because it opens up my worldview. While the problems we face in our careers are age-old, the nuances of the business climate today are different from when I was in my 20s and 30s. So, I get a front-row seat to the challenges that younger professionals are facing, and that makes me a better leader for the younger people on my team. I was raised to be a person of service, so this fulfills an intrinsic need for me. Plus, I love the give-back angle of being connected to my alma mater.”

Bill Oberthier, BBA & MBA

Managing director of sustainable agriculture projects using high-tech hydroponics in the Caribbean
Cox mentor for: 11 years

“As I have had the privilege of mentoring MBA students in various Cox School degree programs, I have been inspired by their maturity, social awareness and planning. They are sensitive to diversity, social needs and social justice, environmental issues and balancing their lives. Most of all, I appreciate the preparation and qualifications of our next generation of leaders for business, government, politics, nonprofits — whatever their chosen field. Our country and world will be in the hands of capable and qualified leaders! It’s an honor to have been able to touch their lives and have them touch mine.”

Regan Smith, MBA ’91, MLS ’20

Cox mentor for: 21 years

“The Cox students I’ve had the privilege to mentor are forward-thinking beyond their MBAs, seeking to further invest in themselves in the critical lifelong activity of developing personal and professional relationships. I’m inspired by their self-awareness, their ambitions and dreams and their vision of a future self to confidently employ their unique talent in our society as business leaders. It’s gratifying to participate with them for a few steps along their exciting journey as they work to make their place in the business world and an impact in our community.”

Become a Mentor

If you’re interested in mentoring Cox MBAs, the Cox Mentorship Academy is currently seeking SMU and Cox alumni with 10+ years of professional experience to dedicate three hours a semester to mentorship. While MBA-level experience is preferred, mentors are not required to hold an MBA degree for consideration. No previous mentoring experience is required.

For additional information and to fill out an interest form, visit