Many young professionals are eager to build strong relationships with partners, senior managers, and mentors on an individual basis. They seek to learn their paths to success and to be known themselves on a personal level. However, they may feel unsure of what is both appropriate and engaging. The best route is through questions that show a personal interest—but in a professional manner. Here are some questions that fill the bill when conveyed with sincere interest. They are flattering to the partner or mentor on a professional level.
What do you wish someone had told or taught you from your first day at the firm (or on the job)?
What were the most important things you learned from your mentors?
Who was the best accountant or professional you ever worked with, and in your opinion, what made that person so great?
What is the most enjoyable part of your work?
What are your interests outside of work?
What would you most like to achieve this year?
What contributions to the firm would you most like to be remembered for?
If you could start over, what would you have done differently?
What's your best advice about serving and pleasing clients?
How would you characterize your approach to marketing?
And don't forget to ask how you can help the individual by asking:
What do you think you would like to learn from me or someone of my generation?
In what ways (other than my billable work) can I be most helpful to you?