Mentoring Programme - FAQs | HSBA

Mentoring Programme FAQs

Jana Tolle

General Questions on the Mentoring Programme

As part of the mentoring programme, the HSBA master’s students are mentored during the 30 or 24-month study programme by an experienced business representative, who is a member of the Versammlung eines ehrbaren Kaufmanns zu Hamburg e.V. (the Honourable Society of Hamburg Merchants), the HSBA Alumni Association, the Real Estate & Leadership Foundation e.V. or the Verbad Deutscher Reeder (German Shipowner Association). The content of the mentoring is decided upon individually by the mentor/mentee tandem partners. Generally it involves discussing topics such as professional challenges, networking or combining work, studies and personal life. In the case of international students who have just moved to Hamburg, the range of topics may be considerably broader.

The mentoring programme is in place for HSBA students on all Master’s study programmes. 

The Versammlung eines Ehrbaren Kaufmanns zu Hamburg e.V. (the Honourable Society of Hamburg Merchants) has assumed patronage for the study courses MBA Corporate Management, Executive MBA and the MSc Global Management and Governance. The study programmes are characterised among other things by the fact that all modules deal with issues that include business ethics.

For the MSc Business Development and MSc Finance, the mentoring programme is offered by the HSBA Alumni Association. HSBA’s Alumni are experienced (young) executives from different industries and branches. The HSBA Alumni Association connects all of HSBA’s graduates and gives them the opportunity to keep in touch with former fellow students and to enhance and broaden their network, thereby including students from other years.

For the study course MSc Real Estate & Leadership, the Real Estate & Leadership Foundation e.V. is in charge of the mentoring programme.

For the study course MBA Shipping, the German Shipowners' Association has taken over the mentoring programme.

All programmes are organised as full- or part-time courses, i.e. the students generally are also involved in qualified professional work alongside their studies. Participation in the mentoring programme is optional for the students.

The content of the mentoring is decided upon individually by the mentor/mentee tandem partners. Generally it involves discussing topics such as specific professional challenges, networking or combining work, studies and personal life.

Career development matters as well as personality development may also be relevant. In the case of international students who have just moved to Hamburg, the range of topics may be considerably broader. In particular topics such as integration, access to local business networks and an understanding of the local business culture may be relevant.

Any member of the Versammlung eines Ehrbaren Kaufmanns zu Hamburg e.V. (the Honourable Society of Hamburg Merchants), the Real Estate & Leadership Foundation e.V., the HSBA Alumni Association or executives responsible for personnel and budget, who are members of the German Shipowners' Association can become a mentor.

The members of Versammlung eines ehrbaren Kaufmanns zu Hamburg e.V., the HSBA Alumni Association and of the German Shipowners' Association generally run a trading business domiciled in Hamburg or work in the top management level of such a company. Members of the affiliated “Wirtschaftsjunioren” and former “Wirtschaftsjunioren” of Hamburg Chamber of Commerce can also act as a mentor.

To ensure that a basis of trust can develop between the mentor and mentee, it is necessary for both parties to be satisfied with the match and for the chemistry to be right.

The matching process is a very personal process. Firstly, the persons involved are asked in personal discussions about their expectations of the student or, vice versa, of the mentor. The students must write an abstract to apply in advance to take part in the programme, in which they outline their motivation for taking part. A student is then proposed to the mentor.

After a face-to-face meeting between the potential tandem partners, both parties can tell HSBA whether the meeting was successful or whether the search for the right match needs to be continued.

Unless otherwise agreed by the tandem partners, the mentoring continues for the duration of the study programme, i.e. 30 or 24 months. Shorter periods can be agreed for specific persons or topics.

The relationship between the mentor and the mentee often continues for much longer than the actual mentoring programme. Should the mentee not live in Hamburg we recommend the use of Skype, Adobe Connect or similar to meet online.

In principle the tandem partners are free to decide on their own framework. However, we recommend setting fixed dates, e.g. a jour fixe at certain intervals. The partners can agree individually on how and how often to meet. Most of the tandem partners meet every 6 to 8 weeks. The tandem partners generally meet at the offices of the mentor or use HSBA’s facilities, which are made available for these meetings.

As part of the mentoring programme of the Versammlung eines Ehrbaren Kaufmanns zu Hamburg e.V. (the Honourable Society of Hamburg Merchants), the mentees are permanent guests at the events of the association. The events allow the mentees to expand their network or to get to know interesting guest speakers. The mentors/mentees get-together takes place at the beginning of the semester (beginning of April, end of October). All mentees and mentors as well as other representatives of the association are invited to this event where they can share their experiences and expand their network.

Workshops for mentors and mentees about the mentoring programme are held at regular intervals. Mentors can also hold supervision meetings on request. For the mentors, there are various ways of sharing experiences, such as regular mentor meetings or the informal mentor meet-up. For the mentees, the studium generale offers a large number of seminars and guest lectures.

In addition to the option of supervision meetings, you can contact the programme head at any time, who will assist you in resolving the issue. Conflicts can often be avoided by agreeing beforehand on mutual expectations and by giving each other structured feedback. If necessary the tandem partners can be split and the matching process starts again.

The programme head Katrin Schramm will be happy to hear from you.

Mentors and mentees are surveyed regularly on an anonymous basis in relation to the mentoring programme. The results of the evaluation are used by HSBA’s quality management. Continuous further development is thus ensured.

Mentor Questions

If you are a member of the Versammlung eines Ehrbaren Kaufmanns zu Hamburg (VEEK), HSBA Alumni Association, the Real Estate & Leadership Foundation e.V., the German Shipowner Association or of the “Wirtschaftsjunioren” or former “Wirtschaftsjunioren” and are interested in the mentoring programme, simply get in touch with the programme head. We can have a face-to-face meeting and discuss what type of mentee fits your profile and your personality.

You can expect highly motivated and talented master’s students, often with an international background. In addition to putting you in touch with the mentee and the framework programme surrounding the mentoring programme, HSBA as a young, dynamic business school offers mentors a large number of interesting specialist and networking events such as guest lectures, symposia and conferences.  In addition to the pleasure of helping the next generation on its way, you can thus expect a large number of new contacts, new knowledge and impetus.

In addition to attending the introductory workshop and taking part in some networking events, the work involved is mainly in relation to the time spent on actual meetings with the mentee. The frequency and duration can be agreed freely between the mentor and the mentee. Most tandem partners meet at regular intervals of every 6 to 8 weeks. The frequency and intensity of the meetings generally depends on the mentee’s topics – in some phases there will be no great need for meetings, while in other, for example during a crisis related to work or study, more support may be needed.

Mentors meet regularly for informal mentor meet-ups. All mentors and master’s students are invited to a get-together twice a year (beginning of April, end of October). The relaxed atmosphere at the get-togethers provides the opportunity to talk to other mentors, students and HSBA employees.

There is also an annual mentor meeting where the mentors can share experiences and develop the mentoring programme further. 

Before the mentors meet their mentees, they take part in training that prepares them for their task and clarifies any questions, also on the role of the mentor.

Depending on the nature of the question, you can either get the programme head involved or discuss the question within the mentor team. There are different formats for sharing experiences, from the informal mentor meet-up to a direct face-to-face discussion between mentors. A supervision meeting will also be helpful in individual cases.

Mentee/Student Questions

All students on the master’s study programmes MBA Shipping, Executive MBA, MSc Global Management and Governance, MBA Corporate Management, MSc Business Development and MSc Finance can take part in the mentoring programme. Students should take part in the preparatory workshop for mentees and outline in an abstract their understanding and their expectations of the mentoring and of a potential mentor.

The mentors have extensive experience in the different areas of (business) life and can share this valuable resource with their mentee. In addition to passing on experience, they can provide hints and advice, discuss problems openly in a protected forum and provide open and honest feedback to the mentees.

Mentors open up their network to the mentee and can be valuable advisors in relation to a vast range of issues, from a dispute with a work colleague to the question of how best to position yourself with your boss or what the best next career move is. For some mentees, the mentor can function as a role model, while for others he/she is the ideal sparring partner. It is not unusual for the relationship between the mentor and the mentee to develop into a long-term personal friendship.

In principle, there is nothing you cannot ask. However, at the beginning of the mentoring or when you first meet, you should discuss your expectations with the potential mentor in order to reach agreement in as far as possible.

Some mentors limit their offering to professional questions, but others also include personal topics. Questions concerning studies at HSBA or the modules should be directed to your contact person at the university, such as the programme manager or the course head.

In addition to the general requirements for a professional approach, such as reliability and commitment, the mentee is expected to take a genuine interest in and get involved in the mentoring. It is important to take initiative, communicate openly and directly and to be able to articulate your expectations of the mentor. 

The mentor and the mentee can agree individually whether to document the meetings and keep a written record of results or objectives. The university does not require documentation. Everything discussed between the mentor and the mentee is subject to confidentiality.

Many conflicts can be avoided from the outset by agreeing on mutual expectations, communicating openly and agreeing on feedback. If the tandem does not work out in spite of this, contact the programme head in order to discuss how to proceed. It is possible to split the tandem partners and look for a new match.