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 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. 

For the MSc Business Development 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.

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.