"Ever since the programme started in 2000, we have had excellent mentors, but previously we have had to put in more active efforts to secure enough candidates. This year it is the first time that we have recruited for both mentor programmes simultaneously, and we have received a flood of applications. Several previous mentors have been so pleased with the programme that they have applied again this year. In fact, the interest has been so great that we had to reject more than half of the applications,” says Adriana Jansen from BI Norwegian School of Management’s Career Service. She points out, however, that many of these will have a second chance later.
”We do not just turn down good mentor candidates. There are many reasons why some have been preferred to others. The decisive factor is how well a candidate matches the requirements of a student,” Jansen explains.
The mentors are quite uniform in their response as to why they choose to spend their time on current BI students. Professional development, updated information, contact with another generation, new networks and the chance to help increase awareness and a sense of accountability are some of the reasons. Some mentors find it particularly rewarding to take part in the international mentor programme for master students – it gives them a chance to be part of an international environment with both Norwegian and international students from a wide range of countries.
The programme emphasise on the combination between theory and practice. In addition to the focus on the personal development of the student, the programme consists of plenary sessions as well as network groups.
The most important factor, however, is good student/mentor chemistry. We invest a lot of time in finding just the right match for the student in terms of education, plans and areas of interest. ”We often find that the student/mentor contact lasts beyond the duration of the programme, and many people establish valuable and long-lasting contacts. It is feedback like this that proves to us that the mentor programmes are successful,” Jansen concludes.