Apply for our professional mentoring programme

Learn more about the Hertie School’s mentoring programme and apply by 24 July.

Launched in 2017, the Hertie School’s Professional Mentoring Programme is currently in its fourth year. The deadline for incoming first-year MPP and MIA students to apply is 24 July, and selected candidates will be matched with mentors for the period from September 2020 to September 2021.

What exactly can applicants expect? We asked Manager of Career Development Anna von Behr  for more details, including what’s new in the programme this year.

In what ways does the mentoring programme foster a mutual relationship between mentor and mentee over the 12-month period? What do the mentors provide, and what kind of materials are included?

We provide mentors and mentees with guidelines that help structure the process and manage expectations. The Mentoring Programme starts with a kick-off webinar in September. During the webinar, new mentees will be able to interact with students who participated in last year’s mentoring programme and hear about their experiences.

After the kick-off, the mentee is responsible for arranging the first meeting. We recommend that you use the first meeting to discuss some ground rules: modes of communication, frequency, expectations on both sides. If you both find it useful, you can document your discussion in a mentoring agreement. Over the course of the year it's up to the mentee to arrange the next meetings and prepare the topics and questions. Possible topics include the German job market and culture, the mentor's career path and lessons learnt; or advice on networking. A number of our mentors have continued to be in touch and of help to their mentees well after the first year. 

Should there be any issues along the way, you can always contact Career Development and we will assist you in solving it.

Who are the mentors this year, and what sectors and fields do they work in?

The mentors are a mix of seasoned professionals from partner organisations and Hertie School alumni with relevant work experience. We cover all three sectors – public, private and civil society – and a variety of backgrounds and topics. For the first time, we are recruiting mentors outside of Germany this year, since we saw how effectively you can establish a digital connection and exchange ideas over a video call. Our mentors are from the German Ministry of the Interior, Siemens, the European Commission in Berlin, GIZ, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Aurora Energy Research, among others.

How do you match mentors and mentees together? What are you looking for in both profiles?

The mentors and mentees are matched based on the motivational statement of the students and preferences of the mentors. Some mentors are flexible, while others want to mentor someone with a specific background, language skills or area of interest, such as energy. While we try to accommodate everyone, we think that you can benefit from any mentoring relationship even if your mentor is in a field that you are not aiming for.

Aside from the mentoring programme, are there other ways in which students can get to know alumni?

There are many ways! Students are invited to join our LinkedIn Alumni and Student Group. In that group you get a good overview of the positions our alumni have and also find job postings. In the directory on our internal networking platform Hertie School Connect, you can search for alumni and use the filter “willing to help” to find those who are willing “to discuss mentoring” or “meet for coffee”. Additionally we host Alumni Coffee Chats and panels during the semester – online for now – that provide students with a low-threshold opportunity to talk to graduates and ask them questions. During the annual Alumni Reunion in May we usually invite students to a Career Fair, where they can book 1:1 slots with alumni, and also to the party. We will have to see how next year’s reunion will shape up. Generally speaking, our alumni are very open, friendly and helpful if you approach them with a professional question.

Given the hybrid approach to teaching in the fall, what kind of career development services and events is your team planning for MPP, MIA and Executive MPA students joining the Hertie School online and on site this academic year?

We will continue most of our services either online or in a hybrid setting. As during the last months, students can schedule 1:1 coaching sessions via video call with us. We have planned a number of webinars with external experts on topics such as how to get into the UN, entering the European Commission or working on migration. This semester we will host our Energy and Climate Networking Event in a digital format. We will have a variety of Alumni Coffee Chats with graduates located all over the world, as well as specific thematic panels – on working in GovTech, for example. We will also have Career Development office hours online and on site.


Questions about the mentoring programme or Career Development at the Hertie School? Send an email to careerdevelopment[at]hertie-school[dot]org.

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