In 2020, the Master's Programme "Governance of Science, Technology and Innovation" launched a Mentoring Programme. This idea appeared from the teachers and researchers of ISSEK – Valeriya Vlasova and Ekaterina Streltsova. The Programme allows first-year students to feel more confident, get involved in the educational process faster and learn about all the nuances of education. To participate in the Programme, you do not need to pass a competitive selection – it is open to every first-year student. Mentors are graduates of different years.
Students choose their future mentor "according to their interests" by getting acquainted short portfolios of graduates. Someone is interested in the possibility of developing a career in a similar industry, someone is interested in the academic track of study and forms an approach to writing a Master's Thesis, and someone is important to understand how life works abroad in order to know in advance what to be ready for, participating in a Double Degree Programme or planning an internship.
"If we talk about the students who want to know from me about studying in Germany, then the question of how to cope with the organization of their student life abroad becomes a priority for them. Here, of course, we are talking about national visas, rental housing, insurance, a bank account in Berlin.
By the way, I also get questions from applicants who seriously consider studying on the Programme and ask substantive questions after reading the materials on the site. And here, with a noticeable margin, the questions about the "secrets of success in the interview"win.
Thanks to communication with graduates in an informal setting, you can learn about the Programme that students sometimes do not dare to ask the teacher. And mentors have the opportunity to develop their network of contacts and be inspired by new ideas.
"I decided to participate in the mentoring program because I believe that I have something to share with students who are just starting their careers. I am close to the ideas of mentoring, coaching, and it brings me pleasure."
"If you can be useful to people in some way — be. This is not difficult and is very useful for both sides.
And yet, communication with students is a way to always be aware of what is happening, new trends. In general, the mentor is also looking for fresh ideas through communication with students, so this is a mutually beneficial exchange."
According to a survey conducted among students and graduates, six months after the launch of the Mentoring Programme, the most popular topics were Term Papers and the choice of a research supervisor. In second place were the educational courses of the Programme. Career planning and work-study balance rounded out the top three.
Most of all, we discussed about career opportunities. We discussed general questions about how my Master's Degree was conducted and how to find a balance between study and work. There were career-related questions. How it looked before and how it developed after graduation. Communication was more informal, and I was treated both as a friend and as a senior colleague.
This year, all meetings were held in an online format, primarily taking into account health safety. We hope that the meetings will have a different format in the new academic year. The possibility of holding an introductory seminar is also being considered.
I communicate with students mainly in social networks and messengers, sometimes we call each other. Of course, we try to discuss the most ambitious issues in a "voice". I think it's convenient for everyone to interact in this way.
From the very beginning, the dialogue is naturally built in a friendly format, and it never occurred to me to establish any framework for communication with students.
Almost all students who took part in the Programme in 2020 recommend that future first-year students do not miss this opportunity. The team of mentors will expand slightly – this will open up the opportunity for new graduates to join the team.
Most of all I was interested in the Academic Track and all the opportunities associated with it. The experience was useful for me, and now I intend to "refresh" my communication with the mentor, because apart from general questions, I have additional, already highly specialized questions.
Even if you can't find the answers to all your questions from a mentor, you at least get food for thought from him: you understand what factors to consider when choosing a dissertation topic, how to choose the right courses in the Programme, depending on your career plans.
And you should not forget about networking: the more cool guys you know, the more interesting opportunities can open up for you. And it's great that networking can be built into the Programme in the format of mentoring.
If you are our graduate and would like to join the mentoring program, write to Valeria Vlasova firstname.lastname@example.org