The power of the MSM MBA Mentorship program: a win-win proposition


Studying an MBA is not all about economic and organizational theory, but also about doing and being. As an MSM MBA student, you live and study in a multicultural environment surrounded by more than 20 different nationalities. To introduce and give you access to a Dutch professional network and to get acquainted with the Dutch way of doing business, MSM offers the MSM MBA Mentorship program. In this blog you will learn more about the MSM Mentorship program and we share experiences from MSM MBA mentees and their mentors.

The MSM MBA Mentorship program is one of the tools MSM is offering as part of MSM Career Services. It is a unique way for students to get in contact with companies and to get acquainted with the Dutch way of doing business in a specific industry or governmental organization. Manon Souren, Executive Education officer at MSM and coordinator of the MSM Mentorship program explains “In the MSM mentorship program, MBA students are matched with a (senior) manager of a company or governmental organization. The mentor can guide the student in multiple ways, e.g. by providing input for the thesis, giving insights into the Dutch way of doing business, introducing the student into his/her network or simply by meeting up for social activities. Although the goal of the mentorship program for students is to gain more insights into the Dutch business world, it has - in some cases - also led to actual job offers by the company of the mentor.

For MSM MBA alumna Harinya Yadav (India), the MSM Mentorship program has been very valuable: “It is very important to have a mentor to guide you through your journey, to find a job or to help out with presenting yourself, boosting one’s morale. The guidance I received from my mentor John Marugg, Business Developer at Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus, was very inspirational. He gave me the opportunity to connect and network with professionals from companies like DSM, Medtronic, and Brightlands. I am also fortunate to receive a traineeship program at Corporis Medical.” Also John has only positive words about his mentorship journey with Harinya: “Harinya has been very energizing and although she was still learning, she has been open and engaging, and willing to reach out.

MSM MBA alumna Claudia Jannine Martinez (Mexico) considers the MSM Mentorship program as a great opportunity that everyone should take to grow and promote themselves: “Coming from different backgrounds and cultures, we need guidance about this new culture in both personal and professional aspect. My mentor Peter Holmark, Executive coach & Leadership development consultant, gave me all the guidance I needed in that phase of my life both privately and professionally. I appreciate the time he took to guide me. It is a nice and noble initiative that inspires me to do the same and to give back for all the good things I learned from him.” Peter Holmark also praises his mentorship with Claudia: “Claudia was very engaged and always thinking ahead and proposing topics to discuss. That helped me prepare well and for us to have productive sessions.”

Stuart Hayton, Managing Director at Weir Minerals has been mentoring for MSM for quite some time and with good experiences” “I’ve had the pleasure of mentoring three MSM students to date, Emmanuel Wartemberg from the class of 2018, Miguel Belon from the class of 2019 and Claudia Huerta Hernandez from the class of 2020. Each had followed very different paths on their journey to MSM but all shared a strong desire to better themselves and achieve their career goals. I am delighted that Miguel and Claudia have taken up important roles in our business and are both flourishing in their respective positions.

For Miguel Belón (Peru) the mentoring journey with Stuart Hayton was a great experience: “Stuart is the type of mentor who pushed me to think about what I wanted for my future, he provided great feedback on what to expect in interviews and from working in The Netherlands, and he shared his knowledge about the industry he works in. I am very grateful to him for sharing all of this with me.  I got real, honest feedback on the opportunities I had in this country and what to expect when searching for a job abroad. In addition, I got to learn about Stuart’s experience and Weir Minerals, the company that he leads and where I am now working as Marketing and Communications Officer.

Benefits of mentoring for managers
In return, senior managers participating in the MSM mentorship program also benefit from it. Manon continues: “For the mentor, this program is often a unique opportunity to learn about foreign (business) cultures and to meet new upcoming talent.

In his own development journey Peter Holmark gained a lot from mentors, which made him decide to become a mentor himself for MSM: “I wanted to give back to young and upcoming leaders. I am fascinated about the international cohort of MBA students at MSM. Having lived in many different places myself, I can relate to the challenges these international students face, when making sense of their new country. Mentoring is a great way to help others and give back. If you wonder how to contribute to society, mentoring is a smart and easy way to start. As a mentor you can really make a difference in the life and development of young leaders. By doing so you also reflect upon your own learning, it’s a two-way street and you can learn a lot yourself as well.”

Stuart Hayton fully agrees with the words of Peter: “Being a mentor for MSM MBA students is an opportunity for me to give something back. Of course, there is the added benefit of working with and being challenged by real talent, sometimes bringing different perspectives from which I can also learn and develop.

John Marugg sees the MSM Mentorship program as a great opportunity to scout new talent: “The reason why I decided to become a mentor for the MSM MBA students is because of the international scope of MSM with students who already have quite some work experience and business orientation. It is good opportunity for recruiting interns or even for filling in a temporarily or long-term job position.

No one-size-fits all approach
There is no one-size-fits all approach for the MSM Mentorship program. The structure of the MSM mentorship program depends on several factors: “The precise content of the mentorship is jointly determined by the mentor and the student. This will depend on the student’s needs and the availability of the mentor. MSM will match the mentor and mentee based upon industry, field of expertise or field of interest. There will be a CV check and personal interview with each student before the matching. In this way we want to optimize the benefits of the mentorship for both parties, the mentor and the mentee. Over the years we have created an extensive database with potential mentors from all types of industry. This database is still growing.” Manon says.

Developing a relationship of trust is a key element to a successful mentoring relationship and needs to be built before any effective mentoring can take place. In addition, each mentor is different and has his own approach. Peter explains “They can expect me to care for and understand their goals and needs for development, and then draw from my experience helping them to achieve those. They can expect me to openly share my own experience and failures I learned from. They can expect me to also listen deeply, not just share my experience. They can expect me to also open my own personal network to them when it benefits their development journey.

According to Harinya, taking part in the MSM Mentorship program is definitely what she would recommend to future MSM MBA students: “In my opinion you should grab every opportunity that is coming your way to network with professionals in the Netherlands. Of course, it will only work if you make time for it and turn it into an opportunity for yourself. Transparency with your mentor in regards with what you expect from the mentorship program and scheduling timely meetings is the key.

Miguel could not agree more: “Just do it, there is nothing to lose, quite the opposite, and it’s a great opportunity to learn new things and get first-hand information about what it's like to work in the Netherlands and about an industry in which you are interested in.”

Welcoming new mentors
MSM is always looking for new mentors who are willing to share their expertise and guide MSM MBA students through their international adventure. According to Manon there is no specific description of what it takes to be a good mentor: “What is expected from the mentor is an open attitude, genuine interest in the student and the willingness to invest some time. There are no strict guidelines on the content or outcomes of the program, this will be mutually decided between the mentor and mentee.

On the question “If being a mentor is worth the effort” Stuart answered: “Absolutely, and in truth, it’s no effort at all. I have found the students to be highly motivated and really enjoyed the sessions. It is a truly rewarding experience in which everyone benefits. Do not hesitate!"

If you or one of your (senior) managers is interested in becoming a mentor of an MSM MBA student, please contact Manon Souren