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Students urged to step out of comfort zone at mentor event

Employers paired up one-on-one with students at the alumni association's mentor kick-off meeting at the Ceremonial Hall

The chatter of students and representatives from prominent Copenhagen companies filled out the Ceremonial Hall Monday evening. It was time for the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) mentor programme kick-off.

Every year the University of Copenhagen (UCPH)’s alumni association pairs up mentors from different companies such as COWI and Novo Nordic with student ‘mentees’. The mentors give their mentees career advice and show them what the world of work looks like on the other side of the final dissertation. The programme provides a unique opportunity to learn more about the Danish labour market.

70 mentees met their new mentors for the English-language event. 50 of the student mentees were international students, the rest Danish.

Students should ‘take active role’

Marcelo from Brazil studies environmental economics: “I worked for 2½ years before I came to Denmark. Now I want to fit in to the Danish market.”

Mentees were given advice before meeting their mentor for the first time by Thomas Bjørnholm, Prorektor for Research and Innovation.

“Step out of your comfort zone and learn something new,” he said. His pep talk was supplemented by Helene Odgaar, a former mentor: “Don’t be scared to take an active role yourself,” she says.

Swapping details

And this is exactly what students are doing by becoming mentees. “I’m here to be pro-active. This is a small step towards getting a job at some point” said a pharmaceutical student to the University Post.

The mentees were not only advised on how to be proactive; they were also instructed how to establish a good professional connection with their mentor.”Define your needs and set the agenda” said Thomas Bjørnholm. And “give a part of yourself – get personal,” he added.

The mentees seemed to take up the advice instantly when it was time to meet their mentors. Marcelo from Brazil, and others, eagerly looked for his mentor, and when found, introduced himself and swapped details.

The networking thing

James from England sums it up. “I joined this programme because I want to know about networking. Everyone is always talking about networking,” he says.

See more details on the UCPHalumni association’s mentor programme here.

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