The Value of a Similar Background

Mentor: Hans-Peter Bouvard, Operations-Manager of a Watch Manufacturer
Mentee: Enrico Turchet

I applied to be Hans-Peter’s mentee because when I looked through his profile, I realized we had many things in common - from our educational background to some aspects of our professional experience (although he is obviously much more experienced than I am). Also we are both Europeans who have lived many years in China. Coming from a similar background as me, Hans-Peter, at a rather young age, managed to reach a top management position in one of the most renowned companies in the world, so I thought he would be the best person to give me recommendations on how to choose my next moves after the completion of my MBA journey.

I meet Hans-Peter once per month, and even though he is extremely busy he always finds the time to have long meetings with me. I think he really cares about his mentees. We always meet for lunch or dinner in a rather informal way, which is helpful for developing a personal relationship that is frank and open. Hans-Peter is not shy in talking about personal things and I hope that once the mentor programme is over we can stay in touch, if not for work at least for leisure.

I plan to switch industries after my MBA and Hans-Peter has introduced me to his current industry, its characteristics and its challenges. It is truly useful to receive first hand information before deciding whether or not to enter a new business sector. Not knowing much about industries apart from the one I worked in before, it could be very easy for me to make a wrong decision based on insufficient and/or distorted information.

So far,  the CEIBS mentorship programme experience has been very valuable to me and I believe that once I begin actively looking for a job it will become even more useful. I can certainly recommend all students to join this programme. In my opinion, students should select a mentor with a similar personal and professional background. It will be much easier for your mentor to put themselves in your shoes, understand your needs and aspirations, and guide you through your next career steps.