Mentor Programme off to a good start

45 new mentors met each other for the first time at our kick-off event on Thursday, 19 February. Support for our mentor programme is greater than ever. ‘As a foreign student it is a huge opportunigy and I expect to get a lot of positive things out of this process,’ says 25-year-old Darikha Kulbaeva from Uzbekistan. She is studying Financial Management and Services and is one of the nine foreign students in the mentoring programme.

46 students and 45 business people shook hands and said hello for the first time on Thursday night at our Ringvej Syd campus.

'The mentor programme’s success depends on whether you dare to put yourself out there,  and be honest and push someone when it is necessary,' says Lecturer Anja Bach Press from our Marketing Management programme to the audience of business people and students who sat seated side by side at long tables with candles, white tablecloths and white wine.

Doubling the mentoring

The number of mentoring programmes at Business Academy Aarhus has doubled in recent years – from 14 in 2013 to 30 last year and 45 this year. The dedicated mentors include CEOs, consultants, farm owners and self-employed people. One of them is 52-year-old Anna Marie Hejlsberg. She runs a small company called Salesboost with two employees and a trainee. On Thursday, she came to meet 25-year-old Jesper Lyngholm Hansen, who is taking his BA degree in international trade and marketing. But why would a busy, self-employed person want invest time and effort in this?

‘This is my second year in a row. It makes me so happy to be able to help young, able people on their way. It’s amazing to feel their energy, drive and spirit,’ she states.

Jesper wants clarification for his career and personal development. He hopes that Anne Marie can help him.

‘One is always a little nervous the first time, what if the chemistry doesn’t fit? But it’s usually Okay,’he says.

The opportunity to make a difference

Business woman Lisbeth Secher Hill has been in our mentor programme since its start in 2013. This year she has taken two BA students under her wing.

‘I’ve been a mentor for many people in the private sector and I like to make things happen and see people grow. I take this very seriously,’ says Lisbeth Secher Hill, who runs two companies and works as a non-executive director. Halfway into the kick-off meeting the new threesome chat effortlessly. But it’s not just fun; work must also be done. Therefore, Lisbeth gives the two young guys homework for next time. Before the next meeting they each need to write about their personal ambitions and desires for their start-up company.

‘I think we have the perfect match. And look, Lisbeth has already created publicity for us,’ the two students in international trade and marketing Uffe Faarvang and Thomas Zink Mortensen state grinning.

Great potential for foreign students

Nine out of the 46 mentees are international students. Darikha Kulbaeva moved from Uzbekistan to Aarhus and one and a half years ago to study financial management and services. When the offer of getting a personal mentor popped up on Fronter, she was immediately intrigued.

‘I immediately sensed that this was a great opportunity and something that I should do’, says the 25-year-old Uzbek, with a BA in Engineering. Now she is hoping to find a job and remain in Denmark after her financial education. Darikhas mentor is Nordea’s Relations Manager, Magnus Albin Olsen.

‘I’m very eager to get a network, integrate myself, practice Danish and learn about Danish culture and the labour market. As a foreign student, it is a huge opportunity, and I expect to get a lot of positive things out of this process.’

Among Darikhas international classmates, a Croatian, a Czech and and a Lithuanian have all received a personal, Danish mentor.

Facts about the mentoring programme

  • Nine of the 46 mentees are international students
  • A mentor course lasts 6-12 months
  • Prior to the first meeting, the mentor and mentee fill out a form and answer various questions about their professional background and experience. Their respective teachers and the person responsible for the mentoring programme, Mads Mahler, then pair them off
  • Environmental Management students choose their own mentors; all the other students have one appointed
  • Six courses, including five at BA level, are a part of the programme so far and other courses will be invited to join as and when the need arises

For further information, contact Mads Mahler at