Partner Sites

Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice
mobile search icon

All Great Leaders Need Great Mentors—And Copenhagen Business School Knows It

An experienced mentor can enhance a student’s professional development ten-fold. On the Copenhagen MBA, alumni are queuing up to become mentors to do exactly that!


Fri Jun 22 2018

Luke and Yoda; Harry and Dumbledore; Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

A lot can be said for student-mentor partnerships. Having someone to learn from as a fledgling can do wonders for career progression and enhance professional development ten-fold.

On the Copenhagen Business School MBA, alumni are queuing up to be a part of the Leadership Discovery Process’s (LDP) student-mentor initiative to do exactly that. Teams of five students are partnered with two mentors, learning from them at every step of the way.

“The purpose of the program is to enable a deeper level of reflection of leadership within the mentees,” explains Gitte Jakobsen, MBA program manager at Copenhagen Business School. “The aim is to build a trusting environment where personal reflections become a tool to enhance the level of learning.”

It allows mentors to utilize their professional experience and give examples of theoretical application in a real-life business setting. They also remain a close part of the tightly-knit Copenhagen Business School network, Gitte adds. “This is a proper win-win set-up with great feedback from both ends.”

The initiative runs throughout the Copenhagen MBA’s Leadership Discovery Process. After each of the six modules and two fieldtrips that make up the LDP—one of which is a top-secret trip into the Swedish wilderness—the teams of students sit down with their mentors in a confidential setting to discuss industry examples related to the theory they have just been tested on.

“Both students and mentors can talk about real-life with honest reflections about the business models, and how to approach and use them in our post-MBA careers,” says Simon Kristensen, one such student on the program.

For Simon, the MBA is an education in real-life business, and thus must prepare students as best as possible for their careers post-graduation. He worked for Carlsberg before the MBA but is looking to move into more of a leadership role after he graduates.

“In the meeting, mentors tell us how they are applying the business models in a real-life setting now. We get the evidence of that theory being applied in real-time,” Simon says. He is therefore gearing up to leave the MBA with a wealth of real-life industry examples to apply in his next role.

At the beginning of the LDP students complete a personality profile. Simon describes how one of his mentors is using a similar method as a baseline within the company he works for to shape and develop his team’s culture and how they work together.

Being able to reflect on the impact of applying certain business models to various scenarios is what Simon says is the key takeaway from the student-mentor initiative. “To be a great leader from my point of view you need to reflect and steer yourself,” he says.

The Copenhagen MBA’s selected mentors have already gone through the program and have been exposed to how the theories taught to them at the school work in real-life.

The current cohort of 43 students is made up of people from 22 countries. They already have their own means of reality, Simon explains, but what augments their learning is the ability to challenge the application of theory with people who have been there and done that.

Will it make him a better leader?

“Of course,” he says. “The main reason for me to go into the MBA was to accelerate my learning about leadership. Many people go into a leadership role and base their behavior and action on assumptions. I’m not a supporter of that approach.”

Simon adds that he too would love the opportunity to follow the same path as Dhruv Sabharwal, one of his mentors, by returning to Copenhagen Business School in the future to offer his own perspective to MBA students.

Dhruv, who is currently a technology consultant for Deloitte, says that as well as imparting wisdom upon the students, the mentors themselves stand to learn a great deal.

“We have the opportunity to understanding the other side,” he explains, “and how certain models we looked at some years back are being taught now.”

Simon and the other Copenhagen Business School students mentored by Dhruv have their own past experience from which they can draw. This, Dhruv explains, allows mentees to gain an understanding of a number of business practices and industries they may not have been exposed to until now.

“It’s a good learning opportunity for us to hear their perspectives on how they have used theories in the past experiences they’ve faced, and what they did to resolve issues,” he says.

The primary reason he signed up to be a mentor was because it gave him a chance to “give back” to the school.

Mentors bring to the table specific examples of the theory the students are learning being applied to industry. “We can add more value,” Dhruv says.

“I’ve not just been part of an international MBA program, but I’ve actually worked in an environment where I had the opportunity to use the skills I learned during the MBA.”