After a first round of mentors’ presentation, the first Mentoring Thursday of this academic year can begin. For this opening session, it is about the mentors’ journey and the experiences that they wish to share with the students and participants recently graduated from the IEE-ULB.

Around four round tables, mentees question their mentors. Among the questions that come up regularly: what strategy to adopt to enter the labour market? How to put forward their experience at the Institute of European Studies?

There is no mystery, to attract the attention of an interlocutor and/or recruiter, we must take into account the human factor that intervenes at all stages of an application: it should be tailored to each job, each organization, and each person. It sounds simple, but it is essential. Mathieu Savary, mentor for the second year in a row, tells us more:

“In the standard question “What are your motivations for working with us? I often see in the background the question ‘what do you know about us?’ This is logical because it is, after all, an objective criterion for measuring the motivation of a candidate: who has prepared his interview and is doing his research work. “

Audacity and listening, leitmotifs for mentees

For some mentees, this mentoring session was a unique opportunity to discuss potential career paths and trajectories after their masters at the IEE:

“The opportunity to participate in the mentoring programme can be reassuring as we meet professionals who have done their own studies at the IEE. We can better understand the issues related to the job market of the “European bubble” while obtaining our first key contacts in a sector that interests us,”

says Maxence Rogard, student in the Specialised Masters in Interdisciplinary studies of the EU integration at the IEE.

A point on which all mentors agree: daring. It is often the case that young graduates do not see all the opportunities that exist on the job market, and miss many opportunities beyond the European institutions.

“You have to be brave, because the beginning can be tough, but in the end you have the skills that are required by the job market. Especially if you stay open and flexible, you will always find something that you like to do.”

says Martina Barbero, an alumna from the 2011 IEE promotion in European studies.

That is also what Elena Bajric, a second-year Master’s student in European Studies at the IEE-ULB, has learned from this first experience of mentoring:

“I realized that the key to getting started in professional life, was sometimes only daring: daring to send your application, daring to try the EPSO competition, daring to assert your ambitions and daring to knock on the door of the European institutions. Thanks to the stories of the mentors on their personal journey, I cannot wait to get started once my studies are over!”

What’s next?

As this first session of the IEE Mentoring Thursdays comes to an end, each mentee gives us a key word with which they leave: preparation, confidence, sensitivity, learning, humility, daring, motivation, change, diversity, enrichment…