Mentoring: a concept dating back to Ancient Greece and defined as providing guidance, emotional support, and role modeling to a mentee. But is this kind of relationship always all give and no take for the mentor? Let’s deep dive into one of the various mentoring programmes at Julius Baer and meet Andrea Metzler and Christina Habermann, mentor and mentee, respectively, to discover how the Graduate mentoring has helped them to learn from one another.
Andrea Metzler and Christina Habermann grew up on opposite sides of the world – Andrea just outside of sprawling New York and Christina in a neighbouring city of Hamburg, Germany. Despite this, they both eventually found their way to Julius Baer in Zurich. But how exactly were they brought together?
“The Julius Baer Graduate Programme is to thank,” says Christina, who graduates from the 18-month programme in March 2021. Comprised of three six-month assignments and designed to position the graduates for a future career at Julius Baer, the programme offers dedicated training focusing on both technical and social competencies.
Much like the other benefits of the programme, such as networking opportunities, the mentoring programme is all about opening doors, bringing people together, and forming trusted relationships. “Graduates like me are paired with someone in a more experienced position who supports us in different ways,” explains Christina.
The mentor’s guidance comes at an opportune time in the graduate mentees’ lives – at the very beginning of their budding professional careers, to help shape them as young professionals in a business environment. And Andrea Metzler, Head Client Documentation Services, ticks all the boxes of an experienced mentor.
“I’ve taken on this role a few times and have benefitted from mentoring programmes my whole life,” says Andrea. “But mentoring Christina has been a learning experience for me. I’ve found myself having to adjust my mentoring style,” she says.
So what is it about Christina that has led to this modified mentoring approach? “She is extremely determined and has a very clear goal of what she wants to do in the bank, so it’s been more of a guiding process – offering her guidance in other ways, like encouragement and shared experiences.”
Having started the Graduate Programme in October 2019, Christina has completed two rotations, and is finishing up her third stage. “I started off in Business Management for Region Switzerland and EMEA and then went on to support the Product Development & Management team in IWMS. I’m now learning about private investments, in the Private Markets team.”
In addition to the invaluable insight and knowledge she’s gained in the Graduate Programme, Christina credits Andrea for her personal growth. “Andrea’s helped me become more confident in my choices. She’s supportive and interested, and always makes the time to listen and get to know me on a personal level,” she smiles. “I’ve also learned the importance of doing research in unfamiliar topics and approaching people with my ideas.”
This experience, however, has not been all give and no take for Andrea. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. “I used this experience as an opportunity to see the bank and its processes through a fresh pair of eyes,” says Andrea. “While we may see a given process as efficient, they may see room for improvement, so it’s important to take advantage of this new perspective.”
With Christina’s graduation just around the corner, the pair has had time to reflect on their shared experiences and provide words of advice to those interested in following suit. “We made a point to have regular meetings where we simply got to know each other better,” says Andrea. “This encouraged a mentor and mentee relationship that was founded in trust.”
“Be proactive, reach out, meet each other on a regular basis,” Christina continues. “And just ask questions. In my case, this last point proved helpful, as Andrea and I work in different departments. So you get to see things from a different angle of the bank and then find common points of interest and understand the bigger picture.”