A mentoring success story
Culture, language, surroundings: For all those who want to gain a professional foothold in Austria, starting a career is not always easy. With this in mind, the WU Executive Academy recently launched the "Making it in Austria" initiative: a virtual group of experts, mentors and alumni/alumnae who support current students and graduates who want to make a career in Austria with a comprehensive range of career services and individual coaching. Our latest mentoring success story with Martina Ernst, founder of SalaryNegotiations. & ColourfulCareer and Global Executive MBA alumna herself, and Zagorka Bozhinovska, Professional MBA Digital Transformation & Data Science participant, who recently successfully changed jobs and is now Lead Business Analyst at Raiffeisen International AG, shows how well the initiative is working now.
Martina, as an alumna and HR/Salary & Career expert, you have been closely associated with the WU Executive Academy for many years and are very active as President of the WU EA Female Leaders Network. In this role, you are happy to provide (younger) colleagues with advice and support and pass on your expertise. Why do you think initiatives like the Making it in Austria group are so valuable from a career perspective?
If you want to develop or reorient yourself professionally in a 'foreign' country, you don't want to have to start from scratch with your questions every time, but find it extremely helpful to meet experts with whom you have common base, a common network. And true to the motto 'Together we are stronger', I believe in the power of our network. The more we know each other, the more we trust each other and can support and help each other in our careers. And – frankly speaking – who would you rather offer a job in the long run: a top-qualified stranger or an equally qualified alumna from the same network?!
Some time ago, you also made yourself available to Zagorka as a career mentor. How would you describe your collaboration?
As a mentor in our network, you don't teach newcomers how to take their first steps in their professions, but meet top experts and leaders from a wide variety of industries - and you always learn a lot yourself, because mentoring is – and that is the great thing about it - not a one-way street. Zagorka can look back on a very impressive career and she wanted to exchange with a sparring partner, who would listen carefully to her and possibly ask the right questions to help her see her desires and options ahead of her more clearly. Our mentors come from a wide variety of industries. Most of them have an HR background or a desire to help others grow professionally; they are very well connected in Austria and are committed to support all members of the WU EA network.
What advice did you give Zagorka?
Together with Zagorka, we looked at her options at hand and it became clear to her what she really wants professionally. Because once you have a clear goal in mind, you can also take the right next steps.
Zagorka, you are a current participant of the Professional Master Digital Transformation & Data Science. How did you hear about the Making it in Austria initiative/mentoring? How did you and Martina get to know each other?
It was not long after I enrolled at the WU Executive Academy, I discovered the inspiring events organized as part of the program. At one of those events, I met Martina.
What did your mentoring look like? How did you work together?
Mentoring is a fine line between professional coaching and some kind of friendship. Personally speaking, I had an instant bond with Martina and the time is passing fast during a meeting with her. She is definitely an expert in asking the right questions.
What tips did you get from Martina?
Martina is inspiring and experienced professional. I have taken many tips from her such as the following: the more precise you are with the job position you want, the closer you are to actually getting it.
You have now started a new job at Raiffeisen International AG. What exactly from your mentoring has helped you to finally get the job/become more confident going into the selection interviews?
When searching for a new job it is important to be patient. Sometimes the job position you have in your mind might not be immediately available at the market, or other conditions might need to be dealt with beforehand, therefore patience is the key.
Read more about the "Making it in Austria" initiative here.