92 Champions and Compelling Stories from EntryPoint 2016

After a six-month mentoring journey, EntryPoint 2016 collected anonymous feedback from 92 excellent participants in April 2017. Needless to say, a high level of satisfaction from the participants, our 92 champions gladly shared their compelling stories and amusing anecdotes for the future participants. So, here is the very first episode of EntryPoint Mentoring Programme.

“It was a life-changing experience. Hold on tight and be ready to step out of your comfort zone!”- mentee

EntryPoint Mentoring Programme is a cross-cultural mentoring partnership between Finnish professionals and international degree students at higher education institutions in Finland. In a nutshell, EntryPoint 2016 was a journey of cultivating our cross-cultural competencies through a reciprocal learning partnership, as the word origin of ‘culture’ means.

‘Culture’= ‘Cultivation through Education’

EntryPoint participants have no enrolment fee, and no obligation to offer any employment. But then again, the time commitment of all participants is an essential prerequisite from the very beginning. In return, the ambitious promise of EntryPoint is ‘You will gain more than you give’.

“I found the pairing to be a really great match that challenged both of us to expand our horizons and ways of thinking.” – mentee

After a serious of discussion and even debate, the EntryPoint Mentoring Committee finalized 46 mentor-mentee pairings in September 2016. The 92 entries for EntryPoint 2016 are from 28 different ethnicities as well as from a wide-range of disciplines and professions, from private, academia to public sector. Therefore, the pairing is not a simple matching process based on the similarity between mentor and mentee. The ultimate goal of pairing is to find the best fit partner to everyone for a mutually beneficial partnership between mentor and mentee. In other words, the mentoring journey should be a two-way learning opportunity for both mentor and mentee by complementing each other and growing up together.

“I honestly say that I’ve learned from my mentee at least as much as he has learned from me. This a 20+ guy has such a great understanding of business in the different countries, and such a well-thought and clear picture of his future. That has just inspired me” – mentor

Indeed, the diversity of EntryPoint participants is not a challenge but a priceless privilege for the programme. We truly desire the 92 participants to benefit from the dynamics of diversity. Therefore, EntryPoint has implemented so-called 3-Dimensional Learning Model which consists of pair meetings (small size), collective meetings (large) and thematic group meetings (medium).

“EntryPoint has widened my mindset.” – mentor

“I met mentors and mentees who have diverse backgrounds and knowledges, and it enlarges my mindset a lot.” – mentee

In addition to the mentor-mentee pair meetings, all participants are invited to 5 times collective meetings, from Orientation to Certificate Ceremony. EntryPoint only provides a playground as ‘a hub of knowledge’ for the 92 world-class players. In result, all participants shine like stars, by unfolding themselves as inspirational speakers, motivated learners and proactive networkers.

Meanwhile, when it comes to ‘Employment vs. Employability’, it was a tough question from the beginning of EntryPoint. However, the choice is the long-term benefits of participant development, and the thematic group meeting (the third element of 3D learning model) plays a crucial role in enhancing the mentee’s employability.

“The company visits provided an opportunity to know more about the Finnish labor market and to learn about companies in Finland from inside. It was an authentic experience.” – mentee

“These meetings gave me new perspectives to the topics that I thought I already knew. I also learned a lot of new things and how to identify new opportunities.” – mentee

“The benefit of EntryPoint is not only about the networking opportunity but about myself. My self-awareness and confidence has been improved. I have become more positive and confident of Finnish labor market.” – mentee

From company visits to interactive workshops on various themes, we are keen on the role as a responsible and responsive facilitator. We witnessed how the 46 mentees gradually comprehended the Finnish working culture, Finnish employer’s expectations and Finnish labor market. Moreover, the feedback from mentees proves how they succeed in discovering their strengths, interests and competitive niche edges in Finnish economy and society. Enhancing the employability of mentees have led them to keep us updated with delightful news, such as their new professional or academic careers. All participants deserve to take the whole credit for their achievements, because they fully demonstrate their competencies, reach their potential and find out how to add value to Finnish economy and society. We do not want to take the credit, but rather extend the deepest gratitude to all mentees and mentors. It was a heart-throbbing experience for us to accompany with the 92 champions on the epic journey over last 6 months. We sincerely appreciate their feedback that both mentors and mentees highly value the benefits of participating in EntryPoint Mentoring Programme, and will willingly recommend it to their friends and colleagues.

“EntryPoint programme will blow your mind off: Be prepared, because it will exceed your expectations (even if you are not sure what to expect…just having an open mind is the best you can do) – and this all starts happening when you choose to be active and participate bravely in different events and meetings. Throw yourself there. Your mentee and the whole group wants to hear your opinion and ideas, as much as you want to hear their ideas. This is the place to create connections and transfer your knowledge forward. Be part of something meaningful. Gratitude will follow.” – mentor

After the incredible mentoring journey with 92 champions, EntryPoint is ready to harness the encouraging feedback and invaluable lessons from them to take one step further. In addition to EntryPoint 2017, we will embark on EntryPoint Plus this autumn, a new pilot programme between international executives and Finnish students. Like EntryPoint 2016 and 2017, EntryPoint Plus also pursues a mutually beneficial learning opportunity between international mentors and Finnish mentees. International mentors will benefit in terms of better communication with Finnish colleagues and partners as well as better understanding of the subtlety in Finnish working culture and business environment. Young Finnish talents will help international executives comprehend the blueprint for Finnish economy and how to get access the silent and scattered information in this society, whereas Finnish youngsters will learn global competencies and business savvy from the experienced international mentors.

More about the EntryPoint 2016 feedback: EntryPoint 2016 Feedback Survey