Porträt von Dr. Viktoria Leonhard für TUM Community über Mentoring.

March 2021

My portrait on TUM Community: Routine tasks are not for me

I am still very attached to my alma mater, TU Munich – for me, it was simply the ideal place to develop intellectually and professionally. The fact that I had to organize myself and set priorities for research projects such as my doctoral thesis helped me a lot in other areas of my life as well. I wanted to pass on my positive experiences I had during my studies through mentoring to students, which is why I became a mentor myself. The web magazine TUM Community has therefore published a portrait of me.

Routine? Variety is better

One thing has shaped both my studies and my professional life: I’m always looking for variety – after all, the only constant is change. That’s why I was happy to have so much room for development at TUM. Instead of the same routine activities, I want to have the opportunity to create something.

The fact that I was able to focus on technology and management-oriented business administration on the one hand and chemistry on the other was therefore the optimal academic path for me. The subjects remained exciting, and there was no sign of boredom. With my doctorate, I then had the chance to dive deeper into motivational psychology. So TUM provided me with intellectual nourishment in the best possible way. I was keen to give something back and decided on the best thing that came to mind: commitment.

Mentoring: gaining and passing on experience

In addition to the varied continuing education seminars offered by the Carl von Linde Academy, I benefited enormously from TUM mentoring by alumni for students. I was lucky enough to have the former CEO of a DAX company as a mentor, and I found it to be a formative experience in the best sense of the word.

As my professional experience grew, it quickly became clear to me that I wanted to help students just as much as my mentor had helped me. That was the motivation for me to become a mentor at TUM twice already and also to establish an alumni network in Stuttgart, my former place of residence and work.

My goal: Creating visions for the future with mentees

I also took a coaching approach to TUM Alumni Mentoring. What I wanted to achieve with my respective mentees was a future vision of their professional lives. Of course, this has nothing to do with looking into a crystal ball – my magic formula is to ask the right questions. In other words, I ask questions that encourage them to self-reflect. If my mentee wants to know something specific from me, I naturally also give tips and advice. These core elements are an excellent way to approach an ideal image of one’s own professional life in a creative and at the same time systematic process. It is well-founded and logical, but at the same time individual and sensitive.

You can find the German version of the article here: