Imagine being financially independent and acing your studies at the same time. Add to that a diverse network of talents, professionals and executives as well as the opportunity to create an impact on society. How much more would you be able to achieve? Which doors would open and where would they lead you? This is a dream for many students – made possible with the TUM Deutschlandstipendium and the support of the TUM Management Alumni e.V.

The advantage of having a personal mentor

Whether you are a student or a top-level manager, everyone wants their efforts to be seen and acknowledged. Deutschlandstipendium recognizes the students’ special talents and achievements and rewards them with financial support, a space to foster their skills and guidance from an individually matched mentor. “As a mentor and TUM alumnus I can advise the scholars on how to successfully navigate through their time at university”, says Dr. Norbert May about his role in supporting the personal development of the scholarship holders. He is a board member of the TUM Management Alumni e.V.. To promote exceptional students and keep them connected to the TUM’s ecosystem, the club sponsors five scholarships per year. Dr. May currently mentors Lino Ballof, one of this year’s scholarship holders, and further explains: “Thanks to my many years of experience, I am now able to share insights into the daily business of German and international companies and give my mentees guidance on how to get off to a great start in the business world.”

Requirements for the scholarship

What criteria do students have to meet in order to receive a scholarship, you wonder? TUM has established a very transparent selection process, following the guiding principle “Performance is diverse”: apart from students’ grade point average, their social commitment as well as social factors are taken into consideration when awarding the scholarship. While sponsors are welcome to select their preferred field or discipline in which they want to support a scholarship holder, TUM alone chooses the recipients.

The scholarship is based on the support of private sponsors: a donation of 150 euros per month is matched by the German government. This means that each scholarship holder receives EUR 300 per month over the course of a year. In Lino Ballof’s case, this financial support enabled him to take up his voluntary work as a youth trainer in soccer while continuing to pursue his academic goals: “It has always been my intention to give back to the children and teenagers what I myself benefited from when I was their age. The scholarship allows me to invest more time in coaching the youngsters again. At the same time, the TUM Management Alumni club provides me with different options to develop further on an intellectual level.”

Becoming part of a strong and influential network

But it does not end there. Being awarded the TUM Germany Scholarship also means being welcomed into a strong network of students, university representatives as well as supporters and their companies. “With around 3,000 members, the TUM Management Alumni club provides a platform for students and graduates to interact with each other, build connections and exchange experiences,” describes Dr. May. Lino adds to that: “Deutschlandstipendium together with the TUM Management Alumni club not only supports me in my studies but opens up a whole new range of opportunities to educate myself further and build my own strong network.”

Apart from the official Deutschlandstipendium ceremonies, the TUM Management Alumni club also invites their scholars to attend a variety of events, ranging from lectures and career days to company events and recreational activities. The people and connections are what Lino particularly appreciates about the involvement of the Alumni club: “My mentor, Dr. May, as well as all the other members really take their time to have meaningful conversations and help us scholars where they can. The personal mentoring is excellent in this regard.” Dr. May adds to that: “Due to the current situation, we have restructured our events to run online while constantly adjusting the formats and covering relevant topics.” The networking aspect benefits all parties involved: while scholarship holders get to exploit their full potential, this is an opportunity for sponsors to already build a valuable connection with their future employees.”

“My expectations of the scholarship were to gain new experiences and expand my network – but actually, I have experienced much more than that,” states Lino. “With my mentor Dr. May, I found someone who will continue to support me even after my scholarship ends,” he says. To him, the Deutschlandstipendium was a confirmation that his activities in the past were meaningful. In addition, the scholarship gave him a boost for his professional future: “I made new friends and had interesting conversations with people I had previously only known from newspapers or television. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to once again express my sincere thanks to the TUM Management Alumni club and my mentor Dr. May for their great commitment.”