A Chat with Business Mentoring Luxembourg

This interview originally appeared on the Business Mentoring Luxembourg Blog on 04-Sep-2019.

Stephan Peters, Managing Director of SANZARU Group, has been a mentor with Business Mentoring Luxembourg since 2016 and has so far supported three mentees in different sectors. He shares his broad experience as an investor and and senior advisor.

Can you briefly introduce yourself? What is your background?

Thanks for having me over! If I had to describe myself in a few words, I’d say I’m a jack of all trades and a master of some. After growing up in Belgium to entrepreneurial parents, I returned to the Netherlands to study aerospace engineering, which gave me an affinity to technology as well as deep appreciation of the scientific method. After doing stints in investment banking, management consulting and private equity covering multiple sectors as well as four continents, I decided to re-connect with my entrepreneurial roots and started my own advisory and investment company about a decade ago. I focus on technology, communication, financial services, retail and sustainability; all with a growth perspective on mind.

Why did you become a mentor? How did you come up with the idea of becoming a mentor?

Along my own entrepreneurial journey, I realized that you’re fairly isolated from everyone else as a business leader and there’s profound difficulty in finding an objective third party who can function as a sounding board. I was lucky enough to have a strong support network that would provide me with much needed advice and perspective. Even so, I would have benefited greatly from having a more experienced, independent mentor who had walked my path before. A few years ago, I wanted to give back and share my own experience with those who might benefit from it.

The profiles of your mentees were very different. Why these choices?

As a professional advisor and an investor into start-ups, I have always thoroughly enjoyed helping business leaders succeed. Regardless of the sector, I decided to support my past mentees as I understood their struggles, whether it was to fully realize the implications of becoming a business leader, to identify skill gaps and design a development plan to build them, to discuss the nature of managing teams, or to better understand their company’s ecosystem and stakeholders. Having been there myself, I felt I was well-matched to mentor them.

What does the Business Mentoring Luxembourg programme bring to you?

Being a mentor of the BML programme is immensely rewarding. First of all, you’re supporting someone who’s in need of guidance and advice to weather a difficult period in their professional life. Secondly, the programme contributed to my own development as a mentor by providing insightful training and knowledge. Lastly, you have the opportunity to interact with your fellow mentors in the programme, share experiences as peers and learn from them.

Recommended Reading

This is an ever-evolving list. Please do come back later to see if anything interesting popped up!

Impact

Managing

  • Ries – The Lean Startup
  • Maurya – Running Lean
  • Maurya – Scaling Lean
  • Osterwalder, Pigneur – Business Model Generation
  • Levitt, Dubner – Think Like a Freak

Investing

  • Taleb – The Black Swan series
  • Ante – Creative Capital: George Doriot and the Birth of Venture Capital
  • Rose – Angel Investing
  • Hargreaves – How to Become a Business Angel

Personal Development

  • Brimm – Global Cosmopolitans
  • Brown – The Independent Director
  • Dilts – From Coach to Awakener
  • Hofstede, Hofstede – Cultures and Organizations
  • Levitt, Dubner – Freakonomics
  • Pfeffer – Power
  • Tan – Search Inside Yourself

Everything You Should Have Read Already

  • Stewart – In Pursuit of the Unknown
  • Watson, Gann, Witkowski – The Annotated and Illustrated Double Helix
  • Bryson – A Short History of Nearly Everything
  • Eagleman – Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
  • McRaney – You Are Not So Smart
  • Macauley – The Way Things Work Now
  • Harris – Big Questions from Little People
  • Hawking – A Brief History of Time

Just For Fun

  • Adams – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series
  • Asimov – Foundation series
  • Carroll – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
  • Corey – The Expanse series
  • Herbert – Dune series
  • Pratchett – Discworld series
  • Tolkien – The Lord of the Rings series

The Mystic Monkeys’ View on Life, the Universe and Everything Else

SANZARU Group Logo
The SANZARU logo, representing the four mystic monkeys in abstract form

Welcome to our blog!

So, what’s in a name? Our name is derived from the Japanese philosophical proverb of the mystic monkeys, who teach a sensible approach to life by behaving with propriety in words and deeds. In its most verbose form, the principles are: “look not at what is contrary to propriety; listen not to what is contrary to propriety; speak not what is contrary to propriety; make no movement which is contrary to propriety”. If you’re interested, feel free to read more about them on

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