Mentoring Tandem: Patrick Kratzenstein & Antonia Kohla


It is an absolute premiere when Patrick Kratzenstein and Antonia Kohla meet for our conversation in the university library. Although the two have been a well-established mentoring tandem for a year, this is their first face-to-face encounter. Up to now, Patrick and Antonia have communicated exclusively via video telephony, e-mail and similar channels. Now they are facing each other "live" for the first time. The two understand each other, you can see that at first glance. "You have to understand each other. You have to harmonize with each other and  trust each other, otherwise it's difficult to have a good mentorship," says Kratzenstein. Mentee Antonia Kohla adds, "Patrick and I got along from the first Skype contact. Tanja Baumgartner from Alumni Career Mentoring at the University of Graz did a perfect job. After I applied for the mentoring program at the Career Center, she gave me a shortlist of possible mentors - with a tendency towards Patrick. Tanja Baumgartner matched us perfectly."


I am already further along in my experience than Antonia and have done the 'reality check' for her.

Patrick Kratzenstein, mentor

Patrick Kratzenstein joined a large law firm in Vienna straight after studying law in Graz, followed by a jump to New York in 2018.
Since May 2021, he has been in London, where he works for an American law firm.

In the early days, their mentoring contact was intense. "In the beginning, it was about building a foundation. We exchanged every week  exchanged ideas and talked very openly with each other. For me it is important to mentor at eye level. Hierarchies or authority imbalances are out of place," says Patrick. "There needs to be absolute mutual trust," Antonia also knows. "I sent Patrick my job application, for example. A job application is something very private. There has to be a relationship of trust."

In terms of content, the mentorship of Patrick and Antonia was and is about the time after Antonia's studies, i.e. the first steps into professional life. Steps into professional life. "Patrick has analysed my partly somewhat naive naive ideas, took away my dreamy visions and sharpened my focus. sharpened my focus. That was enormously important. It saved me, I think, a lot of time." "I did the 'reality check' for her. I'm already further along in my experience than Antonia and can tell her tell her what young professionals should look out for," says Patrick.


Patrick took away my partly naive ideas and sharpened my focus. That was enormously important.

Antonia Kohla, mentee

Antonia Kohla is studying law and business law (LL.M.) in Graz and completed her thesis in the summer. The mentoring helps her with the important first steps into professional life.

Patrick Kratzenstein has been in New York for the past few years. After his law degree, the Berlin-born lawyer, who has been living in Graz, went to work for a large law firm in Vienna. In 2018 he made the Leap to New York. "I went to Columbia University for an LL.M. degree and passed the New York bar exam. bar exam. Then I worked for a law firm in New York, and since May 2021, I've been working for an American law firm in London." At mentoring programme at the University of Graz through an acquaintance. "My acquaintance told me about it and I immediately thought it was a great idea. as a very great idea. As a student I had university assistants who inspired me and acted as 'mentors'. mentor'. The fact that this now exists in a structured and formalised way is very good."

Antonia found out about the  mentoring scheme through a friend "I'm really glad I'm doing this. For me, it's mostly about Goal setting. The key questions are: What do I want? And how do I get get there? Patrick broke it down into small portions for me... and took a lot of pressure off. We don't have fixed dates for our mentorship. We exchange ideas as needed. It's a dynamic and flexible thing and works great, I can only recommend it. I can only recommend it."

The interview appeared in Alumni Magazine 10/2021.