Mentor Community Spotlight: Sameer Hasan

[Mentoring] gives me practical leadership skills by clarifying learner doubts and problems which makes me go to the course topics again


This week’s spotlight is on Mohammad Sameer Hasan. Sameer is a Mentor for Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management, 4 courses in the Improving Leadership and Governance in Nonprofit Organizations Specialization, and Critical perspectives on Management.

Share something about yourself

I live in Delhi, India, with my parents and my sister. I am a Civil Engineer with M.tech. in Construction Engineering and Management. I am also pursuing PGD in Operations Management. I recently joined as Business Associate of Advert Media Creations Private Limited where we look after the marketing needs of the company and advertise through the doors of their cars. Besides this, I volunteer as Business Advisory Board Member of Enactus for 30+ Enactus University teams from various colleges. In my leisure time, I watch and play cricket and try my hand at photography.

What’s your favorite Coursera course and why?

My favorite courses have been many. I particularly liked the course on Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management from University of Virginia. I found this course like other courses through the Coursera site and announcements about new courses. I decided to take this course because I was enrolled in a Master’s Program in Construction Engineering and Management and wanted to build relationship with Project Managers, who later on helped me in my thesis with their valuable data as well. I was so involved in the course, that I formed various social groups, which have more than 2,500 members. Due to my engagement with the course participants and after graduating from that course, I was made a Mentor and I’ve been happily serving as their Mentor ever since then. I even recommended this course to my friends and professionals.

What impact have Coursera courses had on your life?

Coursera has had a profound impact on me, both from a personal and professional point of view.

These courses not only helped me in finding what my interests were but also helped me build on those interests and find out my strengths and then work upon those strengths to hone my skills even better.

I always wanted to practice leadership and I knew it was only through practical experience I could nurture this skill, so I started taking more and more courses that were aligned to my specialization degree courses and those that tackled real business/company problems. I started approaching organizations for collaboration and completed many such projects, which I listed in my resume, and I was appreciated by employers and professors at my University for going an extra mile and taking more projects. Coursera is the best thing that is happening to me in my life right now.

Which courses do you Mentor? What do you like most about them?

I am currently Mentoring for 4 courses (3 courses & 1 board project) of the specialization on Improving Leadership and Governance in Nonprofit Organizations from The State University of New York. I am also mentoring for a course on Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management from University of Virginia and Critical perspectives on Management from IE Business School. I like everything about mentorship on Coursera.

I am very supportive of the fact that the courses are from a prestigious University and have instructors with decades of professional experience and who have spent so much time researching and delivering the best reading resources, quizzes, and quality lectures.

I like the opportunities that come with certain courses for performing highly. I particularly loved my association as ‘Collaborator’ for a course on International Leadership and Organizational Behavior from Bocconi University to re-launch the course.

How did you decide to become a Mentor?

I decided to become a Mentor after getting in touch with Mentors who were already in that position and carefully observing their actions. Before starting out as Mentor, I experimented a lot with all the do’s and don’ts of posting in the forums and interacting a lot with the staff members. All these things just naturally prepared me to become a Mentor until one day I got a call from the course team from University of Pennsylvania which made me feel overjoyed and instantly accepted the offer. That’s how my journey as Mentor started.

What do you enjoy most about Mentoring?

Mentoring allows me to help more and more participants and interact with them on a regular basis. It gives me practical leadership skills by giving to the community and clarifying their doubts and problems which makes me go to the course topics again and again and master them and ponder upon questions that takes out the best from me when guiding the students. It also gives me satisfaction when the learners express their thankfulness to the course team that makes me do more and more of what I do best. It feels great to be appreciated for your role from the instructors of an esteemed university of high repute.

What would be your number one tip to give to a new Mentor just starting out?

When I first started as Mentor, I did not have any prior teaching experience or mentorship experience. But, the fact that my invitation was from University of Pennsylvania drew my attention and I simply joined the course with the knowledge I had. I had wonderful instructor and head coach who guided me from time to time.

I started talking to as many learners as I could. That made me grow better and better and eventually helped my success.

Back then, their was no Mentor training course from Coursera. I remember people approaching me and asking me how to mentor and people showed great enthusiasm in showing their willingness to volunteer as Mentor for the course. So, I would advise new Mentors to stay connected to the instructors and watch them for new announcements and show preparedness to all the decisions that are taken during the course, to enhance the learner experience. If you are not sure how to respond to a particular tricky question, reach out and consult other staff members and I am sure it will be resolved. Express more and work diligently.

What does the Coursera/Mentor community mean to you?

The Coursera community means a lot to me. I have been part of this great community since October 2014, since my first role as CTA on ‘Better Leader, Richer Life’ and ‘Total Leadership’ from University of Pennsylvania. Since then I have volunteered as Mentor/CTA for as many as 9 courses from Coursera and one course as ‘Collaborator’. I regularly scan through the Mentors Portal and have completed the Mentor training course from Coursera. Apart from this, I also volunteer as Beta tester of courses from Coursera and have access to Partners’ portal as well.