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Projects story: Johannes Thul
From autonomous cars to electric planes, breakthrough innovations are driving a new chapter in the history of mobility. Siemens engineers are building tomorrow’s technology, and Johannes and his team are helping the company define its strategic direction.
Large cities and their ever-growing populations demand new, more efficient, greener and safer mobility solutions, from driverless trains to autonomous vehicles and electric airplanes. Siemens is constantly developing solutions like these in its labs and factories across the globe. To make sure that these innovations have a positive impact on society, people like Johannes have to ask the right questions: Which technologies are here to stay? How do we create a sustainable business model around them? And how can we maximize their benefit to society?
As a Project Manager at Siemens Management Consulting, Johannes makes sure that Siemens stays ahead of the curve. His insights, ideas and strategies help Siemens businesses decide where to go next. He says, “Together with our clients, we imagine what our planet could look like in a couple of years.”
A global mindset
Born and raised in Cologne, Germany, Johannes discovered his passion for exploring the world early on. He spent a year in Upstate New York while in school, then lived in Shanghai and Barcelona while studying mechanical engineering and business at RWTH Aachen. So far, he’s traveled to over 50 countries. “I collect passport stamps,” he says with a laugh.
During his time in Shanghai, Johannes interned at Voith Hydro, a Siemens joint venture that builds hydroelectric power plants. It was here that he first connected with Siemens. “I knew Siemens, and it is an interesting employer because it is active in much more than one industry – not just, say, energy, but also healthcare, mobility and automation.” He reflects on the company’s reputation: “Siemens is a well-known brand, in Germany and across the world.”
Together with our clients, we imagine what our planet could look like in a couple of years.
Fusing engineering and economic expertise
After two years of studying mechanical engineering, Johannes decided to expand his horizons by adding business administration to his curriculum. “I love engineering and the technical aspect of things,” he says. But the business side is equally important: “I think there’s so much interesting stuff in the background that needs to work so that a solution is valuable to society.” When he graduated from RWTH Aachen, he decided to join a large external strategy consultancy, where he worked on projects in the manufacturing sector. After three years, he was looking for a stronger connection to engineering and, in the long run, a career in an operative role.
Then, he says, “Siemens Management Consulting reached out to me. I met with different SMC Vice Presidents, and what they told me sounded great.” With his diploma in mechanical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in business administration, he was a perfect fit for a career at SMC. Here, he found the strong focus on engineering and the long-term career prospects he was looking for: “One of SMC’s key pillars is that you work on consulting projects, but eventually have the opportunity to move on to a leadership position within Siemens.”
Today, Johannes works as a Project Manager and it’s his job to plan, manage and successfully lead strategy projects. “We learn early on how to work with clients, how to lead and how to collaborate with team members.” Additional training sessions and a comprehensive feedback culture helped him to further refine his strategic, analytical and leadership skills. And while his work is focused on developing effective strategies, he still benefits immensely from his technical expertise.
Working at Siemens Management Consulting is an amazing journey.
Developing future-facing solutions
At Siemens Management Consulting, Johannes works on a wide range of mobility projects. Right now, he says, “a lot of people are talking about electric cars, but we’re one step ahead already.” With his work, Johannes and his team could help pioneer the next generation of mobility: “We have to look beyond what’s possible today. For example, how do we integrate autonomous cars into our current systems? How will these cars communicate with each other? As consultants at SMC, we’re approaching these questions from a strategic perspective.” Based on their insights, Johannes and his team develop tailored solutions that help Siemens businesses and their engineers choose the most successful way forward.
One of the most rewarding parts of working at Siemens Management Consulting, says Johannes, is having a positive impact on society: “It’s amazing to see how our clients implement our recommendations. On many projects, the impact can be massive. For example, I was in the Middle East recently, and together with many Siemens colleagues and our customers, we worked on shaping a whole country’s future energy system.”
Building a strong network
Johannes describes SMC as “a highly professional in-house consultancy that gives you the opportunity to do everything you can do at an external strategy consultancy. On top of that,” he adds, “you can build your network and get the insights that prepare you for a management career at Siemens. It gives you a perfect view into the company, a comprehensive skill set and a strong network to develop your career in the future.”
“If you’re willing to travel and you’re motivated by challenging, diverse tasks, you’ll see so much and learn so much about yourself. Working at Siemens Management Consulting is an amazing journey.” Plus, he says with a smile, “It gives me endless opportunities to grow my collection of stamps in my passport.”
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