From ambitious intern to experienced consultantHow do you approach new challenges? For Malte, Project Manager at Siemens Management Consulting, there’s only one way that works: tackle them head-on, whether it means relocating to India on a couple of weeks’ notice, immersing himself in autonomous driving or discussing the energy market of tomorrow with Siemens’ senior management.
Malte’s time at SMC has been an exciting journey. It started when he joined as an Intern during his master’s studies at HHL Leipzig. “SMC did a lot of recruiting at our university, so I had learned much about the company already. And I knew they had a reputation as one of the top strategy consultancies.”
During this internship, Malte worked on a project in Austria. “It was an intense restructuring project,” he says. “The targets were ambitious and had to be achieved within a short timeframe. So we worked closely together as a team, and we formed a very tight group.” He notes, “Overall, it was a remarkable experience, because I didn’t have the feeling that I was ‘just the Intern’. I was a full team member and I had a lot of responsibility.”
Malte left a strong impression thanks to his dedication and team spirit, and received a coveted job offer from SMC on the last day of his internship. But he still had to finish his studies, and he wanted to travel: six months around Southeast Asia and South America. “SMC was really flexible and supportive. I could finish my studies, enjoy traveling and come back knowing that I had a great job waiting for me. I really appreciated that.”
When he returned to Germany, Malte moved to Munich, where SMC’s European office is located. “It was an exciting time,” he says. “During my first project, I worked with senior management on corporate strategy topics.” On his next assignment, Malte experienced a complete change of scenery and gained valuable insights into the manufacturing process in a Siemens factory: “It was great to see how products are actually developed, how they are manufactured and how a factory works. I sat down with the factory’s Head of Production and discussed how the lead times could be reduced for particular production steps.” Malte adds, “Strategic and operational projects are two different worlds, to know and understand both benefits you immensely.”
It’s a full-power approach, and the learning curve couldn’t be compared to anything outside of consulting.Malte Hast
Life in India: Buzzing. Lively.
Malte also had the chance to spend four exciting months in India: “My mentor told me about a project opportunity in Mumbai and asked me if I was interested. Of course I said yes. It was only three weeks before the project started, so there wasn’t much time to prepare.” Living in Mumbai was an adventure: “It’s so different from Germany in many ways. It’s buzzing, it’s lively, its traffic is absolutely chaotic, and there’s amazing food everywhere. I arrived during dry season, so it was incredibly hot, around 40° Celsius. Then monsoon season started – it cooled down and began to rain heavily. The streets were flooded pretty much every day.” The working culture was also different: “It’s very appreciative,” Malte says. “I think that people celebrate success a lot more. And it’s very personal – close individual relationships are valued and maintained.”
Today, Malte focuses increasingly on future-facing topics like autonomous driving or decentralized energy: “What will the energy market look like 10, 20, 30 years from now? How much will we still rely on large central power plants? Or will everyone have solar panels on their roof?” Those are just some of the questions Malte faces every day. “It’s really exciting. I am aware that not many people who are just a few years into their careers have the opportunity to help shape a global company like Siemens.”
Working on those topics not only affects Siemens, but goes beyond: “If a player like Siemens advocates ways to make power generation more environmentally friendly, it can have a noticeable impact on society. That’s what I love about it.” Malte adds, “Our work comes with a huge degree of responsibility. As Consultants, we have to be trustworthy, thorough and precise. Of course, we cannot predict the future. At the same time, we cannot build our conclusions on results that we are only 70% confident with, either.”
The project work at SMC
At SMC, project work requires quick, curious minds to immerse themselves in complex, often uncharted fields. “We work closely with experts in different areas, researchers, think tanks. We can leverage a huge network of people and quickly get them together for in-depth discussions, interviews and workshops.” Malte notes, “It would probably take me a year to learn about autonomous driving on my own. But here, I can do the same in a few weeks, utilizing a variety of first-grade resources. It’s a full-power approach, and the learning curve couldn’t be compared to anything outside of consulting.”
“As a Consultant, you’re often confronted with topics you’re probably not too familiar with in the first place,” Malte says, “and it’s a part of your job to quickly get a deep understanding of them.” He adds, “There is probably nothing that prepares you better for any challenge in your later professional life than having worked in this field.”
I am aware that not many people who are just a few years into their careers have the opportunity to help shape a global company like Siemens.Malte Hast