Driving change in one of the world’s largest economiesAll across the globe, digital innovations are disrupting traditional industries, creating new business opportunities every day and challenging existing business models. In China, Lu Yao, Senior Consultant at Siemens Management Consulting, helps businesses succeed in times of digital disruption.
Lu Yao believes that digitalization is still in its infancy, and will change life in China even more profoundly than it already has. Digital transformation in China is currently focused on consumers, who are enthusiastically adopting new technologies and digital services like ride sharing or social media. However, Lu Yao says, “When you look into the manufacturing, energy or healthcare sector, it hasn’t fully arrived yet. There’s a big potential that we can still develop.”
From social policy to high tech: a leap into the unknown
Lu Yao’s deep knowledge of digitalization in an industry context might be surprising, as she doesn’t come from a typical engineering or technology background. She studied international political economy at Peking University, and after receiving her bachelor’s degree, she completed a Master of Science in Social Policy at the University of Oxford. With exchange semesters in Dublin and Toronto, she further expanded her wealth of international experience before she returned to Beijing.
Lu Yao decided to work in the technology sector, because she felt it would enable her to impact people’s lives directly. “I didn’t major in manufacturing or technology – I just find it so interesting. Working on projects that are closely related to Siemens’ cutting-edge technology makes me feel like I’m part of the future.” Technology’s potential to solve problems and improve people’s lives is what motivates Lu Yao. With Siemens Management Consulting, she’s found a company that reflects her values: “I think we’re doing the right thing at Siemens – really working toward making the world a better place.”
At first, she wasn’t sure if switching from social policy to strategic consulting in technology and manufacturing would be the right decision. But she took the leap and joined Siemens Management Consulting. Today she’s convinced that she made the right choice. SMC is a diverse place and team members come from a variety of professional and personal backgrounds. “For example,” says Lu Yao, “we have really tech-savvy people, others with a strong focus on economics, and people like me, who studied social policy. It’s a great mix.” This variety of complementary skills and personalities is one of SMC’s key strengths. Talking about her colleagues, Lu Yao adds, “They’re so energetic and come up with many interesting things to do. One-quarter of my colleagues are running a marathon or triathlon at least once a year. Others are designing jewelry or taking dance classes. They’re really interesting people.”
Even if you’re new to the company, you already take responsibility on a very high level.Lu Yao Song
Instant responsibility, long-term development
Lu Yao was exposed to high-level management and had significant responsibility right from the start. Just four months into her role at Siemens Management Consulting, she worked on a project that affected the whole of Siemens China. “Even if you’re new to the company, you already take responsibility on a very high level. It’s not like you’re just sitting in meetings, taking notes. You’re part of the discussion.” She adds, “I think that’s because SMC is not very hierarchical. You can openly talk to your colleagues or your superiors. They will sit down with you and help you with your questions. It’s great to know that all these brilliant people support you wherever they can.”
Being involved in a variety of important strategy projects also boosted her overall career development. “You get a deep understanding of different industries,” she says, “and you learn about the market and the customers. You understand how a large company like Siemens works. That’s something you don’t find elsewhere.”
At SMC, Lu Yao acquires new tools, methodologies and insights with every consulting project she works on – an excellent foundation for her future career, wherever it might take her.
Digitalization: challenges and opportunities
Today, Lu Yao helps Siemens businesses discover new opportunities and introduce technological innovations. “Digitalization is one of the key topics for Siemens, and as Consultants we’re often part of the teams that tackle the most challenging questions,” she says. “We identify new trends with our clients, help them to decide whether a market is interesting, and help them to develop new business models. We sit together, analyze, discuss and create a strategy that’s implementable and creates lasting change.”
Sometimes, the market doesn’t see the urgency of digital transformation or is reluctant to embrace it. But, Lu Yao says, “When we show people how digital solutions can create lasting value for the economy, while improving their own efficiency and efficacy, they become much more open. I think that’s how we can change the way people think, achieve enduring success for Siemens and improve the lives of people everywhere.”
Digitalization is one of the key topics for Siemens, and as Consultants we’re often part of the teams that tackle the most challenging questions.Lu Yao Song