"It always starts with data, facts and figures - a profound analysis is the be-all and end-all."

About core competencies in consulting work - Hanna Hellenbroich-Schrader (Human Resources Management actori) talks to Daniel Fetzer about his start at actori.


Hello, dear Daniel, it's nice to have you here with me today for an interview. You have been a permanent member of the actori team for five years now and have always been enthusiastic about it. That's good to see. What motivated you to apply for a job at actori back then?
Hello, Hanna. Like many other consultant, as an industrial engineer I am more of a career changer in cultural consulting. At that time I was about to move to the south and was looking for a new challenge. Through friends I became aware of actori. Dealing with numbers and handling complex projects has always been a lot of fun for me and so one thing led to another.

What did you think you could expect in a strategy consultancy like actori? And has that been confirmed?
A lot of varied projects, which has also been confirmed! Right from the start I found it very exciting that actori, with its focus on the area of culture, occupies a niche that has a high social relevance. This was completely new territory for me, so I had to acquire industry knowledge and also familiarise myself with the way a consultant works. Before, I mainly sat on the other side and was very hands-on. The rapid change from one project to another and the quick immersion in different topics was and is always a big challenge. I also didn't expect that many other colleagues also had such different "backgrounds", which I was pleasantly surprised about. This in particular always provides new impulses and enriches the work in the team in many places.

Counsellors generally have the reputation of "thinking analytically, arguing numerically and presenting soberly" ... would you say from your experience today that this is true?
These clichés are certainly true, but in a positive sense. As consultants, we are asked for a wide variety of assignments, such as personnel and organisational studies, business planning, strategic reorientation, feasibility studies or market and competition analyses, to name just a few. An analysis is the be-all and end-all for all questions. It always starts with data, facts and figures. They are our daily working material, because without this basis we cannot draw up any analyses. However, individual circumstances and practical experience are just as important. Numbers can tell me a lot on paper and leave room for interpretation, but only when I also include the framework conditions or practice does a comprehensive picture emerge.

What is a classic project approach like?
The primary goal is almost always the same - to develop proposals for solutions and a basis for decision-making for our clients. It is important to always remain objective and to look at the situation from a "bird's eye view". We start with a status quo analysis, in which we receive data from the client and collect data ourselves through interviews and research. In this way, we familiarise ourselves step by step with the client and his task. During the project there are always meetings or interim presentations. Of course, we also visit our clients and, depending on the project, visit theatres and their programmes or museums. Workshops can also be part of a project. At the end, recommendations for action are made to support the client in his decision and in the implementation process. This is usually where our assignments end and the strategic roadmap we have drawn up is followed by practical implementation.

So, you should have a high affinity for numbers and analytics for consulting work, but are there other qualities that are important?
Yes, the basic analytical framework must be in place. Then there is the flexibility to be able to familiarise oneself with new topics at short notice. After all, we are commissioned by institutions with the aim of providing independent expertise. The intensive examination of diverse topics is the order of the day for us, and you have to like that. At the same time, you have to identify very quickly which aspects will be important in the result and which aspects will have no influence on the result. Personally, I find it particularly important to invest time in data research, to work accurately and to pay attention to details. In addition, you should be able to deal with a certain amount of pressure due to deadlines. Here, those who are well organised and can work well in a team have an advantage.

Dear Daniel, thank you very much, as always, a personal question to finish: How do you relax after a tight work week?
I like to be out in the mountains and sit on my bike a lot. Afterwards, a delicious meal and a good wine - that's all it takes for me to recharge my batteries.

Thank you for the detailed insight into your life as a consultant, dear Daniel.
You're welcome!