On core competencies in consulting work - Hanna Hellenbroich-Schrader (Human Resources Management actori) in conversation with Daniel Fetzer on his career change
Hanna: Hello Daniel, nice to have you here today.
You've been a permanent member of the actori team for five years now and you have been always enthusiastic about it. That's nice to see. What motivated you to apply for a job at actori back then?
Daniel: Hello, Hanna. Like for many other consultants, for me, as an industrial engineer, it had been a career change working for actori. At that time, I was about to move to the south of Germany, looking for a new challenge. Through friends I became aware of actori. I have always enjoyed working with numbers and handling complex projects, so one thing led to another.
Hanna: What did you think you could expect in a strategy consultancy like actori? And has that been confirmed?
Daniel: A lot of varied projects, which has 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 familiarize 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 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 always provides new impulses and enriches the work in the team in many ways.
Hanna: Consultants generally have the reputation of "thinking analytically, arguing numerically and presenting soberly" ... would you say from your experience today that this is true?
Daniel: These clichés are certainly true, but in a positive sense. As consultants, we are asked for a variety of different assignments, such as personnel and organizational studies, business planning, strategic reorientation, feasibility studies or market and competition analyses, to name just a few. An analysis is the most important part to start with (data, facts and figures). However, individual circumstances and practical experience are just as important. Numbers can tell a lot from paper but also leave room for interpretation. Only by including the framework conditions or practice, a comprehensive picture emerges.
Hanna: What is a classic project approach like?
Daniel: The primary goal is quite often the same - we develop proposals for solutions as basis for decision-making-processes by 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 familiarize ourselves step by step with the client and his tasks. During the project there are always meetings or interim presentations. Of course, we also visit our clients and, depending on the project, visit theatres or museums. Workshops can also be part of a project. At the end, recommendations for action are made to support the client in their decision and in the implementation process. Usually, our commissions end here and the strategic roadmap we have drawn up is followed by practical implementation.
Hanna: So, you should have a high affinity for numbers and analytics for consulting work, but are there other qualities that are important?
Daniel: Yes, the basic analytical framework must be in place. Then there is the flexibility to be able to quickly adopt to new topics. After all, we are commissioned by institutions to provide independent expertise. The intensive examination of diverse topics is daily business, and you have to like that. At the same time, you must be able to identify which aspects will matter in the outcome and which aspects have influence on the outcome. 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, you have an advantage if you are well organized and get along well with your team.
Hanna: Dear Daniel, thank you very much, as always, a personal question to finish: How do you recover after a tight work week?
Daniel: I like to be out in the mountains and sit on my bike. Afterwards, a delicious meal and a good wine - that's all it takes for me to recharge my batteries.
Hanna: Thanks for the insight into your job, Daniel.
Daniel: My pleasure!