where change happens.
Entrepreneurial spirit: More than a company badge – It's something that fosters agility!
Nov 1, 2016
When I started my career at Roland Berger more than 4 years ago, my intention was clear: I wanted to join one of the leading consultancies with smart people to challenge my analytical mindset, to gain as many insights as possible into different industries, to broaden my horizons every day, and to learn methodologies for solving any situation no matter how complex it might be.
I have always believed that the qualities attributed to Roland Berger would help me to pursue my own career. From the outset, I was quite sure about this path, even though I had to give up my other idea, which was to start my own business. Becoming an entrepreneur, striving for your own ideas, being innovative and, sometimes, even taking a risky path have always been part of my vision. When I joined Roland Berger, I thought I'd have to put this idea on hold. It was way beyond my comprehension that my dream was actually getting closer because one of the core values of Roland Berger, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship (along with excellence and empathy), is lived by its people every day.
For some time now, digitization has been forcing established companies to become more innovative again. Several industries are finding it hard to cope with the challenge of becoming innovative. Many organizations have forgotten how to build products and services that will remain relevant for their customers. As we all know, the internet and new technologies (such as mobile phones) have changed consumption patterns. They are transforming the way people gather information, interact and, in effect, run their daily lives. The result is that products, standards and whole business models have become outdated. So, more than ever before, corporates are under pressure to be innovative and rediscover their entrepreneurial roots.
Consultants in our Digital Competence Center deal with these questions every day. We discuss with top executives in the automotive industry how profit pools will shift when people start driving autonomous cars. We explain to financial institutions how startups are unbundling their value chain by offering more convenient services concurrently. We play out disruptive scenarios and formulate the right strategies. We are the mediators between disruptive players, characterized by dynamic, agile and brave startups or tech giants, and the traditional corporate world.
Digitization is so much more: In January we launched the Spielfeld Digital Hub, an innovation space and platform located in the German capital, Berlin, which, along with London and Tel Aviv, is the most innovative hot spot in Europe. We have taken consulting to a new level by going beyond just developing strategies to actively launching distinct digital initiatives with our clients. We are joining forces with innovators, startups, developers and experts to build products and services that are state-of-the art. Moreover, and equally importantly, we act as an interface between both worlds. We educate employees in creative methodologies, create awareness of the dynamics of the digital world, and give them a toolkit to build digital products as quickly and as innovatively as startups. At the same time we host startups, offering them access to our consulting expertise and, of course, to our clients.
I've been working on the Spielfeld Digital Hub concept since Day One and am now its managing director, responsible for growing this new business venture in Berlin. It has given me the freedom to act as an entrepreneur myself, and enabled me to achieve my own vision. I am grateful that Roland Berger gave me the opportunity and the support to make this dream come true. Today I know that company values, especially at Roland Berger, go beyond mere words and are adhered to in practice every single day!
Digital disruption in the banking industry
Dec 21, 2015
Every project comes to an end and new challenges arise. I spent the past months working for a German premium OEM in the automotive industry and discussing digital challenges. With lasting experiences from my travels to Beijing I then took my holidays at the beginning of November. I spent two relaxing weeks in Tarifa (Spain) and enjoyed the last days of summer with extensive kite surfing sessions. Taking holidays at Roland Berger is easy. You can easily go on holidays between two projects or even during a project if the team set up allows it. After my trip to Tarifa I returned relaxed and motivated to work, ready to start my next project.
I'm now located in Frankfurt. Frankfurt is the banking center of Germany and a city of contrasts. Wealthy bankers, students and granola drop-outs coexist in a city that has some of the highest, most avant-garde skyscrapers of Europe next to well-maintained old buildings. My client is a leading German bank, needing support to succeed the digital transformation.
Similar to the automotive industry, the banking industry is challenged by the issue of digitization. The digital transformation is changing the way customers bank and the way banks interacts with them. At the same time new players are shaking up the industry. Startups such as Number26 and auxmoney design convenient products much faster and agile than banks do. Tech giants such as Google, Amazon and Apple unite to promote tech-friendly changes to the financial services sector. Also the technology is changing, more and more people are getting familiar to mobile payment or P2P-lending. In this changing landscape established banks face significant challenges.
With a small team of 6 consultants we sensitize the top management of the bank to understand the upcoming digital era and to identify chances and risks. Again we collaborate closely with our partners from our Terra Numerata network to define the best suited digital agenda for our client. Inspiration tours to London and Berlin will follow to meet and exchange perspectives with players at the forefront of innovation.
For me the project will end in January. I will move on to Berlin and support the start of our newly founded Roland Berger Digital Hub. I'm looking forward to this exciting job and will share my experiences in my next blog entry. In the meantime, I wish you all a relaxing holiday season and a good start into the New Year.
Inhaling the spirit of the Chinese startup scene
Sep 3, 2015
We are living in a fast spinning world: digitalization, urbanization, new technologies indicate a wave of changes in customers' lifestyles, desires and demands. As a consequence, several industries are going to change a lot in the next few decades. New business models emerge and the competitive landscape might also change. As it is often the case when an industry is going to be turned upside-down, there are actually a number of separate things happening, which feed on each other and accelerate the pace of transition.
When it comes to my projects, I support clients to cope with the accelerated speed and especially with the digital transformation. Besides working with our clients, I spend a lot of time identifying and meeting players at the forefront of innovation (e.g. startups, venture capitalists). Often I find myself acting as mediator between the startup scene and traditional corporations. In that context I also take our clients on a journey to meet these very fast acting and agile young corporations, willing to disrupt whole industries.
I recently returned from such a journey with one of my clients. We escaped from existing routines and flew to Beijing (China) to be guests at some of the most promising and disruptive companies. China is known as the world's power engine (even though their stock exchange crashed recently) and is a vibrant and very innovative metropolis. It was eye-opening to see how Chinese consumers are much more advanced in using digital technologies compared to us in Europe. Trends and business models that are currently emerging in Europe are already standard in China (e.g. mobile payment).
With a small delegation of 10 people we met tech giants such as Alibaba or LeTV, young startups with disruptive ideas such as yongche or venture capitalists such as infinity.ventures to challenge our perspectives and get external impulses for our project. It was a fascinating spirit and an uplifting atmosphere where everyone was able to connect with one another. For me, most impressive was the success story of Alibaba. It is amazing to see how Jack Ma crafted a giant with products such as Taobao, Alipay or Kungfu, not only disrupting one but several industries.
The schedule over the 4 days we spent in Beijing was quite tight. Therefore, I arrived earlier during the weekend to get the last organizational issues done. That gave me some time to explore the ancient part of the city by climbing up the Great Chinese Wall, which is with a length of 21.196 km one of the biggest constructions in the world.
In the evenings we enjoyed great Chinese and Asian fusion food; it was delicious and strengthened our ties with the client. At the end, these days have been a great success. All the inspirations empowered our project- and client team to see the future with its upcoming challenges and opportunities much clearer. Being back in Germany, we are now working hard to enable the future.
At a glance
- Received a B.Sc. in General Management at Catholic University Eichstätt-Ingolstadt and M.Sc. from HHL – Leipzig Graduate School of Management
- Industry skills in Retail & Consumer Goods and Automotive
- Since 2012: Roland Berger, Munich, with a focus on digitalization strategies, business model generation and marketing & sales
- Languages: German, English, French
- Interests and hobbies: Travelling and inhaling the spirit of foreign countries, but also skiing/snowboarding in the Alps – close to Munich. Hanging out with friends and enjoying great dinners is how I can relax best
- Photo credits Urban Zintel