In a global business landscape that’s constantly changing, the most valuable skill a person can have is the ability to adapt. CEMS has spent over 30 years refining a unique curriculum with a focus on developing a global mindset that’s delivered locally, in collaboration with the top academic institutions all around the world. Coursework is given real-world application through our close alliance with corporate and social partners — creating invaluable connections, collaborations and experiences. Many CEMS students and graduates have chosen to work with CEMS Corporate Partners. In this interview series, we investigate how they have been doing
Today, we catch up with David Weber, who graduated from CEMS just last year, completing his CEMS year at the University of Cologne and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He is now a Senior Business Analyst at A.T. Kearney and has shared his journey with us.
1. Why did you choose to work for A.T. Kearney?
I decided to start my professional career with an external consulting firm, in order to be able to dive into a variety of topics and industries, to work in diverse teams and to benefit from a steep learning curve. During the interview phase with different consulting companies, I found out that for me A.T. Kearney has the best fit mainly due to its project focus, the down-to-earth attitude and the ambitious targets the company has set in its “Vision 2020”.
2. What do you do there?
Right after my start in April 2015, I was staffed on my first project and fully integrated in the project team at the client site. The scope of tasks is wide and ranges from conducting interviews, preparing hypotheses, analyses and models, to presenting the results. At A.T. Kearney every team member is responsible for a part of the overall project work. That means that even as a recent graduate you have a certain work stream you need to take care of and you are responsible for.
During my first eight months, I had the chance to work on three projects which allowed me to work within highly diverse and international teams, to travel to more than eight countries and to gain experience in different topics and industries. Besides the daily project work, our corporate culture at A.T. Kearney expects you to be engaged in firm building activities such as publications, recruiting or internal projects. I personally enjoy the participation in recruiting activities very much as it gives me the opportunity to promote A.T. Kearney as well as our way of working and to stay in touch with the CEMS community and my former universities at the same time.
3. How did you get the job?
A.T. Kearney was present at several events during my studies and thus I got a first impression of the firm and its consultants. At the end of my studies, I applied for a permanent position at A.T. Kearney and got invited for interviews in Düsseldorf. The recruitment process is very well organized and includes several interviews with consultants at different levels of the hierarchy.
At the end of the last interview, I directly received an offer. Even though the interviews were challenging, the extensive interview process gave me the possibility to get to know the people at A.T. Kearney. It was of tremendous value to me to find out whether I could imagine to spend a big portion of my future (working) life with them – from the hotel breakfast in the morning to a beer at the bar after a long working day.
4. What has been the highlight of your job?
A definite highlight is the possibility to work together with very smart and diverse people in a very dynamic environment on a daily basis. Taking this as a benefit instead of a given makes it easier to tackle the daily challenges and get up again after a setback.
5. What makes working at A. T. Kearney unique?
For me it is a combination of different elements that currently offers me the most for my professional life and my career development. Amongst others it is the internationality of project assignments, the level of diversity of project teams as well as the possibilities A.T. Kearney is offering for personal and professional growth and development.
6. How has your CEMS MIM degree helped in your role?
The multiple group projects in international teams I had during my CEMS studies prepared me well to work in a company where collaboration is of utmost importance and goes beyond geographic borders. The ability to be open-minded towards the unknown and face new tasks and challenges with interest and curiosity instead of reluctance was shaped and strengthened during my CEMS studies. This is of great help to master my job. Moreover, at A.T. Kearney we have a lot of CEMS alumni. The common CEMS background provides you with a good basis to build a strong internal network.
7. The CEMS program is often considered to be a bridge between the academic and corporate world. Do you agree? In what way?
Through the close linkage between the academic and the corporate world, the CEMS program enables an early and extensive exchange between students and their potential future employers and colleagues. This is a win-win situation for both sides and enforces the position of the CEMS program as a unique and valuable program for all involved stakeholders.