How I got the job and why I chose Roland Berger:
I have always wanted a career which is intellectually stimulating and highly varied, so I knew that management consulting was for me. I applied for the Junior Consultant role during the milk round in my final year at university. After the first stage which involved a CV and cover letter screening, I was invited to sit a test and then two rounds of case study interviews with employees of increasing seniority.
I chose Roland Berger primarily because I liked the atmosphere and employees most when comparing them to the other consulting firms I was in the process of interviewing with. In addition, Roland Berger London has a large enough international presence to give employees the opportunity to gain international experience, and yet small enough that there is little hierarchy within the office.
What my role entails:
Graduates start work immediately after induction! Although no two projects are the same, a significant proportion of the work in the London office is split between strategy projects and commercial due diligence. Graduates usually start off by populating specific slides, and within a year they start to be responsible for an entire section of the project. The initial pieces of work usually involve reading material from the client to understand the market and context of the project, followed by research on the subject matter. Within a few months you're looking at financial statements of companies and reading market reports to come to a view of the market. There is usually some Excel work too, but creation of a complete market or revenue model is something you learn over time. Client contact might be relatively limited to calls at the beginning, but as you become more experienced there will be opportunities to present your work directly to clients.
All graduates start off with a two-week training ("Kick-off") in Germany with other new joiners from European offices. The kick-off covers consulting skills, an introduction to the corporate culture and it's also a great opportunity to network! Senior colleagues at the office occasionally organise informal training sessions, for example Excel formulae or business writing, which prove to be quite handy. In addition, all employees have up to five days a year to attend formal training, which range from strategy, presentation skills, lateral thinking, or even stress management. I will be attending a three-day strategy training this November (2018). Monthly mentorship meetings are also organised to help continue our development.
My highlights so far:
My most memorable project was a two-month long strategy project in Boston, of which I volunteered to work on. The project was for a chemicals company and we were required to identify opportunities in adjacent end-markets where the client could take their technology to. Travelling for business and working with colleagues from a different office (and culture) was an amazing learning experience, both for my professional and personal development. In the London office the projects I've worked on have been based on targets in a wide range of markets, from holiday parks to utility companies to probiotics, which have also been enjoyable.
What I enjoy about being a Junior Consultant:
The biggest plus of the job is the variety. As mentioned, no two projects are the same. There is always something new to learn on every project and this makes the job interesting. Of course, it can be quite challenging when the subject matter is not very relatable, such as conveyor belts or components of aircraft. However, the intellectual challenge of understanding a market, analysing competitors and trends, then presenting findings in a coherent manner is what I enjoy about the job.
As staffing is project-based, it means I get to work with different colleagues on every project. In a large office, it is easy to become isolated and only know a small number of colleagues. However, as the London office is only 65 people, this isn’t a problem and project teams are not usually the same, so I have worked with most colleagues at some point, and this creates an environment in which everyone knows each other as more than a "hi-bye" colleague. To me, colleagues are no less important than the actual job itself, and it is the people who make me enjoy my job.
The challenges I've faced and how I've overcome them:
As with any new job, settling in and finding out how things work in the office is challenging but all graduates get a buddy to whom they can ask even the most trivial questions. Other than that, most of the challenges I have faced are technical-related, such as the use of specific formulae in Excel or making slides that best illustrate the messages to the client. The project managers and more senior colleagues are always happy to help because every consultant's work is needed and valued by the client.
Why I like working for Roland Berger:
I like the work hard and play hard culture at Roland Berger. Yes, hours may be occasionally long but we have monthly office lunches and work drinks on a "Super Friday". In addition, I like the twice-yearly company events, the summer event (where we went to Lisbon this year) and Christmas party, during which everyone lets their hair down after months of hard work. On top of this we also have quarterly ''fun committee'' organised events such as bowling and ping pong. The company values everyone's contribution and that means time will always be set aside for fun after a hectic project!