Nina Rosenbaum — who is studying a master’s degree in international management at the University of Cologne — has regularly heard the name ‘DHL Consulting’ over the last few years. “I couldn’t fail to miss it!” she says. “DHL Consulting is a partner on my program and also attends university-organized events, workshops, and speed recruiting sessions. Plus, someone from DHLC gave a guest lecture on one of my courses. After that, I was in touch with the recruiting team and applied for a summer internship.”
Nina decided that this opportunity was too good to miss, particularly as she was looking for consulting experience. “I’d completed internships with other companies but had zero experience as a consultant,” she says. “Specifically I was interested in in-house consulting, which is the role DHL Consulting plays for the DPDHL Group. I liked the idea of everyone being part of the same organization and working together towards the same goal.”
So Nina — who has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Hamburg and is now in the final year of her master’s — successfully applied to DHL Consulting in January 2021 and started a three-month, full-time internship with the title of ‘Visiting Consultant’. “I was a bit concerned that I didn’t have a supply chain background, because at DHLC I thought I would need one!” she admits. “But I quickly found out that this wasn’t a problem at all.”
After her management consulting internship ended, Nina returned to university to finish her degree and consider her future. It’s a summer that has given her real food for thought, she admits. “I really enjoyed my time at DHLC,” says Nina. “Perhaps my career lies in consulting.”
What Impressed You Most About DHL Consulting?
Many things, but I liked the focus on diversity and international culture. The DHL Consulting team comes from countries across the world. I think a lot of companies say they foster an international culture — but DHLC actually does.
What Did You Do During Your Management Consulting Internship at DHLC?
I was assigned to a cost benefit analysis project regarding the digitalization of processes for one of DPDHL’s major business units. The project fitted nicely with the start and end of my internship. It began in July and ended in September, so I was there right from the beginning and was able to see it through to the final deliverables and the last meeting.
Who Were You Working With?
I was part of a small team. There was one project manager/associate partner, one senior consultant — and me. I mainly worked with the senior consultant who encouraged me to ask questions and give my own ideas and input. He also gave me a lot of general background about life as a consultant, and what successful completion of the project would mean for the DPDHL Group.
It was great to have access to that kind of insight. Plus we had weekly feedback sessions about my work and how the project was developing. That sounds intense, but it was actually very relaxed and informative.
What Level of Responsibility Were You Given?
A high level. I was responsible for my own workstream, but I was also given different tasks throughout my internship. More responsibility made me feel valued and trusted.
Was It a Flexible Role?
It was entirely flexible. DHL Consulting has a hybrid work policy that gives all team members flexibility about where they work. I could decide whether I wanted to work from home or the office.
I prefer going into the office because you get to meet lots of different people and learn more about the culture of the organization that way. But I did work from home from time to time. And it was never a problem if I needed to call my university tutor to talk through any issues regarding my degree.
What Sort of Networking Opportunities Did You Have at DHLC?
I was very lucky because my internship started just as Covid restrictions were lifting, so I was able to get involved in various social and networking events. Many of these were officially organized. For example, there were colleague dinners, Beers with Peers on Fridays after work, and there was an Olympic-themed summer event with different sports and games.
Also, we’d have ‘coffee roulette’ where you’d be matched at random with a DHL Consulting colleague and have a coffee with them. I had coffee over Teams with colleagues from DHLC’s Singapore and Miami offices. Other events were unofficial and more ad hoc. On Friday, for instance, we’d meet in the kitchen or office and grab a coffee or a beer — and then we’d all go out after work. These things help you build contacts and create a better, more collegiate relationship.
As an Intern, What Kind of Support Did You Have?
Apart from the direct support I got from my team, Gesa Jaekel — an Associate Partner in our Bonn office — was assigned to be my personal developer. Gesa specializes in IT which was great for me because technology, innovation and digitalization were exactly the skills I wanted to develop.
What Form Did Her Support Take?
We had bi-weekly personal development meetings to talk about any challenges I was experiencing with the project. We’d also discuss how I saw my career developing, what I wanted to learn on the internship, the kinds of tasks I wanted to be involved in and any strengths I had that I was keen to develop further. If I had a question about anything, I knew I could ask Gesa and she’d give me advice — and that was invaluable. Plus, she was Partner on my project, so we saw each other in work meetings, too.
I also had a buddy assigned to me from day one who would answer any questions about any aspect of DHL Consulting. You know: ‘Who do I see about this?’ ‘Where do I go for that?’ I thought that was a really good idea, particularly when you are new to the organization. The HR team is also always there to help and is very approachable.
What Skills Did You Learn During Your Management Consulting Internship?
It sharpened my analytical skills and my practical skills. I learned a lot about how to interact with clients, for instance. It also taught me how to thrive under pressure because we only had a relatively short time to deliver results to a high level. This meant I had to quickly get up to speed to understand the overall picture before I could start drilling down into the detail.
Of course, I can only speak for the project that I was involved in, but I really do feel as though I now understand what it’s like to be a consultant. When I think back to how I was when I started, I feel I’ve grown in knowledge and experience.
What Would Be Your Advice to Anyone Thinking of Applying to DHLC for a Management Consulting Internship?
Do it! And when you’re there, make sure you take advantage of all the social and networking opportunities they offer, because that’s the best way to get to know the job, the people, and the DHLC culture. Don’t be shy. Try everything that’s possible. Jump in!