Perspectives and Examples from a New Joiner
I am of Indian origin and recently joined DHL Consulting to start my career as a Consultant after completing my MBA at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) and INSEAD. Needless to say, during the MBA my cohort was approached by several companies for recruitment. Typically, these companies would conduct a 30-60 min “get-to-know” presentation about themselves before kicking-off the actual recruiting activities such as applications and interviews.
International, diverse, friendly, collaborative, high exposure… are terms that almost every company threw around during their presentations to describe their culture. Let’s be real, these terms more often than not are just a honey-trap and do not reflect the truth about a company’s culture.
At DHL Consulting’s presentation, I heard these terms again and because of my interest in logistics sought to decode them by doing my own due diligence through research and asking the right questions to the employees and interviewers. Eventually, I felt that DHL Consulting and I would be the right fit for each other. Now, having joined I have been able to validate this feeling and am glad that I made the right choice for my career in consulting.
Revisiting my earlier point of these attributes being buzz words versus reality, I will exemplify how they are indeed a reality at DHL Consulting.
A career as consultant fosters personal development through five main factors
1. Diverse and international environment
The DHL Consulting team in Bonn, Germany (overall DHL Consulting has three offices worldwide) comprises of roughly 80 consultants of which about a third are non-Germans. Many large companies boast of a significant share of non-native employees, however, what distinguishes DHL Consulting is the fusion of an international mindset and communication approach in day-to-day work.
For example, when a group of German consultants are in the presence of a non-German employee, they always communicate in English which makes me feel accepted and respected. This is worth pointing out because it’s quite non-trivial in Germany and making it an “unsaid rule” at DHL Consulting helps one assimilate easily.
2. Flat hierarchy
Typically when you start a career as consultant, the entry level roles are that of a Consultant which eventually progress towards the role of a Partner with 3-4 additional levels in between. In most consulting companies, partners tend to channel their communication to consultants via the levels in between that engenders a hierarchical organization structure.
At DHL Consulting, the organization structure is refreshingly flat and partners are very approachable. I had a few weeks of downtime between being assigned my first project and the actual start of that project. As soon as I learnt of the project I would be working on, the respective partner sought me out directly to guide me through the preparatory work I could do beforehand instead of routing this communication through my reporting manager. As a result, I am very motivated to give it my best shot.
3. High Exposure and Development Opportunities
The conventional image of an entry-level employee working in consulting is of someone who sits behind the desk crunching numbers and creating slides all day while his higher-ups are out there with the client strategizing and presenting. From this point of view, DHL consultants are most certainly non-conventional.
From day one, you are expected to proactively steer your own work stream and your maturity is rewarded by valuable face-time with clients. In addition, more frequent partner interactions and encouragement to accept professional opportunities in the parent corporation Deutsche Post DHL Group makes you feel valued as your development is considered important by the company.
4. Collaborative and focus on teamwork
This is the part I like the best and can go on about endlessly. It is what makes the long hours of work exciting and fun. In a regular project teamwork is not limited to team meetings for alignment and brainstorming, it is reflected in every interaction with your peers and team members. These interactions can range from something as trivial as the liberty of cracking harmless jokes in your team to serious project work where your peers double up as your sparring partners and first check-points.
Peers and managers genuinely encourage each other and endeavor to expand the pie for everyone. Right into my first week at DHL Consulting, I had already made weekend hangout and vacation plans with my peers and they continue being my source of joy at work.
5. Value for creativity
In the first fortnight of joining DHL Consulting, I had the standard partner meeting rounds with every partner and one of the noteworthy attributes echoed by all partners unanimously was the “obligation to dissent”, i.e., the obligation to express a difference of opinion whenever it arises. In a group of people, it is natural to have differing opinions.
DHL Consulting values these differences by fostering a culture where one freely expresses one’s opinions. After experiencing multiple presentation, brainstorming and alignment meetings with colleagues at all levels in DHL Consulting, I can confidently attest that each time I brought a unique point of view to the table, I was given positive feedback on the spot which made working in consulting rewarding. Even on occasions where the point wasn’t really valid, my effort to challenge the status quo was appreciated.
If you have a creative spark, then DHL Consulting is the right place for you to start your career as consultant.
If you are interested in joining, you can view open job postings here: