Johannes Frank spent five years at KPMG before taking a year out to study an MBA at Copenhagen Business School. Now settled in the Danish capital—working in strategy and corporate development with software firm SimCorp—he’s seeing how an MBA can enhance your career in consulting.
Entering the business world wasn’t always on the cards for Johannes. After finishing high school in Germany, he attended a full-day workshop designed to point his career in the right direction.
He was told he was clearly leaning towards law or business administration. Luckily, he opted for the latter, and hasn’t looked back since.
An undergraduate degree in business administration was followed by a consulting internship with KPMG Germany. Johannes’ plan was to follow this with a corporate internship, and then pursue a masters before working full-time.
Five years later—three spent in strategy consulting and two as an executive assistant to the CEO—he finally returned to school.
What an MBA can teach a consultant
Johannes picked Copenhagen because of the sustainability focused curriculum—many Copenhagen MBAs start careers in sustainability after graduating—and the entrepreneurial, innovative vibe he got from the school.
He also went on exchange to Oslo, Norway, during his undergraduate degree, and was attracted to the Scandinavian way of life, the economy, and the idea of working for a flat organization.
After a consulting career, he says one of the biggest values of an MBA is the leadership development aspect of the program.
“We learned about leadership as a function through many different eyes,” he says. “What it means to be a good leader, and what it means to be someone who is also good to lead.”
The Leadership Discovery Process (LDP) on the Copenhagen MBA runs throughout the course, developing students both personally and professionally through action-based learning, mentorship, and self-awareness and empathy training.
Johannes says that in his role with SimCorp he is using the principles he learned on a daily basis.
His role involves reaching out to lots of different stakeholders across the company, and he explains that the MBA taught him to engage in conversation with people from a plethora of business units.
“It helped me to work with different types of people in an industry that was new to me. I’m able to understand people better, adapt myself and the way I work to their needs and their way of working.”
The value of diversity on an MBA
How much do you learn from your peers on the MBA?
“A lot, really a lot,” Johannes says.
What he always tells his friends when they talk about it is that when he was working for KPMG, he was there for five years, and after a while the way he and his colleagues looked at problems was the same.
They were all consultants, all KPMG, majority German, and mostly had the same way of looking at things. When he then arrived on the MBA, Johannes explains that he was in a classroom with people from a whole array of countries and industries.
“Discussing problems with these types of people has really opened my eyes in a way that I didn’t think was possible,” he says.
“It’s eye opening to see how much these discussions and daily contact with people from different backgrounds really changed the way I looked at things.”
Johannes credits this with his ability to now take a 360 degree look at leadership—being both a strong leader and a good person to lead.
He also says the diverse environment in the MBA classroom improves your ability to better understand and connect to people.
How the MBA enhanced my career
After graduating, Johannes landed a role with SimCorp, a company that provides investment management solutions for the world’s leading investment firms. He’s the company’s business analyst for group strategy and corporate development.
His role encompasses running strategic development and deployment. More or less all projects, he says, are cross functional and touch on more than just a few business areas.
He says that one of the great things about the MBA is that it doesn’t just prepare you to be a good manager, or a good leader within one specific business area. It provides you with the necessary tools to help you navigate an entire business.
“For me, the MBA was a good opportunity to get out of the corporate hamster wheel and get a different perspective on things.
“I’ve learned to be more open to other people’s perspectives and viewpoints, to moderate discussions in a better way, and to take more out of discussions with people who have different views to my own.”