I am Johannes Bisschoff, originally from South Africa. I have a business degree and currently I am in the last phases of my medical studies in Freiburg, Germany. Since I have first heard of consulting I knew that I would like to have the chance to spend time as a consultant as this would give me the opportunity to integrate my knowledge from different fields and learn valuable skills.
I made the decision to take a semester off university and use the time to get to know consulting. As my profile is best aligned with the pharmaceutical industry, I was excited to find that Bayer has an in-house consultancy that is one of the best / largest in Germany.
After much contemplation and a few interviews at different consultancies, I decided to take the chance offered to me to join BC for three months. I was persuaded by the fast, effective and pleasant way the interview and feedback was handled. I heard within three days that I was successful in my application.
Before I knew, it was time to start my first day. I was introduced to many of the consultants and received a warm welcome from all. That is one thing that really stands out at BC, during my whole time everyone was very pleasant and friendly. I was handed my laptop then had one week of ‘on-boarding’. This is a process which equipped Interns and new consultants with the tools of the trade. Everything from slide design to knowledge management was discussed in detail. This was really a great educational experience for me which would benefit me even after I leave BC. During the first days till your account is set up you may have some time without IT. You may then ask colleagues to introduce you to their work and you will have reading material to familiarize with your upcoming project.
Then it was time for me to start my first project. We worked on change management, one of the typical ‘consulting’ themes. Here I learned a lot and was seen as an integral part of the team of three and could contribute my part. Contrary to other teams, we were mostly working from the Leverkusen office and I got to know a lot of consultants and other interns also working here. Most people would be in the Leverkusen office on Fridays, the so-called office day.
After 6 weeks I had the opportunity to move on to another project. One of the Business Units of the Pharmaceutical Division intended to adjust their internal processes. This was a project with huge dimensions consisting of many workstreams with everything from research and development to marketing. It also had an international component, and we were in constant contact with colleagues for instance from Brazil, Poland, and Italy.
It was a perfect way to integrate my medical knowledge and also my business knowledge. My team consisted of a project leader and two senior consultants. All three of them had a vast experience in marketing related work and I could really learn a lot from them! This time I had the opportunity to join my team on three occasions in Berlin and get to know our client in person – a valuable experience.
Only when I arrived here, I realized that consulting also entails quite a bit of work on internal projects. Within BC there are practices with a certain focus. For example, the Sales and Marketing practice has meetings and trainings with a focus on sales and marketing. They are responsible for content in this regard and form the contact for other people working on projects with sales and marketing components. There is also a so called colloquium every month where interesting topics are discussed and all consultants and interns attend. After the meeting everyone eats together and it is quite social!
All in all I had a good time at BC. It is a very pleasant environment with everyone willing to assist you and helping you make the most of your time. I was surrounded by high-potentials and got the intellectual stimulation to excel. Work life balance is something that is not only a phrase – it is reality. However being fully integrated in the team, it was definitely not a nine to five job to get the work done. But the times I worked was always agreeable to me and allowed me to make most of my social life and do a lot of sport.
Although I did have the possibility to occasionally meet with clients, it is generally more difficult for interns at BC to meet clients and attend meetings – although I originally thought it would be much easier as BC is part of the company. This would be a possibility to get to know the client and also contribute more to the project. I would have wished to have had more of that. I was fortunate that my team kept me up to date on happenings where I could not attend.
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