HOW OUR APPLICATION PROCESS WORKS

About to take the plunge and enter the world of consulting? Timo Wölper will walk you through our application procedures at Kugler Maag Cie. The young business graduate, who also enjoys fishing, talks in an interview about the sort of things you can expect at Kugler Maag Cie and how applications are processed.

BACK TO CAREER

HELLO, MR WÖLPER. MANAGEMENT CONSULTING FIRMS ARE EVERYWHERE NOW. WHY WOULD I WANT TO APPLY SPECIFICALLY TO WORK AT KUGLER MAAG CIE?

We’re different from lots of consulting companies in terms of the things that make us tick. We believe that the starting point for excellence is enjoying what we do. And the key to that is the human factor. So it’s how we work and interact with one another. Everyone tells us that’s what gives us the edge over other companies.

The philosophy at the big strategic consulting firms is that either you go up, or you’re out. They’re under constant pressure to prove that they’re better. We’re better because we work with one another. Everyone here develops at their own pace. So it’s fun learning from others. If you want to take on more responsibility, everyone has an opportunity to grow here. But if you also feel comfortable doing what you do now, you can. It’s entirely up to you whether you decide you want to move upwards or learn something new.

YOU SAID THAT WORKING AT KUGLER MAAG CIE IS DIFFERENT.

SO WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT MY EVERYDAY WORK TO BE LIKE?

For us, consulting basically means being close to customers. I mean that in a literal sense – we spend most of our time on-premise with customers. It’s up to the individual how they organise that. So no one will give you a set of instructions for achieving the goal. Making your own decisions also entails asking for advice and getting support.

IS THERE ANY SENSE IN APPLYING TO BE A CONSULTANT AT YOUR COMPANY IF I HAVE NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE AS A CONSULTANT?

Well if you think about it, nobody is born a consultant. But if you’ve worked client-side, you know the world of business practice so you know the ins and outs, and this is the kind of know-how that determines the quality of our consulting services. Then we give you the support you need and help you put a consultant’s hat on.

SO WHAT QUALITIES WILL I NEED TO START WORKING AT KUGLER MAAG CIE? DO I NEED TO BE AN EXPERT IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY?

We’re actually quite a mixed bunch in terms of backgrounds. We’ve even got an astrophysicist and a nuclear scientist working here. One of my colleagues used to work in continuing education. She certainly didn’t know a thing about electronics development. But she has an avid interest in agile processes and team building. That was a good enough starting point for us because we want to help customers move forward. If you pool the skills of all the people who’ve worked on client-side projects in industry, it gives you a really unique mixture of difference competences. 

Quote

And being really close to the customer also means you have to prepared to travel a lot. You have to be clear about that.

Timo Wölper Kugler Maag Cie

BUT ULTIMATELY, WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT – EXPERTISE OR PERSONALITY?

Personality – without question. We have to know we can rely on each other. If we can’t, we can’t work together properly. But consultants also need strong communication skills, they need to be able to unravel complexity and show people what’s happening, they need to take a stand on things even if they meet with resistance.

AND ARE THERE ANY NASTY THINGS YOU’RE EXPECTED TO SWALLOW IF YOU WORK AS A CONSULTANT AT KUGLER MAAG CIE?

One of the things I continuously find myself having to emphasise is that being close to the customer means being willing to travel a lot. If you’re not, the job won’t work for you. Client projects aren’t always close to home.

That said, we wouldn’t be where we are today if we hadn’t thought of a sensible way to deal with this. Yes, you’ll spend quite a bit of time in hotels. But we generally manage to keep the weekends clear. Nobody wants to be away from home or their family.

SO IN TERMS OF THE ACTUAL APPLICATION PROCESS.

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY FOR ME TO SUBMIT AN APPLICATION – THE CLASSIC WAY WITH A WRITTEN APPLICATION OR CAN I BE A BIT CHEEKY AND RING YOU?

Either way’s fine by me. If you ring me, it shows you’ve got confidence. Or maybe you’d just like to work out if it’s worth applying. But at the end of the day, at some point we’ll need standard application documents so we can get a feel for you before we start interviewing.

ALL RIGHT, SO THEN I SEND YOU MY APPLICATION. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

We carefully go through your application and get back to you after a couple of days. If we can imagine working with you, we kick off a process covering three stages.

  • The first thing we do is set up a phone call. As soon as possible. Our main aim at this point is to tell you more about us. What’s the working environment like? What sort of things will you get involved in? I’m also interested in finding out what’s not right for you at the moment. Maybe we can’t actually give you what you’re looking for.
  • Then there’s a second interview. At this point it’s a face-to-face interview. Our aim now is to get to know you better, both personally and professionally. What do you have to offer that will help you fit in quickly? This meeting is probably about as close as it gets to a classic job interview.
  • If there’s a third meeting, that’s when you’ll meet our managers. At this point it’s about ironing out the contract, but also ensuring that both parties – you and us – are sure we’re on the same wavelength.

OK, FINAL QUESTION: I’VE BEEN DYING TO ASK THIS – HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE THE NAME OF YOUR COMPANY?

[Smiling:] If you’re Chinese, Kú Lé Mǎ. We get asked this a lot. I guess it’s understandable because it’s not immediately obvious what the ‘Cie’ bit means. The right way to say it is Kugler Maag ‘and Company’. The company bit - German Compagnie – is about emphasising the fact that we all work together as a company.