Sebastian Besser

Anyone with a business degree is often drawn to management consulting. But what does a consultant's day-to-day work actually look like? ISM alumnus Sebastian Besser is a manager at MHP - A Porsche Company, one of Germany's leading consultancies for mobility and IT. In this interview, Sebastian tells us about his work and promising developments in consulting.

You work as a manager at MHP, a management consultancy that belongs to Porsche. What kind of services does MHP offer?

MHP is one of the leading management consultancies in the areas of mobility and digitalization in Germany. The consulting firm was founded in 1996 and is now 82% owned by Porsche AG. (The company name MHP is made up of the names of the two founders "Mieschke" and "Hofmann" and "Partner"). As digitization experts, we deal in particular with issues relating to mobility and manufacturing. Here, a lot revolves around forward-looking topics such as artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, but also customer experience. In addition to comprehensive IT expertise, we offer our customers above all excellent management and process know-how. We also deal with solutions in the area of digital transformation, for example SAP implementation or issues relating to the handling of big data and digital services. Our customers include major automotive groups and the supplier industry, but we have also implemented projects in the mobility sector.

How did you get into consulting?

Even as a young boy, I was fascinated by cars and airplanes. I have retained this passion to this day. After graduating from ISM with a bachelor's degree in International Management, I completed my master's degree in Finance and Business and gained initial work experience at Lufthansa in Hong Kong, BMW in Munich and Porsche in Stuttgart. These initial experiences at different companies provided a very good basis for joining MHP as a Junior Consultant. After starting in 2017, I moved up relatively quickly from Junior Consultant to Manager.

 sebastian besser taycan function on demand 50KB

What does a typical day look like for you?

As a project manager, there's no such thing as a typical working day for me. My job is incredibly varied. I really appreciate the mix of on-site and remote work: on the one hand, I can meet existing and new customers and conduct workshops on-site, but on the other hand, my home office also gives me time to enjoy life with my family as much as possible. When I have on-site appointments, I often stay in the cities where my customers are located. Each location and client has its own advantages and challenges, which makes the work so special for me.

What are the specific issues that concern you in your projects?

The automobile will change more in the next 10 years than in the previous 100 years. The networking of vehicles, electro mobility, autonomous driving - these are megatrends that will permanently change the car as we know it.

So for us, a lot is currently revolving around the vehicle as a rolling computer. So we have to think about what the future holds in terms of mobility, and what will be important to customers at the various car manufacturers in the future. I'm currently leading a project in the area of cyber security and data privacy. The more a car resembles a computer, the more developers have to protect vehicles from potential hacker attacks. The topic of cyber security, but also data protection in particular, as well as legal issues in dealing with autonomous driving and artificial intelligence, need to be completely rethought.

What do you value about your project work?

We are positioned at the spearhead of digital transformation through our consulting function. You can learn an incredible amount on the projects because you perceive so many influences. It almost feels like an additional degree sometimes. What I also like about the position as Level Manager is that I'm involved in the topics both operationally, but at the same time I also have commercial responsibility. Another point is the cooperation in a motivated team. I really enjoy exchanging ideas within the team, developing the best ideas and working together to successfully complete a project. Another factor is the company itself: Young and dynamic colleagues, exciting and highly attractive projects in terms of content, excellent development opportunities and a very pleasant working atmosphere. The combination of all these factors coupled with a great company car make MHP an excellent employer for me.

You are also happy to lend your know-how to the ISM for excursions or for guest lectures. What do you like about the exchange with students?

I always find it exciting to get to know new perspectives. Even though I am "only" about 10 years older than most of the students, a lot has happened in those 10 years. Social media is a good catchword. When it comes to media, Generation Z is much more dynamic, and there is a lot to be learned from them.

02 sebastian besserSebastian Besser with Peter Caracciolo (Partner at MHP and Head of the MHP Office in Frankfurt) and students at ISM Frankfurt

Also, I have studied International Management at the ISM myself. Studying at the ISM gave me great pleasure and now I am very happy to pass on my experiences to the students. When I give a guest lecture, I try to give them an authentic insight into the consulting work at MHP and to get them excited about the topic of mobility. I also find it remarkable that the young generation still attracts immense interest in the traditional Porsche brand. I am always positively surprised by the fresh ideas the students bring to a discussion or workshop. Peter Caracciolo, Partner at MHP and Office Head of the Frankfurt office, also participated in several presentations by students. He was so impressed by their achievements that he offered the participants to contact us to start their jobs.

What skills are important for starting a job in consulting?

Above all, it is important for me to sharpen the students' view of our topic area and customer work. Of course, this includes good knowledge of standard programs such as PowerPoint and Excel. In addition, excellent presentation skills, as well as a high level of social competence, are particularly helpful. When starting out, junior consultants get to know many areas that include project management as well as administrative and operational work. In addition to business know-how, our field also has an affinity for IT topics, because the handling of data is becoming increasingly important. But if you are open and interested, you can learn most of it "on the job".

Images: Taycan Function on Demand, MHP, private

Karin Gessler

Karin Gessler

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