Christian Schnitzler (CEMS 13), Vice President / Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company
Christian Schnitzel has always been very interested in living in different countries; throughout his work experience and education, he has been exposed to a variety of geographies, including Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, South America and East Asia. Now, as Vice President / Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company he is responsible for the daily management of the engagement and lead several consultants in our core work with clients in Germany.
– In your current position as Vice President / Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, what challenges do you face?
As a consultant and Engagement Manager, I work directly with clients. Together we develop tailor-made solutions for client problems, formulate and test hypotheses, discuss insights derived from analysis, set priorities and next steps for the project, and ensure that we are all working towards the required end products.
I am also responsible for the McKinsey team on site. In this role, I work with my colleagues in a collaborative setting, supporting them and coaching them to scope and design analyses, set priorities, and synthesize insights from analyses and interviews. Beyond working with the team, I secure the alignment with the responsible McKinsey partner and manage how McKinsey’s global network of experts is involved, which differs for every engagement.
All of this requires a clear process and smooth management approach that involves all relevant stakeholders early and regularly without creating bottlenecks.
– You work specifically in recovery and transformation situations and sometimes support clients going through very difficult times. What fascinates you in this area?
Recovery and transformation situations are unique and often very challenging for companies. We support clients in two types of situations: corporate restructuring, in which they face significant financial and operational challenges that pose a threat to their very existence, and turnaround and transformation, in which they aspire to take a radical, sustainable step up in performance.
In both cases, the opportunity for tangible impact is huge because we review every aspect of the company and identify the business’ true potential. The work allows us to unlock tremendous value and collaborate with our clients on creating a sustainable future for their companies.
To support clients in these challenging times, we leverage McKinsey’s global expertise and network to deliver the best of our firm to them. As the Engagement Manager, I can expand my knowledge and learn from our global experts while having a holistic view of the client’s organization. Our experts enable me to support my clients on really critical elements of their business and go beyond concepts or theories to have tangible impact.
– Throughout your work experience and education, you have been exposed to different geographies, including Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, South America, and East Asia. What was the driver for this development and what fascinates you in this global career?
I have always been very interested in living in different countries, experiencing various cultures, and working with people from diverse backgrounds. This was one of the reasons why I pursued my master’s studies at ESADE and with CEMS – I was able to study in Spain and Japan, and meet friends and classmates from around the globe. ESADE is a unique international business school with a focus on teamwork and collaboration, which fit perfectly to my personal interests.
At McKinsey I am able to further develop my international exposure. With more than 25,000 employees in over 120 offices and 60 countries, McKinsey is a truly global firm with clients on every continent. Each client and each engagement is unique. The broad range of topics is extremely interesting and provides opportunities to learn, develop new skills, and grow both professionally and personally.
– Which will be your main goal for the next three years?
Three years is a long time, especially in an ever-changing world as a consultant facing new client situations and multiple options. Professionally, I would like to go back to Asia and enhance my experiences there from my studies with work experience. The cultures and working styles are unique and quite different from those in Germany. These contrasts create incredible opportunities to explore new skills and meet people with different backgrounds and opinions. Spending time in Asia will also help me to develop my leadership skills further by working with colleagues who have different mindsets and working styles.
– What advice can you give to alumni who are thinking about a consulting career?
I would encourage anyone who is interested in solving complex, tangible, real-life problems of organizations – public or private – to start a career with a consulting firm. It offers an incredibly steep learning curve and allows you to benefit from working with top managers of companies around the globe.
My main advice to people interested in a consulting career is to be yourself and follow your passions. McKinsey is looking for individuals with strong viewpoints. Potential applicants should also explore different cultures, for example by participating in international exchange programs or working in international internships. Experiences like these will allow you to broaden your horizons and experience different working styles and attitudes.
– In your opinion, what are the benefits of being part of the ESADE Alumni International Network?
The major benefit is the network’s international reach. When I studied in Japan, I could meet alumni from all over Asia. But no matter where they came from, they shared a common belief in the values of ESADE: that the people matter and that teamwork ultimately leads to better answers. Such a strong, unique bound across cultures and countries is very powerful, and makes the network great to rely on when experiencing new countries.