Germany: The Homestretch

It is officially July which means I’m in my last month of my stay in Germany–two months sure did go by really fast. In the last two months or so, I learned a lot about the structure of management consulting firms like Vencon Research. Although a lot of work the employees in my company involves being independent, we require constant communication between each other and between departments to ensure that our clients receive the best consulting packages possible.

This week at work has been pretty hectic since the Data Integrity and Research team received a lot of projects to do. I had to complete a lot of excel work–editing and data input–for different country evaluations. When I first started, it took me an entire day to do just two. Now, I can complete around 6 in a day. I’ve also learned to fix some minor errors in the data by tracing the formula to certain documents and applying small changes to the formula to it can capture more values within the certain year. I’ve also gotten better at recognizing errors when it exists; when I first started, I couldn’t even tell what potential errors in the data looked like. Now, I’m able to detect most discrepancies in the data. If I find something that looks wrong, I normally try to solve it myself mostly by investigating the aspects of the excel formula. Ultimately, if I cannot fix the error, I will ask my supervisor. In the past, I’ve managed to detect some very potentially serious errors in the data that would’ve affected the outcome of the product.

I’ve also learned a few new things like removing certain numbers for specific calculations. It took me some time to grasp and I actually made a good amount of mistakes which I’m pretty sure caused a bit of annoyance for one of my co-workers who had to check it. A new employee is currently spending time in all the departments so she can apply this knowledge to her own work. Currently spending time with us, she has also started to learn the basics of what I have to do. I was really excited to show her some of the things I’ve been able to do, and I felt really accomplished that I was able to showcase that. One of the best accomplishments I’ve made so far was learning how to use formulas in German. With a combination of trial-and-error, a dictionary, and persistence, I’ve managed to analyze huge sets of data in no time.

I’ve learned a lot about how my company works as well, and because Vencon Research is a considered a small firm, everybody in the company knows each other pretty well so the firm structure is also made well known to everyone. While large firms probably exhibit high efficiency in their projects, I don’t think they have the sort of “family bond” that exists. The whole department likes to celebrate each other’s birthdays and each other’s final departures. During lunch, someone usually volunteers to go out and get food at some place for everybody else (they pay back, of course!) One time, one of partners of the firm decided to take some of us out to lunch and he ended paying for everything! My initial thought regarding small firms was that they tend to not be very efficient nor gain a huge traction in the industry itself; however, Vencon Research’s biggest clientele is Accenture, a consulting firm that is considered one of the top in the field. If such a huge and well-known firm relies on us for these kinds of services, then it doesn’t matter the size of the firm. We still get things done. While the staff is relatively small (no more than 30 people on the office), we are quite the powerhouse company.

It’s sad to think that I have only three weeks left with Vencon Research. I’ve made many exciting relationships with some of my co-workers and we’ve gotten to know some of each other on a personal level. I’ve witnessed four people leave the company recently, all of whom have been with Vencon for several months to several years. On Monday, I will witness the addition of three more members to the company–one of which will work for the data team. The next person to leave will be me, and it’s really bittersweet. Coming in, I knew that my time wasn’t going to be long. However, I’ve learned a lot and made a lot of exciting memories and experience in the professional field.