Week 1: Assessing the Business Environment

The first week I have spent in Berlin has been amazing. We got to do several fun things with the rest of the Pitt students in Berlin through Intrax. We got to visit many tourist attractions throughout the first week being here in Berlin. We were also able to meet with Labor Union, the CDU political party, and the Green party. Another day we were able to go to the Coke headquarters in Berlin, which was very cool to see.

 I will be working at a company called Adjouri & Stastny Communications Management and their main function is in the consulting industry. Today, the consulting industry is rapidly growing and changing. The business world today is also experiencing change at a high rate, and this has caused businesses to look towards consulting firms to help them accomplish their goals. This increase in businesses turning to consulting firms has caused the consulting industry to greatly grow.

One key skill that I think is necessary to be successful in the consulting industry is having the ability to adapt to changes. It is crucial for a company in the consulting industry to stay on top of the changes in the business world. For example, if there is a new technological advancement that alters how businesses function, then it is important for the consulting firm to make the necessary adjustments to be able to account for these changes. Another key skill that is needed to be successful in the consulting industry is the ability to build meaningful relationships with your customers. Consulting requires a good connection between the customer and the company because they must be on the same page to accomplish their goals. The customer needs to trust the consulting company that they will give them the result that they desire. One way to build that solid trust is to listen to the customer and keep them updated and involved in the consulting process. Another key skill that everyone in the consulting industry must have is the ability to convince others. The customer must believe in your plan and have faith that it will work. Even if you have the most perfect plan that cannot go wrong, if you can’t convince the customer that is right for them then it will never work. Having a good plan is the first and most important step to being able to do this, but there are also other things that are needed to accomplish this. You have to be able to articulate that plan in a way that highlights why your plan is the best move for them. This leads into another key skill that is required to be successful, which is having good people skills. Similar to the need of being convincing, it is also crucial that the customer sees you as being likeable. This is pretty simple idea because nobody wants to hire a consultant that they don’t like because it is likely that they won’t trust you. If the customer likes the consultant, then they are much more likely to agree with your ideas and potentially come back in the future. I believe that another big advantage that is crucial to a consulting company’s success is that they have an area in which they specialize in. For example, the company that I am interning at specializes in international sports. The head of the company, Petr Stastny, has extensive experience in the world of international sports and the majority of the projects that the company takes on are in international sports. Because of this specialization, Adjouri & Stastny will naturally attract more customers that need consulting in the area of international sports business than a consulting firm company that does not specialize in international sports.

Because I am working in Germany and not America, there are some cultural differences that you must pay attention to in order to ensure your success. For example, Germans are very punctual people and tardiness of any kind is highly frowned upon. This means that deadlines must be met on time and you must respond in a quick and timely manner. In the eyes of a German, any delays could signify that you are inefficient and untrustworthy. I also mentioned above that it is important to be liked to be an effective consultant, however you cannot overdo it in German culture. Germans do not partake in a lot of small talk like Americans do and they may find it weird if you are over talkative. Americans are used to tons of small talk, so it may be difficult to move away from that natural instinct, but it is important to do so. Also, in Germany it is very important to be direct. Americans feel the need to sugarcoat everything and to “beat around the bush”, whereas Germans will simply tell you what they think. It is important to not waste your time or the Germans by being indirect, so you need to make a conscious effort to be more direct.

At the end of the day, the most important thing to do in any industry to ensure success is to be hardworking. If you are slacking off or not giving 100% effort into the work you are doing, then you are bound to fail. Despite all the excuses people make for their failures, the majority of the time it is because they did not work as hard as they could have. I intend to work as hard as I can at my internship, as well as do the other things mentioned above, in these upcoming weeks to do my part in helping to make Adjouri & Stastny Communications Management successful during my time at the company.