Maximilian Schmidt is a European Business School alumnus, now working at KPMG. He shares his success story with us and how the support of the Careers and Business Relations team helped him during his time at Regent’s University London.
I finished my MA Management with a pathway in Entrepreneurial Management in September 2014, and started working at KPMG in Frankfurt in their Consulting/Financial Services department in November 2014.
I had previously studied International Management in Germany and I wanted to gain knowledge in a completely different field after I finished my undergraduate studies. Continuing my academic career in a field like Finance or Marketing did not seem like a big enough challenge. Entrepreneurship for me stands for questioning the status quo and making an impact on the world. I chose the entrepreneurial management pathway because I have always been fascinated by entrepreneurship and how entrepreneurs see the world differently. After comparing different programmes, I chose the one at European Business School (EBS), a decision I’ve never regretted.
The Careers and Business Relations team offered a lot of advice, which I found very helpful. The CV checks were particularly very helpful. The application requirements in the UK are very different to the ones in Germany or other countries. Starting from little things like not putting a picture in your CV to the whole structure of your CV. The advice I got from the Careers team helped me a lot even when I started working in Germany and I highly recommend students to consult with them as there is always something that can be improved. Also, I must say that I was really impressed by their dedication; I went to seek advice many times and they always took the time to have a look at the changes I had made and gave me very helpful feedback.
During my undergraduate degree, I did several internships at all the big four consulting companies and other companies in Germany, Mexico and Thailand. The experiences I gained during this time helped me a lot to figure out what I wanted to do later on. During my time at EBS, I did not feel the need for more practical experience in a corporation, so a friend of mine whom I met at EBS and I founded a company during our last semester.
Usually there are several steps in the recruitment process at KPMG. It starts by filling out an online application form. If a candidate passes the first selection process, they are invited for a telephone interview. My telephone interview was directly with one of the Partners of KPMG, which is not always the case. The interview was quite relaxed and followed the same procedure as all the previous (telephone) interviews I have had in the past. At first the Partner introduced KPMG and her service line, after that we talked about my experiences so far and why I chose KPMG as a potential employer. Two days after the telephone interview I received a job offer and 1 week later my contract was sent to me. I am quite certain that my previous experience in similar jobs helped me a lot to get the job offer quicker. Usually candidates are invited for a personal interview and an assessment day after the telephone interview. During the assessment day the candidates work on a case study in a team and have individual interviews with KPMG Managers.
To anyone who is interested in a job in consulting, I would recommend doing an internship, if possible with one of the bigger companies such as PwC, KPMG or BCG. For me, it was a very valuable experience which also made me feel well prepared during the application process. A lot of people are nervous during job interviews and don’t know what to expect. But with job interviews it is like with everything else in life – if you practice, you get better and more secure over time.
Another lesson I took away from some of my internships was that I found out what I didn’t want to do. Some things seemed incredibly interesting and exciting, but when I was actually working on these things, I realized it wasn’t as interesting as I thought was at the beginning. In my opinion, it’s very helpful to have these experiences before you’re applying for a full time job.
During my time at EBS, we also had to participate in the Strategy Weekend, which was quite a realistic preparation of what an assessment day at KPMG (or other consulting companies) looks like.
So far I am actually pretty happy with where I am, so if I had the chance, I don’t think I would do anything differently.
Longer term, as I mentioned before, I co-founded a company during my last term at EBS and I’m still involved in this project and hope to focus on even more in the future. My job with KPMG has helped me with developing my own business. The international network and structure of KPMG also offers a lot of interesting opportunities for future development.