We interviewed Kasper Laumann Hartlev, student in the International MBA from Denmark, who was recently elected to President of EADA Consulting Club 2019-2020, together with Vice President Veronika Bitter. He speaks Danish, English and German, holds a Bachelor and a Master’s degree from Copenhagen Business School, and previously studied in Austin (Texas) and Mannheim (Germany).
What made you want to be elected to represent the Consulting Club at EADA?
Several reasons: First of all, I currently pursue a career in consulting so being a part of the Consulting Club felt natural to me. I have a background in elite sports, doing the International MBA at EADA marks a transition for me from a focus split between sports and work, to a new life where I will channel more energy into professional business.
On a personal level being elected was rather symbolic: I invest time and energy into something hopefully making me “ready” for consulting.
I also had the honor this year of mentoring the students from EADA who took up the challenge of running the Barcelona Half Marathon to fundraise for charity. This great experience of supporting and working with other EADA students definitely pushed me even further towards running for President of the consulting club.
Finally, I am passionate about leading, creating and setting direction – I get the chance to develop these aspects together with all the members of the club. This is an important element of the club: the members and the chance to meet new and interesting people from across all of EADA’s programmes.
How does the Consulting Club relate to your career goals?
It is very much aligned with the direction I hope to take after EADA. I hope to find my spot in Management Consulting in Denmark, but this is just the first step. Personally, I love a challenge so with time I hope that I can support my mindset with an extensive “consulting toolbox” leading me towards a managing role in consulting. “The toolbox” is what I hope to develop through the club.
What was the most important thing that you learned about case study interviews — the most common form of selection in consulting — from the Consulting Club training?
It takes practice – it’s about training, training, training. There is simply no way around it. In a more traditional job interview, you can do well with just a short preparation. That approach will not get you far in consulting. Practicing case interviews is also useful in other settings: it makes you sharp and increases your ability to structure complex problems into smaller pieces possible to solve.
Another important factor is that the best possible way to practice cases is by training with others – the Consulting Clubs gives that possibility.
What do you think are the most important qualities in a successful consultant?
There are two very important but also very different qualities you need:
First, you need to be smart – a fast-thinker – but also have the right kind of mindset when solving problems. It is all about applying logic to different kinds of problems, but often these problems can be very complex. You need to be able to take a step back and solve the issues step-by-step: You have the end goal, but how do we get there? Which data do we need and what type of information are we interested in? How can we split the global problem into smaller sub-questions? It is simply a puzzle of many different mental aspects, but first you need to be able to take the bigger picture and bring it down to earth.
Secondly, you need good interpersonal skills. No matter how smart you are, no consulting company will hire you, if you are a jerk. Typically, the case interview sessions include both the case as well as a more interpersonal focused part during the interview. You need to pass both sections. It is karma, and it makes sense. No consulting company will hire someone they do not trust can represent their brand well when working with clients.
What do you think is the most challenging part of a career in consulting? How does the Club prepare you for this role?
Good question. The tricky thing about consulting is, that you will be exposed to many different kinds of problems, which you need to have an answer to. You have to be an expert in solving anything… and that’s a challenge! But then again, it is very much about understanding how to think as a consultant; breaking complex problems into more manageable issues and then solving everything step-by-step. For some people this approach might feel very natural but for others it may be challenge they struggle with. However, through training, anything is possible – in my opinion, everyone from EADA can make it into consulting. All students here are smart, so by training enough for the case interview everyone can overcome that challenge…and this is exactly what would make me very proud as president: EADA students nailing case interviews on their way into consulting because they practiced cases with the Club.