Current position and company/organization: (during the interview period) in the process of transition from Project Management role to Inhouse Consulting for Financial Institutions
Home / Host School: WU / GSOM
Arkadiusz was born and raised in Gorzow Wielkopolski, Poland. He absolved his bachelor’s degree at the University of Aarhus in Business Administration and Economics. He had already spent a semester abroad during his bachelor studies at WU Vienna, so he chose the CEMS program of WU for his following master studies.
After finishing his degrees, Arkadiusz started working for Société Generale’s Inhouse Consulting division based in London/Paris. Afterwards, he moved on to work in the project management of Allianz Global Investors in their Frankfurt and Hong Kong office. The latest step, that is yet to come, involved taking a senior inhouse consultant role in Commerzbank Group.
In which way is your current role different than you expected it to be?
I will answer this in general, while I am currently in the transition process between jobs. I think what made me most surprised, is the difference in approaches between EU and Non-EU based financial institutions (FI) to their global set up. Due to work in project management and inhouse consulting, even as an intern, I managed to work in 6 different companies, each in a different country, hence I had a chance to see how it is done from various points of view. I think that non-EU FI’s seem to be better adopted to working globally, while EU based have a strong country-of-origin sentiment that needs to be taken into consideration, especially if not based in that country. Therefore, with CEMS and generally international background, I must admit that I had to significantly adjust how I see the words global and glocal being implemented in practice, and admittedly sometimes it was not how I would expect it to happen.
How has your CEMS experience helped you in fulfilling your current role?
I think that CEMS allows people to become a well-rounded generalist with good interpersonal and networking skills. Being in the role of inhouse consultant and project management, I often get to experience the strategic thinking behind many decisions, then to help lead the implementation and to see through the outcomes. In an environment of change, which is definitely occurring currently in the financial industry, specialists tend to be more focused on a small area of their work for a long period of time, hence having difficulties understanding why they need to transition and obtain new skills in order to endure the change, while generalists tend to approach it in a more agile and open minded way, hence they tend to be the survivors.
Which is your favorite leisure time activity on WU campus (old or new)? (any activities from taking walks to enjoying the Glühweinstand are welcome)
I think that I had more memories with the new campus, the old one was just a brief moment when I was an Erasmus student – however ESN made a good job introducing us to bars in Nussdorfer Strasse 😊. Nevertheless, I always enjoyed taking a kaseleberkase semmel (I hope I spelled it properly) and a ottakringer radler, from the Campus Spar, with my CEMS friends and just enjoy the view of the sunset over Prater.
Which were your favorite 3 CEMS-moments?
- Trip to Russia for my student project – I always wanted to go and see St. Petersburg, 6 months there were amazing. Moreover, I had a chance to work on one of my first projects within the banking industry alongside with the local BCG guys.
- Career Forum in Vienna – I think this was always great event and it always gave you a lot of pride to get selected for the interviews, and then emerge victoriously with an internship offer or more… actually that is how I ended up in Societe Generale.
- Moving to (wonderful) Frankfurt from (even more amazing but Brexit hit) London and realizing there is a local CEMS group in place – I think the experience continues, as many CEMS alumni travel around for their work, hence it allows to keep on exploring and meeting new people. And having CEMS in your Linkedin profile definitely helps with that 😊
What has your CEMS experience taught you about life?
Get to know people, talk to them, stay in touch, because a good network is the most important in your career progress. That is why, whenever I get into a new role I tend to send like 30-40 lunch invites to random people, senior or junior, strategy or facility management, within first weeks. In the end, you never know which connection will change your life.
If you started all over with CEMS, what would you do differently?
When finishing CEMS I had a choice from two partner companies, one to continue with banking… one to explore energy sector. As much as I am content with how my career went, I do feel like this would have been a throw to a new depths and maybe a great idea to explore another industry, another opportunity. In the end I think CEMS was about opening many various doors, to allow to experience as much as possible – i.e. as a person with banking mentality I remember I won the L’Oreal product introduction competition during one of the workshops and everyone was shocked 😊 – hence I would definitely love to deviate a bit more from the core industry.