What is the PhD hierarchy in Capgemini

Interview with Dr. Michael Büttner

To person

Dr. Michael Büttner, 46 years old, studied business administration at the Vienna University of Economics, where he worked as an assistant during his doctorate. After completing his doctorate, he worked at Creditanstalt-Bankverein in Vienna and Degussa in Frankfurt as an assistant to the board, where he was in charge of strategic planning for the industrial and fine chemicals division. From 1990 to 1992 he helped set up the area of ​​implementation-oriented strategy consulting at Roland Berger & Partner as a project manager. Afterwards he was responsible for large international transformation projects at Capgemini, at that time still Gemini Consulting Munich. In 1997 he built up the business in Austria for Gemini Consulting. After the merger of Gemini Consulting, Capgemini and Ernst & Young, he took over the management of strategy consulting for Central Europe in 2002. The Austrian is married and has three sons.

Dr. Büttner, what does a strategy consultant do at Capgemini?
He develops a concept in a team with his colleagues and the customer and accompanies the customer in the implementation, i.e. in the operational changes in the company. Close cooperation with the customer based on partnership is important to us in every project - this is the only way to implement a program.

Are you more of a consultant or a seller?
I feel like a consultant. In my day-to-day work, however, I am very much occupied with customer acquisition. I work around 40 percent in operational business.

What is your industry focus in strategy consulting?
We mainly advise private and public companies in the mechanical and plant engineering sector - I also come from this area. There are also companies from the consumer goods industry and financial service providers. There is a tendency in the market for service companies to demand more and more consulting services.

Do you advise companies specifically on expanding into certain countries?
We support customers entering the market in Eastern Europe and China. They are relocating their production further and further east and providing services to India. For example, our customers outsource controlling and programming work. Advising you on these processes is a completely new challenge for me.

Topic new hires in 2006: How many new strategy consultants are you looking for?
We want to hire 45 strategy consultants whom we are desperately looking for. In the entire consulting area, i.e. management consulting, we are looking for another 150 consultants, also desperately. Business is good. But we don't want to cut back on our applicants, and today the industry is a big competitor for us with highly qualified people.

In which fields are you looking for graduates and young professionals?
Above all, Capgemini is looking for business people and industrial engineers. Applicants with work experience should have worked in large industry, as Capgemini almost exclusively has large companies as customers.

What do the future Capgemini strategy consultants need to bring with them?
You have to master a wide range of communication styles, which means, for example, be able to talk to both board members and employees from production. You need to be able to work in a team, be enthusiastic and have a certain amount of pragmatism. It is very important to Capgemini that our consultants show restraint towards our customers in critical situations. In my opinion, applicants are less persistent and resilient than they used to be. Young people are sometimes more negligent when it comes to manners. Characteristics and behaviors that you can still work on until your mid-30s, which we support at Capgemini.

Have the requirements for the consultant changed in the past few years?
Knowledge in the industry is becoming more and more specialized, so that today it is no longer possible to jump from project to project. Our consultants have to keep their finger on the pulse of technology developments.

What do you offer applicants?
In the company's own institute, our “newcomers” receive an eight-week training course: from presentation training to methodology and market analysis training. After that, they very quickly take on project and management responsibility. Every consultant learns a lot from his colleagues - across all hierarchies. He gets to know many companies intensively, as he is on site at the customer's four to five days a week for each project, and he makes many international contacts, as he works across Europe as well as in the USA and China.

The issue of work-life balance and the 5-4-3 rule: what are the downsides of consulting?
A consultant works five days a week, usually four days at the customer's and on Friday in his office. We recommend our employees to live in the place where their office is. In the best case scenario, you will only spend three nights away from home. The pace in the consulting industry is extremely fast, you learn faster there than in other industries, and the job is very varied. The downside is that you are very strained and there is a risk of "socially denaturing". My recipe is therefore: invest, invest, invest. That means actively cultivating friendships and consciously taking time out with family and friends.

How did you come to Capgemini?
From 1990 to 1992, as a project manager at Roland Berger & Partner, I helped to build up the area of ​​implementation-oriented strategy consulting. Because of this qualification, a headhunter brought me to Capgemini, then still Gemini Consulting. From Vienna, I was responsible for the areas of Marketing & Sales as well as renovations and led large and international strategy programs in Europe and Africa. In 2001 - a short time after the merger of Gemini Consulting into Cap Gemini Ernst & Young Consulting, renamed to Capgemini in 2004 - I took over the management of strategy consulting for Central Europe.

What has helped you make a career?
I do good things professionally with a certain serenity, without fighting doggedly. I think this combination helps me to find my way.

What are your further professional goals?
Due to the success in strategy consulting over the past four years, I would like to take on more responsibility within the group. What drives me above all is to find the type of consultant that we need for our business.

You are not only a doctor of business administration, but also a qualified forester and demolition expert. How did you get this training?
I also studied at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna - for fun and because I have a high affinity for the forest. Blasting trees, for example, was also a great pleasure for me. Doing something practical was what drove me.

What is your personal motto in life?
Not to take everything so seriously.

In between sparked

What other job could you imagine?
Head of a medium-sized production company - a "hidden champion"

What did you want to start your professional life?
A leading position in an international industrial group

What is your main personality trait?
I am an open and honest person. And I enjoy the things that I do.

What qualities do you value in other people?

What do you not tolerate under any circumstances?
Lies and tactics

What is very uncomfortable for you?
I still find it uncomfortable to judge the personal behavior of my employees.

What do you excuse immediately?
Admitted mistakes

What do you definitely take with you on a trip?
My running shoes

Where would you most like to live?
In my hometown Vienna

Where do you recharge your batteries?
At home with my family and during an annual regeneration week

What was your biggest flop?
At the beginning of my consulting time, a customer gave me clear feedback that the cooperation with me was not working.

And your greatest sense of achievement?
To lead Capgemini's strategy consultancy to its current success