Interview – 11. Jul 2019
THE LEARNING CURVE IN THE INDUSTRY IS EXTREMELY EXCITING.
Mr. Weingärtner, may I ask you what you studied? And would you study something different today?

Industrial Engineering. I would study the same thing if I could go back.

Are you sure about that?

I would perhaps set a slightly different focus, but basically the same.

When and how did you want to go into consulting? What appealed to you about the industry?

During my studies, consulting was the big topic for my fellow students, in general it is a very common career choice at this university in Karlsruhe. I also did an internship in a consulting firm during my studies.

So it was clear.

Not necessarily clear, but it became apparent to me that this was my preferred option. The attraction of working in industry. I’m knew that the work was varied, so you wouldn’t feel trapped working in one company, and would need to deal with a lot of different customers, also a lot of topics and of course get to know a lot of different personalities. The learning curve in this industry is also extremely exciting.

How has the learning curve changed since you started?

Of course, it’s steeper in the beginning, but it’s more about content and technical aspects. And from a certain point, your development shifts towards soft skills, management tasks, and such things.

Michael Weingärtner, Senior Manager
And why Syngroup? Who or what convinced you? How did you get here?

I came here in the classic way by placing an ad on one of the popular job portals. I was convinced after a total of three interviews and a day of getting to know one another on a taster day. What convinced me above all, however, were the people with whom I was in contact. I immediately felt that the company culture was very good and the interaction was very amicable and positive and it finally convinced me to accept the job.

Have you worked elsewhere before?

I was in a German consultancy before where everything felt a bit cooler and more distant.
But I don’t want to draw any big conclusions, I worked only in one other consultancy previously and can only compare my experience to that.

Are there such things as Austrian peculiarities?

Well, I’ve been in Vienna for almost ten years, you have got used to some things, to some others – less. (laughs) Basically, it wasn’t a big culture shock. You learn a lot of new terms, even if you don’t use them actively, but at least you can understand them. (laughs) I definitely like being in Vienna.

What exactly do you do for Syngroup?

I’m a Project Manager and responsible for achieving the project goals. I would say that it is divided into 50 percent active, content-related work, and 50 percent management tasks: steering the team, allocating tasks, discussing project progress with customers, solving problems.

In other words, you are the head of a project team.

Exactly, but not only responsible for the successful completion of a project, but also for the content component. The fact is, you are deeply involved in the content of a project and also take on work streams yourself. So despite your leadership role, it is part of the game. You can’t always just delegate everything.

What does a classic working day, a classic working week look like for you? Is it even possible to think in such terms?

The classic working week is similar to other consultancies: Mondays means travel somewhere. For me, that has primarily mean’t flyng somewhere in the last three years, roughly a hundred times a year. At some stage you get to the customer, work through the agreed project plan, make sure that everything goes according to plan and make sure that colleagues are doing well and doing their job correctly.

Usually in the evening there’s an alternative program, whether it’s sports, eating together or going for a beer. That’s the typical routine until Thursday and in the late afternoon we head back to the airport and back to Vienna. On Friday you‘re in the office, then there is also time for dealing with internal topics or training.

And may I ask, which project are you currently working on?

I have just completed an extensive project or several projects with the same client. Altogether, these were five projects over a period of three years with different teams but always with the same customer. That was a parquet manufacturer in Switzerland. Next Monday I will be at different customer, plastic‘s packaging, a global family business from Upper Austria. And that’s where I’m going to start with some new challenges.

You have already mentioned it. The next question is about the work-life balance or work-life flow, as they say at Microsoft. What do you think of work-life balance?

What do I do in my spare time? I go running, I like to eat well, I like to meet friends and my long-time girlfriend. Maybe I should have named them first. (laughs)

And is it all going to end?

Of course you have to be able to live with the fact that you are on the road from Monday to Thursday and you have to have a partner who understands that. Because in this job, the critical factor for work-life balance is not so much the daily workload as being constantly on the move. You‘re away three nights a week and you have to organize yourself well in order to pack your social life, whatever it looks like, into the other four days. That has to be clear to everyone who decides on a career like this one.

Are there areas where they want to change the world and if so, what opportunities do you see?

There are rather few areas and opportunities to do so. If you want to change the world, I would honestly say this isn‘t the right job, It’s business, sometimes it can be unattractive and hard business, it’s not a social event. If you want to improve the world, you should try to do it in the four days you spend at home.

I wish for Syngroup:

A opportunity to successfully develop myself further.

To be a consultant means:

Being on the road a lot.

The most important quality of a good consultant is:

Curiosity.

A good client is characterized above all by one thing:

Trusting and constructive cooperation.

My greatest strength is:

Pragmatism.

My colleagues value me above all else:

My uncomplicated manner.

The most exciting thing about international projects is:

Getting to know strangers or more unusual things – if you have the time.

The Syngroup claim "The Efficiency Consultants" is for me:

The core of our project work.