Varied tasks, steep learning curves and lots of fun

As an international management consulting firm, Korn Ferry (KF) helps clients make organizational strategies concrete. What is it like working for the agency? We asked three young talents who have been part of KF since last year.

People move and connect – that’s what Ariane de Beaufort likes to focus on. She does this as a singer – she was, among other things, lead singer for Hermes House Band for four years – and since September last year also as an associate consultant at Korn Ferry.

“From my interest, I quickly came across Korn Ferry after my study, where the full range of organizational consulting issues is addressed in our work for clients – from scaling in features to developing competency models,” says Ariane.

“Since my start, I have experienced what those issues look like in practice. What I especially appreciate about Korn Ferry is the space to take responsibility. In my third month, for example, I was already sitting at the virtual discussion table with MT from a fast-growing technology company, where I had the opportunity to lead part of the conversation. ”

For Hilde Nieuwland – who started at Korn Ferry nine months before Ariane – organizational advice was a little less obvious at first glance. “With a master’s degree in International Business Management and International Financial Management, I could have gone in a completely different direction,” she agrees.

“But the consulting profession has always attracted me because you can take a look behind the scenes at many different companies,” she explains. “I was immediately excited about Korn Ferry because of the collaboration with the largest Dutch and international companies, the cozy atmosphere in the office and the diversity of projects.”

Nick de Leeuw – who started at the same time as Ariane – initially seemed to be going in a different direction. He went to Hotel School. Although he changed course, this training proved to be crucial to his final choice of counseling.

“The hotel school teaches projects of ten weeks’ duration, with a customer presentation at the end,” he explains. “You work in groups with people with different characteristics and nationalities, which makes the collaboration different for each project. I found this to be pleasant and educational, which made me strive for a consulting job. ”

The human aspect in particular seemed interesting to him. “This is also becoming an increasingly important factor in business operations, and Korn Ferry is exactly where it all happens. Trends such as labor market scarcity, employee well-being and diversity & inclusion are a daily occurrence here.”

In addition to our abilities

Korn Ferry is also known for the large international customers it serves. The office works for companies from virtually every conceivable sector and from all over the world.

“We have the largest companies in Europe as customers, and the professionalism that comes with this appeals to me,” says Nick. “Our customers assume we can always deliver on top of our game, and that motivates me.”

“In the last 15 months, I have already worked on more than 20 projects at different companies in different sectors.”

“This international playing field means you are constantly switching between different customers, markets, cultures and work styles,” adds Ariane. “One hour you work on a top team training for the top management of a Swiss multinational, and an hour later you study a problem for a traditional Dutch polder company.”

“I try to reap the benefits, both personally and in terms of content – each customer and each colleague communicates, works and thinks differently. In the end, I think variety and international experience make me a better consultant. ”

Hilde can talk about that. “In the last 15 months, I have already worked on more than 20 projects at different companies in different sectors,” she says with a big smile. “From assessments to building functional buildings. Because of this diversity of projects and the responsibility you quickly get, I have learned a lot in a short time, and I can have more and more influence for the customer. ”

Asks the body shirt

Korn Ferry is very aware of this diversity of tasks. Beginners enter the program for young talents. This is exclusively for professional and personal development – which benefits from all that variation.

“During the three years you are on the Young Talents team, you are supposed to get acquainted with the various proposals from Korn Ferry, so that you discover your talents and preferences,” explains Hilde. “In addition, you are put on projects from day one, and you go out to the customers.”

“It’s important that you fly many hours to analyze as many features as possible within as many companies as possible from different industries.”

“My role differs from project to project, but in all cases you are encouraged to contribute to the content advice,” she says. “You work on different projects with different project teams and project managers. This gives you the opportunity to decide together what each person’s role is, and you quickly get to know many new things and people in the company. ”

“As a young talent, you are mainly involved in the design of organizations – the structure, roles and responsibilities,” adds Nick. “In this field, it is important that you fly many hours to analyze as many positions as possible within as many companies as possible from different industries.”

“That way, you develop a certain ‘business knowledge’, and you quickly understand functions and organizations,” he explains. “I learn a lot about running a business, and it helps us better understand the problems our customers face and come up with an appropriate solution.”

It can sometimes be hard to explain to family and friends what exactly you do as a consultant, but Ariane knows how to put it into words. “I usually say that I ask customers about their position and responsibilities. On the basis of interviews, we map positions and advise clients on the scale where a position fits best. ”

She immediately adds that it certainly does not cover the entire load. “For example, I am now involved in the design and implementation of a leadership program for an American multinational, and I am involved in a multi-year project for a French health NGO.”

Everything focused on growth

The Young Talent Program also pays close attention to growth outside of customer assignments. “When you start, you immediately get a ‘buddy’ who is always willing to help you”, says Hilde. “In addition, we have training every six weeks, aimed at both our content work and our personal development.”

“You also get a lot of freedom in choosing those forms of exercise,” Nick says. “I’m now pursuing a ‘data analysis’ education that focuses on people and organization.”

“This includes analyzes such as strategic workforce planning that an organization uses to map the current supply of workforce and future demand to build the skills and capacity needed to ultimately achieve business goals.”

“It’s more the rule than the exception that the partners sit at the lunch table with the partners.”

In addition to the training sessions, the Young Talent team also holds two team meetings each month. “Sometimes internal experts update our material knowledge, or we dive into a specific theme in personal growth,” says Ariane.

“For example, at the last team meeting we learned a lot about different communication styles”, Hilde adds, “what ours are and how we can handle them.”

“Based on a questionnaire, we gained insight into our own preferences in dealing with colleagues,” Ariane explains. “This nicely highlighted the differences over communication with a focus on relationships versus content.”

Starts the weekend together

All in all, the three young talents feel completely at home in Korn Ferry. “What I like so much is the combination of the expertise that is in the company, the customers and the people who work there,” says Hilde.

“It ensures that we are an ambitious company, where we can always want to work on top of ourselves, where high quality is delivered to our customers, and where there is also room for fun,” she explains .

Nick nods in agreement. “It is great that it is such a flat organization with an informal work atmosphere. The atmosphere in our office is very warm and open, which ensures that between work there is also room to talk and get to know each other in an informal way. ”

“Absolutely,” Ariane says. “For example, it is more the rule than the exception that the lawyers sit together at the lunch table with the partners. That way, you talk to colleagues at all seniority levels, you learn about the work they do, and it’s fun and easy to build an internal network. Everyone also encourages this based on the belief that it makes us all better consultants. ”

And of course it is also very nice to talk to each other outside of work. “Drinking a beer together by the water in a pub around the corner is the best way to start the weekend,” Ariane concludes.

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