Julia Schlegelmilch feels that the option of not seeking an academic career after earning a PhD doesn’t get the attention it deserves. That’s because she feels completely at home as a Management Consultant at Capgemini: “It’s like a candy shop”.

“My plan was to become a psychologist, so I decided to study Psychology. But I quickly discovered that the clinical aspects weren’t very satisfying, and that I would rather help people improve the way they work in organizations. I was always interested in how you can organize your work in such a way that both you and the company you work for can flourish. So it was only logical to specialize in Occupational and Organizational Psychology during my Bachelor’s, and then to do a Master’s in Organizational Change and Human Resource Management.”

“During my PhD, I studied remote working and hybrid working. I really enjoyed doing the research, but I already knew that I wanted to work as a consultant. The pragmatic aspect of the work appealed to me. So near the end of my research, I had a lot of networking meetings with people in consultancy and the wider business world. That helped me get a better impression of the field. During all of the job interviews, I clearly had the strongest match with Capgemini. The informal culture and the opportunities for personal and professional development really appealed to me.”

Modern working

“At the moment, I work as a Management Consultant in the Workforce & Organization department, where I lead the new working paradigm team. We help clients think of ways to organize how their company will work in the future. Hybrid working is a hot topic in the area of modern working, so I can draw from a lot of my PhD research. There are a lot of issues to consider: it’s more than just finding a suitable place to work at home. It also requires a results-oriented leadership style, an appropriate culture and a supportive digital and physical work environment.”

“Over the past two years, organizations have learned a lot about remote working, but the mix of working at home and at the office presents some new challenges. Especially in the area of creating connections and arranging the necessary coordination if the work is spread over multiple locations. To do that, organizations need support, and we help provide it.”

“Hybrid working is a hot topic at the moment, but the underlying questions are much broader. Things like: what does the organization want to achieve? How can hybrid working contribute to that? I’m also convinced that your organization will perform better if you see your employees not as numbers, but as people with needs. How do I make a difference? By brainstorming together with companies with a fresh, analytical perspective. I often hear that my energy makes people excited about the new way of working.”  

Know what you’re worth

“When you’re doing a PhD, you mainly have contact with people who aim to have an academic career. If it were up to me, I’d emphasize that there are also other career opportunities. Did you know that two out of three PhDs work outside of the academic community? The two worlds also aren’t that far apart. I’m still using my analytical skills, but now I try to get to the core of the problem in order to solve it.”

In the academic world, it’s not about finding the solution, but understanding the problem and explaining the causes. That never seems to end, because there’s always a new theory that offers new insights. Consulting is more clearly delineated. You immerse yourself in a project for a specific period, and then you can move on to the next one. That way of working suits me better.”

“My advice is: look around after your PhD and don’t settle for the first thing that comes along. There are so many more possibilities than you might think – both within the academic world and outside it. A lot of people who’ve earned a PhD don’t see how talented they are, and that the skills they’ve learned are also attractive to businesses. So ask other people what they think you’re worth, and what you add. And don’t hesitate to send me a message. I’d love to brainstorm with you!”

Encouraging growth

“I’m proud of my job. It’s not like: dear client, here’s my idea, and that’s it. We get down to work together. That’s how you can make a real difference for the client as a consultant. To me, the great thing about working for Capgemini is that you can design your own future. You have all the room you need to explore your strengths. Most PhD programs don’t offer enough guidance for personal development. It’s completely different here. With all of the development opportunities you find in working for the client, training courses and personal mentoring, it’s like being in a candy shop.”

“Over the next few years, I’d like to develop into a leader who can help others grow and discover their strengths. Facilitating growth is what gives me satisfaction in my job. I also hope that I won’t have to advise on hybrid working five years from now, because it’s become second-nature. That would mean that my colleagues and I have achieved something meaningful.”

job alert

Discover our latest vacancies