Why being an expert will increase your job opportunities on the German job market
Interview with Aneesh Bhardwaj, Director Strategy & Partnerships, Siemens Advanta
This interview was first published in October 2020.
After starting his career at the multinational software company SAP, Aneesh Bhardwaj decided to add to his engineering background by studying a full-time MBA at HHL. In the following interview, he talks about his strategy for successfully entering the German job market, including leveraging the resources available at HHL, focusing his expertise, and concentrating on his German skills.
Gaining clarity with help of the HHL career development team
From day one, Aneesh identified the area he aimed to enter and honed the relevant skill-set. Taking advantage of HHL’s career support, he was able to focus his networking efforts in the right domain. Arriving in Germany with basic German language skills, he understood the importance of knowing the local language to leverage his chances on the German job market.
He took advantage of the German courses offered within the HHL MBA program making his learning of German an important part of his studies. Our recent blog post on “Why your career prospects benefit from German language skills” is a deep dive on the advantages of learning German to increase your job opportunities.
“My recommendation is to figure out early on what you are interested in and attempt to gain expertise in that domain. This will help you stand out easily and develop networks in relevant areas.”
In what ways did HHL help you, as an international student, understand how to succeed in the German job market?
HHL essentially provided me with the foundation upon which I could build my post-MBA career. There were 3 key points that played a major role in my success:
- The career development team helped me from the very first moment in understanding the job market in Germany and helped me fine-tune all the application documents. The career development team at HHL is definitely a highlight as they work closely with students and communicate on a regular basis with all major employers and are ready to help.
- The HHL admissions team made the process to arrive in Germany very streamlined. Their assistance range from Visa application to health insurance, both of which can be very daunting for an international student.
- HHL has a very strong merit-based scholarship system that is a major help for students. I was able to achieve the ‘Trifecta’: Securing the 3 major scholarships that HHL offers with partners– HHL Young Leader Scholarship, DAAD STIBET and Deutschlandstipendium. Not only are the scholarships of great financial assistance but also act as a key differentiator in the job market. These scholarships are very prestigious and HHL’s access to these scholarships was of great help.
You were just promoted to ‘Director Strategy & Partnerships, Siemens Advanta’, where did your journey at Siemens begin?
I started my career at Siemens with an internship towards the end of my studies. I was hired as a Post MBA Strategy intern at Siemens Management Consulting (SMC) where I started working on a live client project from day one. Towards the end of the project, I was awarded the prestigious ‘SMC Direct Offer’ which enabled me to start as a full-time Strategy Consultant directly at the end of the internship.
A key differentiator that worked to my advantage was the combination of my strong engineering know-how from my experience at SAP and the strategic know-how that I gained at HHL. As discussed briefly above, it is necessary to find your focus area early on and continue to gain professional know-how in this specific domain.
After my service at Siemens Management Consulting as Strategy Consultant, I transitioned to the strategy unit of the Siemens Advanta. I have been announced to take over the role of ‘Director Strategy & Partnerships, Siemens Advanta’ effective immediately which is an incredibly humbling experience for me and at the same time a challenge that I am looking forward to as the firm has entrusted me with this significant role.
“Skills that I gained at HHL played a key role in launching the post-MBA career for me as it was a combination of core-business know how and soft skills which are equally relevant in the current market conditions.”
What was your strategy for successfully entering the German job market after your MBA?
Germany is a very specialized market that honors expertise and puts a special focus on becoming the very best at what you do. Having worked at a German company beforehand, I was aware of this and was able to plan my approach to the market accordingly. From early on, I tried to learn everything I could in the domain of strategy. That meant taking the right optional courses, going to events, attending conferences so that I can gain the know-how that is important to have a strong start in the market.
My recommendation to current and potential students is to figure out early on what they are interested in and attempt to gain expertise in that domain. This will help you stand out easily, develop potential networks in relevant areas. All of which will help you in your career, too.
“Germany emerged as an ideal destination due to a combination of high-quality education, favorable immigration policies after studies and comparably low cost of education.”
What specifically made you decide to study in Germany and why at HHL?
I was working at the SAP SE after completing my bachelor in Engineering and I was exposed to a wide variety of challenges in the technical and business domain. Repeatedly I had the feeling that as an engineer, I had the right technical toolkit but lacked the required know-how to understand and solve business challenges.
Working at a German firm like SAP, I was exposed to graduates from various universities in Europe and after talking to many of them, I was able to narrow down on Germany as an ideal destination due to unmatched combination of very high quality of education, favorable immigration policies after studies and comparably low cost of education.
HHL was the university of choice for me as it was focusing on the business area that I wanted to gain knowledge on: Business and Corporate Strategy. In addition to the competitive coursework at HHL, Leipzig is a university city with a multi-century heritage of learning that still continues.
What advice do you have for our prospective students wanting to start their studies & careers in Germany?
I would consolidate my advice into the following broad points:
- Become an expert. Identify your area of interest early on and excel in that domain so that you are the ‘Go-to Professional’
- Ask for help from people around you. People are often very happy to help out. On the other hand, if you are in a position of privilege, help out others, too
- Enjoy the journey. Getting a job is not and should not be the only reason why you decide to study. Study for the love of education, cherish the time that you spend and trust in your skillset.
“Become an expert. Ask for help from people around you. Enjoy the journey.”
Better career prospects due to MBA program
This year’s full-time MBA class is one of the largest years yet, bringing 55 students to HHL. It is also a very international group, spanning 18 nationalities (including Germany), therefore providing the perfect opportunity to experience the creative energy born out of different perspectives and mindsets.
If you would like some assistance in finding out if HHL has the right full-time MBA program for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with program consultant Stefanie Sanches for additional information. Just click on the little envelope below her name.
All views expressed in this article are personal opinions of Aneesh Bhardwaj and do not represent the view of SIEMENS AG or any of its affiliates.
Hi, I'm Stefanie. I'm half Swiss, half Brazilian and I've moved around a lot in my life before returning to the fabulous city of Leipzig. So if you are an international student, I know your plight! As Full-time MBA Program Consultant, I have been part of the HHL community since 2018 now and I look forward to guiding you on your way to joining the community as well. I can't wait to get to know you!