EU alumnus Zia Siddiqui has been working as a Consultant at Boston Consulting Group for five years now. His EU Business School MBA in International Business gave him the skills and experience he needed to progress in his career.
Zia grew up in Uttar Pradesh, India. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Information Technology, Zia worked in a software consultancy and IT services company. After nearly two and a half years he chose EU’s Munich campus to take his MBA, settling in the country after graduation. Zia speaks Hindi, English and German, loves to ski and aside from India, Germany and the US, has also lived in Sweden.
Zia kindly took the time to answer some questions about his career and his studies, and to share some advice with current and future EU students.
What first attracted you to the job and what keeps you there?
BCG is one of the best companies in the world for me to work with. From my perspective they offer a very good work life balance and are one of the three most prestigious employers in management consulting.
What keeps me motivated to work for BCG is that I learn something new every day. Working directly with clients offers me a very challenging environment to progress in my career.
Can you explain what BCG does?
Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with offices in more than 90 cities in 50 countries.
Can you describe a typical day in your role at BCG?
My day starts with a delicious coffee in the office, before having calls and in-person meetings with other team members. These give us the opportunity to distribute our workload and seek help from colleagues if we need any.
After that, the day usually consists of regular catch-up calls with clients and processing of ad-hoc client requests. During these conversations, clients let me know if there are any changes to their case or if they need additional help.
How did your time at EU help you progress in your career?
Before EU I had very little knowledge about the business side of things. My bachelor’s degree is in technology, so before taking my MBA I was limited to just technical understanding.
Studying an MBA at EU imparted me the skills which are necessary to excel in the business world. The theoretical knowledge, enormous number of case studies and practical insights from the real-life experiences of lecturers prepared me for my job at BCG.
What led you to take an MBA at EU?
At EU, you study in the English language while living in a European country. Aside from this, I decided to do my MBA at EU because it is accredited, and the lecturers are actually working professionals who give you insights from the real business world, as opposed to lecturers at other universities who impart only theoretical knowledge.
You have lived all over the world. Are there any strategies or habits that have helped you to thrive in these very different cultures?
Having come from India to live in Europe, it was inevitable that I would experience some culture shock. If you’re studying in a different country, it is likely that there will be significant cultural differences to your home country. I would suggest that you embrace them, don’t reject unfamiliar habits and customs of your host country but try to understand and adopt them. This doesn’t mean you have to forget or discard your own culture; be cosmopolitan and incorporate positive characteristics from the new culture alongside your own.
In my opinion, being prepared to adapt is the most important factor to adjusting to (and enjoying!) life in a different country.
What advice would you give to EU students?
Do not limit yourself to only learning theory at EU. The lecturers are really qualified, and they are working professionals. Try to learn as many practical things as you can from them.
Also, do not forget to learn the local language of the country you are studying in, it will help you to get a job after you complete your studies!
If, like Zia, you would like to accelerate your career, take a look at the extensive MBA options available at EU Business School and get in touch if you have any questions; we would love to hear from you.