AlixAlumni Returning Employees

Meet Pablo Wangermann

Moving from consulting to industry and back again, Director Pablo Wangermann strengthened his expertise through a broad array of experiences. New perspectives from these different roles revealed the value of agility, coalition building, and technology-enabled transformations. Lesson one: Culture matters.
Read On
Read On

AlixPartners career choice:  Meet returning employee Pablo Wangermann

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Pablo Wangermann speaking at the Farnborough 2018 conference (top and bottom left) and being interviewed at a Nokia industry event in 2019.
Thoughts &
Perspectives
Q:
You left AlixPartners for a role in industry, and then returned to the firm. Welcome back! Why did that career path make sense for you?
A:

Building out a broad spectrum of skills is always a good career choice, and I wanted to have several perspectives of how a digital transformation occurs in a large corporate environment. During my time as an alumnus, I joined Hewlett Packard in the Enterprise Services division which, after a few splits and mergers, eventually became DXC Technology. I then spent a year with L&T Infotech (LTI), an IT services company based in India. I held various roles across these companies, but the common theme was working with clients on digital transformation, especially the Internet of Things (IoT) in areas from digital manufacturing to “Smart Spaces.”

My time outside management consulting gave me a rich exposure to all the moving parts of an organization, as well as a front row view of the culture changes that are necessary for any business transformation to succeed.

Q:
What’s the most important learning from your time away from consulting?
A:

Lesson number one: A lot of companies talk about being agile, but that is often an empty word. I find that business leaders don’t always know what they want out of technology investments, nor do they have a clear vision for the outcome of a digital transformation effort. Clients may understand what a tech like IoT is capable of, but they can’t get the value out of it unless they make fundamental changes to their organization and their business planning and operations. And that almost always requires very deep cultural change.

Culture is sometimes just as important as strategy.

Q:
Is that need for organizations to “become agile” what brought you back to AlixPartners and management consulting?
A:

In part, yes. I am eager to lend my experience to help our aerospace and defense clients. Plus, AlixPartners embraces the fact that successful business transformations may be driven by technology but they are not IT projects. At the firm, I get to work closely with leading companies to define their strategic vision and growth opportunities, and help them leverage the full potential of technology and digital.

However, the biggest reason to come back is the AlixPartners culture. I was so glad to see that everything I loved before about the firm is still in place. The “how we do things” part is still the best and most important differentiator of our firm. It’s not just having lots of smart people, although there are many. It’s the combination of the type of smart people and the rapid pace of the work, the focus on outcomes, the flexibility, and the minimal bureaucracy with just enough structure. Even with a new CEO, the values haven’t changed.

Q:
Is it different working on the “outside”?
A:

Well, frankly, I thought that one big benefit of going to industry would be working fewer hours. Sadly, that wasn’t true. Our clients work with the same intensity we do. Perhaps that symmetry is part of the reason they are our clients.

The big difference was that lots of people could say no, but fewer people understood “yes” and how to manage risk. This comes back to culture. It is hard to run a big company without stifling all the great ideas. I was able to drive new initiatives, but it was a constant battle. Now having lived this, I have new, valuable insights into key areas of leverage and opportunity for our clients, particularly around the need for partnership and transforming the relationship between IT and the business.

Q:
Any advice for anyone considering a career in management consulting?

A:

The core consulting skills are essential: Know how to structure a problem, be quantitative, work productively and collaboratively, and be curious. I would give the same advice to non-MBA recruits—those coming with tech or engineering or analytics skills. At AlixPartners, you have to be able to drive change quickly.

Frankly, AlixPartners is a great place for people who like to get things done. You will lead initiatives, get up to your elbows in C-level client projects that improve an organization, and be a change agent.

Q:
What about staying connected with your network, as an alumnus and now as an employee?
A:

I am a “select networker.” I want to keep in touch with people who have similar, positive mindsets. I don’t attend a lot of events, but I do stay connected to people—at AlixPartners and everywhere—that I genuinely like and respect. I am not transactional, it’s a relationship for me. I use LinkedIn of course, but I also see people online and offline at local community events, AlixAlumni gatherings, school events, and at trade or industry shows. It was certainly a good thing to stay connected to former colleagues at AlixPartners. Those people are now my colleagues again. You just never know how things will circle around.

Learn more about the AlixAlumni program here. 

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