January 26th 2023

Success factors in global consulting

Panel event with Herbert Henzler, International Business Consultant, Former European Chairman of McKinsey & Company

In cooperation with the "Deutschen Freundeskreis der Universitäten in Innsbruck e.V."




 © MCI/Kiechl

"Universities meet friends". With this appealing motto, the traditional “Deutscher Freundeskreis der Universitäten in Innsbruck e.V.” (DFK), together with the University of Innsbruck (LFUI), the Medical University of Innsbruck (MUI) and MCI | The Entrepreneurial School®, has been organizing friendly gatherings in Germany and Austria with top-class personalities connected to Innsbruck as a university city.

The DFK recently welcomed a particularly distinguished guest in Innsbruck: Herbert Henzler, the former Chairman of McKinsey & Company Europe, whose visit attracted numerous students and members of the three Innsbruck universities as well as friends from business & society. Katja Hutter, Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Innsbruck, and Peter Mirski, CIO and Head of the Departments of Management, Communication & IT and Digital Business & Software Engineering at MCI moderated the lively panel discussion.

Herbert Henzler provided insights into his life and his journey from a "farmboy" to Chairman of McKinsey Europe by sharing countless amusing and instructive anecdotes. For example, he talked about his first job interview at the global consulting firm - a life-defining event that led to an immediate job offer, even though he had aspired to a career as a professor before. "Very often, youngsters are not sure if they are on the right path. In these moments, they need reinforcement from seniors" - a lesson that has always accompanied him in his career, especially in recruiting.

Today, Henzler can look back on 32 years at McKinsey. The main reason he stayed at the firm for many decades was primarily the team. "From day one, I worked in a team, which I always enjoyed. Above all, it was the people around me who ultimately kept me with the company for so long."

According to Henzler, humbleness, factual knowledge and a will to work hard are the most important qualities in consulting. However, the secret of a successful manager lies elsewhere. "Many employees at McKinsey have given up their hobbies and relationships in order to work. That's a big mistake. You need to have balance - a second 'wing' - outside of your job. You can't fly with just one wing."

When answering the audience’s questions, he emphasized the importance of moving on, both in a personal and professional context. "Don't stay in the same place! You have to move on. Otherwise, you will become stale. That's the only way you'll be able to develop and also gain an international foothold." Thus, throughout his career, Henzler oftentimes based his decisions on the motto "been there, seen it, moved on."