The Bigger the Challenge, the Bigger the Opportunity for Growth

Georg Hauer, a former consultant from BCG’s Vienna office, discusses disrupting the global banking industry and how to make your team unstoppable.

You are enthusiastic about scaling technology companies and have held multiple leadership roles at N26, a Germany-based mobile bank. How have you seen your role in the mobile banking space grow, and what are you most excited for about the future at N26?

What's exciting about joining a fast-growing tech company like N26 is that every day presents new and exciting opportunities. I am very lucky to have held multiple senior roles in different parts of the business. In all cases, success came down to one simple thing: the team. When building a new team, I typically spend most of my time understanding the problem we really want to solve and how to hire and empower the best people to help us solve it. At N26, our objective is nothing less than to disrupt the entire global banking industry. Today, we’re present in 25 markets, of which I lead 15, but there's a lot of room for our company to expand. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity for growth. The future certainly won't be boring.

As you mentioned, with growth come new and exciting opportunities. What are some new opportunities or partnerships you’ve been able to take part in?

Given how tough of a year 2020 has been, we wanted to contribute in a meaningful way by supporting impactful organizations that provide for individuals in our communities. This move is important to us, as well as to our customers. For this reason, we joined the global partnership between Mastercard and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the latter of which won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. These two groups have been working together since 2012, focusing on access to school meals, education, and the impact of hunger on childhood development. We were excited to join this partnership and support the WFP with every online payment during the month of December—something we expect will result in millions of meals donated in the fight against hunger.

What was your experience transitioning from a large consulting firm to a fast-growing startup like?

At BCG, I learned how to adapt quickly to new environments and approach challenges in a highly structured manner. I learned never to give up easily. The startup tech industry is indeed quite different from consulting. Things change at a faster speed, and the tolerance for ambiguity and appetite for risk are a lot higher. Nevertheless, the skills I learned at BCG have prepared me to work in this environment and continue to serve me well.

How has your BCG experience benefitted your career? Are there any key lessons learned or professional advice that you still carry with you?

The most important lesson I learned at BCG is to put people first in everything you do. In a nutshell: when you put the right people into the right positions and equip them with the right resources, you're almost unstoppable. I was fortunate to have many strong mentors offer me a lot of advice at BCG, but this was the one piece that truly changed my perspective on leadership.

Do you have a favorite BCG memory—a case team experience, tale from the road, breakthrough with a client, or story from the office?

My favorite BCG memory was working on M&A banking projects in Russia at the peak of the natural resource boom, which at the time put me well outside of my comfort zone. It wasn't the project work itself that shaped my memory but the bonds and friendships I built during this period—often while sipping tea and eating borscht. I remain close with many of those people with whom I shared the experience today.

The Bigger the Challenge, the Bigger the Opportunity for Growth