At BCG, Challengers go against expected thinking and inspire their teams to be truly innovative. Ulrike has the courage to take action.
What I value most at BCG is the unique mix of deep analytics and compassion, of ambition and sincerity, of entrepreneurial spirit and teaming—be it in client service or social impact.
Two issues always intrigued me: understanding root causes of complex problems and effective ways to drive impact. BCG proved to be the perfect place to do both. Also, the mixture of continuous learning and teaming with outstanding people is a real privilege.
Because of the wide range of industries and topics as well as the close interaction with very different client teams—and the experience to work abroad for long periods—I have grown professionally and personally.
What I didn’t expect was to realize my personal objective: applying BCG skills to social causes. But as a social impact expert principal, that´s exactly what I do. In addition, BCG has let me build and lead the not-for-profit initiative JOBLINGE, which illustrates a distinct part of BCG’s DNA: an invitation to push innovative ideas until they deliver impact.
Ulrike studied economics and philosophy at the University of Hamburg, the University St. Gallen, Switzerland, and the Institut d´Etudes Politique in Paris and holds an economics diploma from the University of Hamburg.
Q: When did you know you belonged at BCG?
A: When I left university and especially the ivory tower of philosophy, I didn´t expect to find a setting again where the best argument wins regardless of the status and tenure of its author. But participating in the first BCG case team meetings, I witnessed a culture in which senior BCG partners encourage junior team members to bring their points on the table. This honest and unconditional commitment to jointly push for the best solution mesmerized me—and still does.
Q: How has BCG helped you grow and succeed?
A: BCG has allowed me to cover a wide range of industries—but also experience a different culture by working and living for 18 months in the US as part of BCG’s ambassador program. I was able to grow and take on more responsibility not only through client services but also by serving in internal roles, such as on the career development committee. In my current position as social impact principal and CEO of the not-for profit organization JOBLINGE, I can leverage my BCG skills, network, and expertise to maximize social impact.
Q: Tell us about a moment when you challenged the status quo.
A: Challenging the status quo often is a starting point of client assignments. It is usually based on new or more detailed analyses of financials, operative parameters, or industry benchmarks. And it helps our clients to win the competitive edge.
For me, the most important challenge of the status quo has been with JOBLINGE. We were told that the participants in the program have not been able to succeed in “normal” jobs or apprenticeships and never would. On average, school-to-work-programs with our target groups realize placement rates between 10% and 30%. JOBLINGE achieves more than 75%, with retention rates above 80%. This success is the result of challenging the status quo: analyzing the way public funding sets distorted incentives, how employers set entry barriers in recruiting, and the common beliefs in the attitudes of some social workers. It takes a deep breath to challenge belief systems and established markets—but it is worthwhile.