Broadening Horizons with Philipp Hampl (M.S. in Global Commerce ’18)

We recently spoke to graduate Philipp Hampl about his current position, how the transformative M.S. in Global Commerce experience continues to inform his work, and how it has given him an invaluable international network.

An accomplished student with a B.A. in Management and an M.A. in Banking and Finance from the University of St. Gallen (Switzerland), Philipp Hampl was excelling in his studies and passed the CFA level II—but he was driven to learn more.

With a keen interest in learning and refining skills in cross-cultural and strategic management, he discovered McIntire’s groundbreaking M.S. in Global Commerce Program.

Having served multiple internships in banking, finance consulting, and private equity, he chose the one-year program that brings students to Grounds in Charlottesville to earn an M.S. in Global Commerce from UVA McIntire, an M.S. in Global Strategic Management from ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, and a certificate in International Business from Lingnan (University) College at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China.

Hampl, currently in McKinsey & Company’s Austrian office in a generalist consulting position, recalls that he aimed to gain more experience abroad, hoping to challenge himself in new cultural and academic settings.

“The M.S. in Global Commerce offers a unique opportunity to combine all of these factors,” Hampl says. “In addition, I found the program’s distinct cross-cultural student mix very appealing, as it would sharpen my understanding of different cultures and enable me to broaden my professional network.”

We recently spoke to Hampl about his current position, how the transformative M.S. in Global Commerce experience continues to inform his work, and how it has given him an invaluable international network.

What do you enjoy about working at McKinsey & Company? How would you describe your role?

Working as a management consultant offers a great deal of flexibility. In my first year in the firm, I’ve worked in completely different industries and topics. Dealing mostly on large transformations, I usually spend a lot of time finding potential levers to increase company performance together with our clients. We then help them implement these solutions into practice. It can range from introducing new products and, setting prices to automating processes, to applying lean management techniques.

At McKinsey, there is a strong vision to “make your own McKinsey.” What I enjoy the most here is the ability to combine this entrepreneurial spirit with fabulous colleagues who help me challenge myself on a daily basis. Currently, I work as an Associate (“Fellow”) in the Austrian office.

What aspects of the M.S. in Global Commerce Program stay with you? What lessons, projects, and experiences continue to be influential in your current role?

Looking back, cross-cultural management was a constant theme during the program. Interestingly, the improvements and development of these skills become apparent only at the very end of the program. Being comfortable working with people from completely different backgrounds and cultures in various settings is an invaluable skill. Academically, the business simulation class proved to be a very informative. We essentially ran a virtual company and had to adjust to different managerial challenges. This hands-on experience gave me a much better understanding of day-to-day management that I still apply today. Furthermore, writing a master’s thesis in a group of three helped me to approach problems more holistically.

How would you characterize the relationships you’ve built from your time in the M.S. in Global Commerce Program? How have your personal and professional networks grown or changed as a result?

Living together with 60 people from around the globe and experiencing all these different situations build an incredible bond. I consider my fellow students as close friends and am happy to have already attended one of our European reunions. Looking forward to our next one! Professionally, my network also greatly expanded. Not only are my fellow student colleagues highly successful and in many different industries and companies, but the career centers at all three universities gave me the opportunity to get in touch with many alums.

What are some specific aspects of learning at UVA McIntire, ESADE, and Lingnan that might not be readily apparent—perhaps details known only by someone who has gone through the three-school program?

I believe the different teaching styles (case studies, group work, presentations, one-on-one, etc.) applied across each university help you adjust to different aspects of work life. I also feel that the guest lectures are very high quality and that there is a clear goal to combine theoretical knowledge with practical applications. The most amazing part about the program is that you learn to adjust to completely new situations on the fly, while leading teams from completely different backgrounds. A lot of universities may teach classes like this, but in this program you actually learn how to do it.

What advice would you give to anyone considering the M.S. in Global Commerce Program?

If you want to expand your comfort zone and are willing to learn about cross-cultural and strategic management, you should definitely apply to the program. This will be the experience of your lifetime! You’ll also make 60 new friends across the globe. I scanned many other top-ranked programs before joining this one, and there is nothing like it. Also, if anyone has any doubts, feel free to reach out to me anytime via LinkedIn. I’m happy to chat!

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