July 19, 2021

No question – when you make partner, all your hard work pays off, but it’s no time to sit back and relax. Here’s my personal story:


“Hi, Max…”


I remember it to this day. The moment I got the news. The news I had waited to hear. And there it was. From Kearney’s Central European Unit Head.


It was way past midnight. I had been out in Berlin at a team dinner, and back in the hotel, upon switching on my phone, I saw the voicemail icon flashing. Not really flashing; after all, it was a Motorola Timeport P something.


“Hi, Max, Dietmar here. Can’t reach you directly, but before the official message goes out later, I want to let you know that the board today…”


I couldn’t believe my ears. The last year or so had me working so incredibly hard. And hadn’t I done my very best to tick off some senior partners over the last few months too?


But here it was. Finally, me – a vice president, an officer of the firm. I made it.


The buck stops here


The next few weeks felt a little like being in dreamland. Everything felt…different. Congratulations continued but quickly, reality set in:

As a new partner, I was back at the bottom rung of the ladder.


Now the buck stopped with me, in my little patch.


And I had to get that buck moving so it could actually stop. The following years became even more demanding than before.


Yes, lots of highs, but also some drawbacks. Times of self-doubt, apprehension. Balancing career progression with having a life. Tough.


Was it worth it? Would I do it again?




BUT would I do things differently?


Most definitely.


Being “less Max” would have helped. But that’s another story altogether.


The ultimate career achievement


Many see making partner as the ultimate career achievement, but you need to be prepared to step up again and again once you are there. There are new challenges to face, and they will keep coming!


Firms have an incredible way to spot when you start getting a little complacent.


And they throw something at you that you better catch. Ducking down doesn’t get you ready for the next step!


Are you up for it?




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