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How Tom became a Business Consultant

Written by Penny van Puymbroeck on 12 March 2022 for Graduates

Tom Casteelen was one of the very first consultants joining Exellys in the Netherlands. When he was finishing his Master’s, his plan was to start working for a major consultancy firm. But while he was having second thoughts about this – do I want to go in for short wins, or would I prefer staying at a client for longer, he wondered – he got a LinkedIn message from our Talent Scout Bonne van der Laan about an opportunity at HPE.

Tom’s specs

  • 27 years old
  • Living in Amsterdam, where he got his Master’s in business administration
  • Born and raised in Almere, where he got his Bachelor’s (HBO) in Commercial Economy
  • Worked as a freelancer for 3 years before becoming one of the first Exellysts in the Netherlands
  • Enjoys playing golf and going to the gym after work, before going home to have dinner with his girlfriend (sorry ladies, he’s taken!)

Tom: “Bonne’s message came at the perfect time. The type of consultancy Exellys offers, where you stay at a client for a longer time and eventually get the opportunity to integrate, was exactly what I was looking for. So we quickly scheduled a first interview. After this I went through a series of assessments, had another interview with Penny Van Puymbroeck (Exellys NL’s Country Lead), and then with the people from HPE. Everything went perfectly, and now I’m working for HPE as an Account Delivery Manager.”

You were thinking of joining a big consultancy firm before joining Exellys. How did you feel about going from that dream to becoming one of the first employees of our NL office?

“Honestly, I didn’t even think about that. And now that I’m in it, I find that I really like being one of the trail blazers for Exellys in the Netherlands. Sure, there have been a few hick-ups and things that didn’t go perfectly. But that’s normal when you’re basically setting up a new company. Overall, I’m pumped about working for Exellys. The fact that they’re just getting started in the Netherlands gives it a start-up vibe that’s really pleasant.”

What do you like most about working for Exellys?

“It’s nice to have the Exellys community to ‘fall back on’. HPE is a big company, which means I don’t have a lot of contact with my colleagues there, especially in a working from home context. The demographic of HPE employees is also a bit older, a lot of them are in their 50s. It’s great to work with people who have that much experience, as I’m learning a lot from them, but it’s also nice to have my younger colleagues at Exellys, where there is a lot of interaction between consultants, especially at the office bar.”

How Tom Became a Business Consultant

Can you tell us a bit more about your job at HPE? What does an Account Delivery Manager do?

“Well, as a company, HPE is going through a huge transition. We’re making everything a service now. Where we used to sell you a server and say: thank you for doing business with us and good luck with it, we now offer a full-service package. For a monthly fee, we make sure your server is up and running, if something goes wrong, we fix it. So that means full support contracts but also proactive advice on IT environments and managed services.

This transition requires a huge shift in the delivery organisation and the mindset of the people responsible. So, to answer your question: my job as an ADM (Account Delivery Manager) is to act as the lubricant within the account team, HPE internally and between HPE and the client. I make sure it all runs smoothly. It’s also our job to keep the conversation with HPE’s clients going, that way we’re always on top of things whether it’s a new ‘sales opportunity’ or a problem that pops up.

For example, if an issue does come up, it’s my responsibility to make sure it lands with the right people, and that the right people receive feedback afterwards. But if you’d ask the same question to any of my fellow ADMs, they would probably give you a different answer. That’s what’s so great about being mid-transition. We get to find our own way in a brave new world, and that’s very exciting.”

You talk about your job with a lot of enthusiasm. Why do you feel so strongly that HPE is the right place for you?

“For one, I always wanted to work for a major organisation. And HPE definitely is one of the big guys. Second, as I mentioned before, I enjoy the transition we’re in and how we’re managing these changes. Third, I really enjoy the open culture at HPE. I could call up my manager’s manager right now and tell him about an issue I’m having. That would be no problem. Last but not least, I feel really good working in a place that values a ‘growth mindset’. My manager often quotes Pippi Longstocking: ‘I have never tried that before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that.’ I love that positive way of thinking!”

We’re thrilled to hear that you’re so happy at HPE, but let’s talk some more about being an Exellyst. Even though you’ve only just started, can you tell us about your Exellys experience so far?

“After about a month, my TDM Leslie came to Amsterdam and we sat down with my manager at HPE to discuss expectations. I found it very valuable to talk about what Exellys and HPE expected of me, what I expected of them and what they expected of each other. It was just an open conversation where everything could be discussed, which was a nice experience.

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In December of last year, I had the Start Smart kickoff weekend in a castle in the Ardennes in Belgium. This was very intense! The first day was all about getting to know each other, the second day we dove into the deep end. Thanks to Insights I learned a lot about what gives me energy and what drains my energy, about how I communicate and how this lands with others. I found this very illuminating. For example, my profile showed that I’m not very detail oriented. But going into detail is an important part of my job, so now I know that’s something I really have to pay attention to. On the third day we learned about giving and receiving feedback, which was also very informative. The weekend was Thursday through Saturday, and the next Monday I could go into work and immediately put all these things I learned into practice. It was great.”

If you could give one piece of advice to young talents still in school or people just starting their career, what would it be?

“When I was still in school, I thought I had to make strategic choices. Work for a major consultancy firm, work my butt off 60 hours a week, making it through the first two years to make a name for myself and assume it would be smooth sailing from there. I’m so glad I decided against that strategy! Now, as an Exellyst at HPE, I’m already enjoying my work and the impact I’m having after only two months. I think it’s important to ask yourself: do I want to do unpleasant work for a potential future benefit, or do I want to enjoy myself right now? It’s important to enjoy what you do, because you spend so much of your time doing it. And when you love what you do, success follows.”

Thank you for your time, Tom, and good luck in your future!

Thinking about becoming a Business Consultant yourself? Great! Because we just launched a brand-new two-year business consultancy traineeship in Amsterdam!  Discover the exact trainings and download the full syllabus right here.

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About Exellys

Exellys is a Tech Talent Incubator. We match ambitious companies with the finest tech talent. Are you ready to drive the innovations of tomorrow? Ready to make an impact and become a future-fit digital leader?

Whether you are a graduate or (young) professional, Exellys will unlock your full potential by guiding you to a challenging work environment that perfectly matches your personality, expectations and ambitions.

On top of that, you are enrolled in one of our very own training and coaching programs (based on your personal and professional ambition and experience). This means that, while working as an Exellys consultant, we are helping you to bridge your ambition to excellence.

Through intensive training and coaching, you’ll gain the essential skills, competencies and knowledge necessary to become the highly effective professional you aim to be.

Become an Exellyst and get in touch with us today!

Written by Penny van Puymbroeck Country Lead Netherlands