VyhnanovskyI'm quite used to being asked inquisitive questions. It’s also because I play football, but not the type that Petr Čech and Tomáš Rosický do, but the kind needing helmets and shoulder-action. This draws people’s attention. Anywhere it starts being discussed, people are always interested in hearing more. However, the amount of attention my colleagues paid to me when I joined PwC was overwhelming. So, you’re the guy from Forbes? Forbes, really? That Forbes? Are you the Pulitzer’s guy? I realised that by changing my career path, I broke some stereotypes and showed others that there’s nothing like “the only” or “the right” way to get to Technology Consulting.

Technologies, involving anything you might imagine in this term, have always fascinated me. At grammar school, I started being very active in our school magazine and I was quite interested in looking closer at the world of media. However, I knew that it meant not getting too far from the field of technologies. At the beginning of the new millennium, no one probably knew where the development could lead in the next two decades, but it was clear even then that the media would go online. And that it would require changes.

Analyses, comments and investigations in what’s going on in telecommunications or technologies, including self-education, were a part of my everyday duties for seven years. That gave me the opportunity to see and try some innovations directly at their source anywhere from Singapore to the USA even before their official launch.

What brought me to Technology Consulting was my interest in self-development

Why did I decide to leave something I had become (even though it may sound immodest) a star at and to start somewhere else from scratch? It was due to the opportunity to grow professionally as well as personally, which used to be quite limited at my former job. Technologies I was introducing to the lay public were going through rapid development. However, I wasn’t. Then when I was creating the new electronic interactive greenfield weekly magazine at Forbes focused on technologies and the future in general, I thought that technological projects could be exactly the right way. My ambition to move forwards forced me to step out of my comfort zone.

Life in sports parallels

Personally, I like the parallels of sports and life, as I grew up among sports teams and I can see the similarities not only regarding my own personal life. When I switched from basketball to American football after many years spent under the bottomless baskets, and joined the enthusiastic and well-experienced guys who are practically professional players, it was not easy for me to be a newbie at my age. However, I wanted to learn from the best ones and the team supported me, helped me get on my feet and now our team of Prague Black Panthers is winning one. Why did I join PwC? To learn from the best.

And that’s how it happened for me – a journalist with a Master’s degree and being thirty-something already –to have joined a team of complete strangers at the PwC office at Pankrác two years ago. You might have imagined a different kind of a new team member for Technology Consulting. However, TC is not a group of boring IT guys who can just be smart while sitting at their desk. We spend most of our time directly with our clients where we take an active part in solving their problems. So called hard skills are equally important to us as soft skills.

Obviously, people normally have the former and only learn the latter, but it was the other way around for me and that wasn’t a problem. Sometimes it was even an advantage. Dealing with people must not make you nervous in doing this job. “You will need to discuss it with the board,” warned me my colleague during my very first project. He was surprised that I had no problem in doing that. I did an interview with Satya Nadella, talked to John Sculley (yes, that John Sculley who ousted Steve Jobs from Apple) over a cup of coffee, so why should I be afraid of talking to a board member of a local bank, right?!

What should you know about Technology Consulting? 

The important thing is that hard skills as well as soft skills can be taught. PwC cares about employee development and that’s a huge and a pleasant change compared to my previous jobs. Everyone has their yearly budget for education and it’s only up to them to decide how to use it.

And why do we do exactly at Technology Consulting? It’s true that the title itself may not make it clear and my wife, for instance, still has no idea of what I do exactly. When one of my bosses tested me on some rebus puzzles, I didn’t know where he was heading. It wasn’t till later that I realised it’s exactly depicting our work. We solve rebus puzzles.

Clients – in my team’s case, mainly companies from the sector of banking, telecommunications, media, and entertainment – have a problem which they don’t know how to handle. Or they do know about a problem, yet they can’t put it words properly. And we help them find and implement the right solutions. To give you a specific example, I have dealt with the implementation of regulatory requirements of a multinational company into the systems of its subsidiary, then I took part in designing a new digital client onboarding system, in designing a new mobile application or creating a digital strategy for an entire company.

There’s plenty of variety in our field and everyone can find what they like best. This applies not only to our work, but also to the evenings after work where we all meet every month to share the news and experience from our projects, which in fact takes place by means of pub quizzes, beach volleyball, paintball or go-karts. The thing is, work-life balance is necessary even for us at Technology Consulting.

Ondřej Vyhnanovský

PwC Technology Consulting