Noshad Irshad is 27 years old. He was born and raised in Hamburg. Noshad holds a B.Sc. in International Management from the ESB Business School in Reutlingen, Germany. Noshad conducted his graduate studies in Climate and Society (with a focus on Global Energy Management & Policy as well as Behavioral Economics) at Columbia and Harvard University. Prior to his studies in the United States, Noshad was an Entrepreneur in Residence at a healthcare startup in Berlin. Most of his other work experiences are in the field of renewables and green mobility. Some of Noshad’s best memories resonate with his one-year teaching assistantship in New Zealand. He loves Indian cuisine, playing badminton and Berlin’s nightlife scene. Noshad will be joining The Boston Consulting Group in January 2017.
QX: Noshad, you just came back to Hamburg after studying in New York and Boston/Cambridge for two years. How was the feeling of returning home after being away for such a long time?
Noshad: Happiness on one day, sadness on the other day. Over and over again. Both New York and Boston/Cambridge are really cool places, but in the end: there is no place like home! Right now, I am very happy to be back in Germany.
QX: At Columbia University you studied in the Global Energy Management & Policy program. Already back in time during your internships at Deloitte and Siemens in Germany and China you had been focusing on green mobility and renewable energy topics. What drives this interest?
Noshad: To be quite honest, I simply got staffed on my first project in this field by the company. I had no say at all. However, I quickly got extremely fascinated by the fact that many green initiatives actually have very powerful economics (frankly, I used to think the opposite). Going forward, I always tried to get staffed on more of such projects. I simply enjoy the fact that I can apply my business studies – which are often seen as dry and purely “about money” – to something that actually contributes to creating a somewhat better world. In addition, I really enjoy the fact that projects related to climate change allow me to do truly interdisciplinary work; these projects expose me to various topics and people in business, government and civil society. Plus, they have implications for countries, corporations and individuals alike. I find the latter part most interesting and relevant – how do you nudge individuals to “be more green”? My studies in the U.S. allowed me to explore this question in great depth.
QX: You not only graduated from Columbia, but studied at Harvard as well. What were the most valuable experiences in Boston/Cambridge for you?
Noshad: I spent much of my time in Cambridge organizing the 8th German American Conference at Harvard as one of four co-chairs (the German American Conference is the largest student-led conference of its kind in the United States; it brings together leaders from business, politics, academia and media with students and young professionals to discuss the most pressing transatlantic challenges). Organizing and hosting this event was probably one of my best experiences. I did not only meet so many inspiring people over the months – fellow Harvard students and team members, prominent speakers, sponsors as well as participants – but also had many opportunities for personal development.
QX: Two weeks ago you invited QX to participate in the opening of the Council of the German American Conference at Harvard e.V. (GAC) at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. Can you share with us some more details on the vision of the Council and the next steps ahead?
Noshad: Together with three of my fellow Harvard friends and conference team members, we recently founded the Council of the German American Conference at Harvard e.V. in Berlin, which serves as an alumni club and support foundation for the German American Conference.
Our vision is to build a unique community of aspiring and established leaders in the U.S. and Germany to inspire leadership, foster transatlantic dialogue, and promote innovation. Amongst others, we are strongly supported in this endeavor by our Presidium Members Dr. Peter Wittig (German Ambassador to the U.S.), Prof. Dr. Miriam Meckel (Editor in Chief at WirtschaftsWoche), Eric Fellhauer (CEO at Lazard Germany), and many more.
On the one hand, we host several informal and formal events across the year on both sides of the Atlantic for the alumni of Harvard University and friends of the German American Conference (i.e. former and new members of the organizing committee as well as former and new speakers, sponsors and partners). On the other hand, we provide professional mentorship and relevant contacts (e.g. to speakers and sponsors) to the new organizing committees of each upcoming German American Conference at Harvard.
In 2017, we are planning to host a number of innovative event formats, incl. our intimate dinner series with prominent speakers and various institutional partners, fireside chats, personal leadership workshops, a G20 workshop together with the German Ministry of Finance, a forum event at the German Federal Foreign Office, a luncheon with the German Ambassador in Washington, and many more.
Moreover, we are currently seeking to build up corporate and strategic partnerships to support our cause and develop new exciting opportunities (such as, for instance, access to a highly qualified pool of students and young professionals for our partners). Amongst others, with QX since the network and our Council have many similar aspirations and there is great potential for synergies and complements. We look forward to a fruitful partnership with QX!
QX: Putting the Council aside for a moment, you’ll join BCG soon. What are your expectations?
Noshad: Inspiration, personal growth, friendships, impact, and fun!
QX: Working at BCG and building-up the GAC Council at the same time seems like two jobs at once. What keeps you going? And how do you recharge?
Noshad: What keeps me going is being in teams with driven and like-minded people – people who want to build something great, people who want create a lasting impact, people who are fun, and people who are friends. I love to recharge at the sauna and steam bath after a good workout.
QX: Last but not least: What is your personal Vanity?
Noshad: “A or B? Or C? Let’s go for D. Wait, I think I actually like B better!”
Oftentimes, I find it hard to make decisions, no matter whether it’s about a new shirt, what to cook for dinner, which movie to watch, or what job to go for. I usually take my time to make “informed decisions”.