MLB Graduate Story: From International Consultancy in the Gulf to a Fellowship at Harvard

Thomas Hocks from Germany on how international management consultants can benefit greatly from interdisciplinary programs like the Master of Law and Business.

Thomas Hocks studied Business Administration – particularly Finance and Management – in Ingolstadt and Guangzhou as part of a German-Chinese Double Bachelor’s Program. In 2012 he joined the Bucerius Master of Law and Business.

Why did you decide to continue your studies and why did you choose the MLB in particular?

"While studying Business Administration, I realized how important it is to understand fields like economics, politics, or law. Businesses do not exist in a vacuum and especially laws and regulations set a “playing field” companies operate in. The MLB piqued my interest, as Bucerius Law School is known for its outstanding quality of teaching and for being the leading law school in Germany. The personal interaction with Dean Larsen and the attentive admission staff sealed the deal for me."

What have you been doing professionally since graduation?

"I attended the MLB in the years 2012/2013 and started working as a management consultant for The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) afterwards. What started out as internship in Hamburg during my MLB, became a full-time position in BCG’s Dubai office. For 2.5 years, I worked predominantly in the Gulf region, advising public sector entities on economic and social reforms, as well as private corporations on their strategies."  

How has the legal knowledge you acquired in the MLB program made you better at your job?

"As management consultant with BCG, I quickly became interested in public sector projects. During these projects, knowing international trade and taxation from both their legal and business angles was invaluable for me when helping clients designing economic development plans or special economic zones. My business knowledge helped me understand how companies make investment decisions, while my legal insights made me aware how countries can adjust their legal framework to facilitate these investments."

Why do you think legal knowledge is beneficial for business graduates in general, and consultants in particular?

"The challenges international corporations face, arise not only from the business side, but are increasingly at an intersection with law, economics, and politics. In order to help their clients, management consultants need to understand multiple if not all of these dimensions. The MLB is an excellent program that cuts through various disciplines and provides this valuable 'intersection knowledge'."

You are currently a McCloy Fellow, studying Public Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Why did you decide to study towards an additional Master’s degree?

"Both the public sector and the private sector (particularly in fields like financial services, energy, or healthcare) face questions that require knowledge at the intersection of numerous disciplines. In this respect, Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government has an outstanding reputation for bringing people from these different backgrounds together. This gives an opportunity to discuss some of the most pressing global challenges – such as climate change, inequality, economic development – and work on their solution. As Public Policy student and McCloy Fellow, I can be part of this conversation and share experiences, while learning from both my teachers and fellow students. This is truly exciting and furthermore equips me with skills I can use in my future career to work on some of these challenges and 'Ask what you can do'."