Martin Hrachovec is from Prague and works as a strategic planning manager in Plzeňský Prazdroj for almost three years. Prior to that, he worked briefly in a similar position - business development and planning - at Phillip Morris International. After graduating in 2013, he joined Deloitte as an associate, and then he gradually worked his way up to a manager, focusing on strategic projects and commercial due diligence. He also gained experience during his studies, either at the Dutch company APG Asset Management directly in the Netherlands or as a business analyst at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants.
Martin graduated from the IES in 2012. During his studies, he also passed an Erasmus study stay at the University of Jönköpping, Sweden. After successfully completing his master's degree in Prague, he decided to study a one-year master's degree in Tilburg, the Netherlands, which he finished in 2013.
In his free time, Martin enjoys sports and enjoying time with his family.
At the University of Tilburg, you studied "Economics and Finance of Aging". Why did you choose this field? Did you go to Tilburg just because you wanted to study this topic here, or did you try some other schools that has focused on this field?
I used to work around 30 hours a week throughout the Masters program at the IES. Therefore, I wanted to try studying full-time, ideally abroad. I considered also a program in Amsterdam that was completely different, but the Economics and Finance of Ageing was recommended to me by a friend I met at Erasmus exchange in Sweden. It focuses on pension systems and is sponsored by a local think-tank Netspar. It is a smaller program and the alumni are typically well regarded on the job market.
You spent a semester at the Swedish University of Jonkoping. How did you like it there, could you assess the study system in Sweden and the Netherlands? Is it similar or fundamentally different?
I don’t feel qualified to compare the university systems in general. The Erasmus exchange in Sweden was more about the culture and experience, but the courses were more business oriented and the organization of the semester was rather similar to the one in Prague. In Tilburg there was more emphasis on work and projects during the semester and the final exams were sometimes not as crucial as in the Czech system.
During your studies you also worked in a company in Netherlands. Weren't you tempted to stay there? Is the work environment similar to the Czech Republic?
Looking back at the experience I must say that the environment was quite similar – including some trouble with IT equipment as all corporate workers know very well :-). But on a more serious note, it always comes down to the people and colleagues in the Netherlands were very helpful and open to newcomers. I have considered staying for a full-time job in the Netherlands and even took part in some of the recruitment processes. In the end I returned to Prague to join the strategy consulting team at Deloitte.
Martin, you work in Plzeňský Prazdroj, how do you enjoy working "at the brewery"? Is the work here any more different from your previous experience at Deloitte or Roland Berger?
Beer business and Prazdroj in particular was kind of a dream job of mine when leaving consulting. Obviously, the environment in a large FMCG company as well as the ways of working are somewhat different to the Big4 or consulting companies. What I appreciate at my current job is the ability to really go into the details and get full understanding of the business. Moreover, you can see the results of your everyday work and the impact it makes. And you can call each visit of a pub or restaurant a “market research” :-)
What exactly are you doing at your position? How would you evaluate the scope of work? Is it more of a managerial position where you have to manage people, or is it more about coordinating projects?
My current position is called Strategic planning and projects manager but there are no direct reports in the orgchart. I would split the job description into three parts: first is the management of the strategic planning process, which entails coordinating the preparation of a 3-year plan mainly with the company directors. Second part is regular reporting for EXCO and B1 managers regarding the market and competition development. And the third part consists of either leading or contributing to projects across the company, be it market sizing for new products, regulatory impacts analysis for corporate affairs team or internal process optimization. I must say that the previous experience from consulting comes in handy in all three parts of the job.
How do you spend your free time? Which are your hobbies?
Spending free time has looked quite differently this year. Normally I love doing sports with my friends, including a beer or two afterwards, ranging from volleyball or football to cycling and skiing. Besides that I like to travel and explore local cuisine as well as the beer production. This year I am glad I get to spend more time with my family – my wife and our nine-month old daughter – walking through the empty streets of Prague.