The Future of Work

The Flying Consultant

  • Dr. Peter Woditschka
  • November 04, 2021

Since he was young, consultant Peter Woditschka always dreamed of flying airplanes. 

But when he started working, he realized that the demanding hours required as a consultant meant that he could only dedicate a small amount of time to flying. 

Not wanting to sacrifice either his dream of flying or his work as a consultant, Peter decided to find a solution that allowed him to make time for both. This was when he discovered independent consulting, which gave him the flexibility to pursue both of his passions.

Why did you decide to become an independent consultant?

When I was working for McKinsey, I was extremely satisfied with the projects offered to me, so my professional life seemed perfectly ok – satisfying, rewarding, challenging, and out of my comfort zone. This was exactly what I loved. 

However, outside of work, I had an unexpected hobby: flying little 4 or 6-seater airplanes.

One day,  I was offered the opportunity to join an airline as a First Officer on the Fokker 100 Jet— a plane weighing 44 tons, carrying over 100 passengers, powered by two strong jet engines. Expanding my hobby into a profession and getting paid for it was so appealing to me. As a young boy, I had always dreamed of flying large airplanes. I felt that I owed it to my childhood dreams to take this leap of faith.

So, I made the difficult decision to leave McKinsey for this job as an airline pilot. My intention was to be a full-time pilot for one year, and after this break, I would reflect on how I wanted my career to develop. When the year was over, I knew I couldn’t stop flying professionally.

After a few years in airline management, I was still missing my consulting life. That was when I first found out about COMATCH.

Could you tell us something about your flying experience? When did you start flying, and what do you enjoy about it?

The act of flying alone is already a great experience. I have tried both paragliding and flying privately on smaller planes. While these experiences are amazing, flying in the airliner cockpit is in a completely different league. 

At first sight, flying seems to be a very different job from consulting. But when you dig deeper, you discover quite a lot of similarities.

It might surprise you that much of what pilots have to learn can also be useful for managers making decisions under pressure or in time-sensitive situations. If a pilot can’t decide where to perform an emergency landing, they are ultimately deciding to crash and die. Having this picture in mind often helps me to advise managers to reflect on their decision-making behavior.

Do you think you would have time to invest in this activity if you did not do freelance work?

If I had continued my work as a full-time consultant, it would have been impossible to pursue my dream of flying large planes with an airline.

A few years ago, I had the mindset that my time in the cockpit was time I was using to help me realize my dream, at the cost of my consulting career. Thanks to COMATCH, I know that this is not true! The time in the cockpit was more, it was an investment that enriched my consulting possibilities. It allowed me to offer clients something much more unique and lead to more successful projects. And in the end, this is what counts. 

Pursuing a career in independent consulting means you control when and how much you work, allowing you to strike the perfect balance between your work and free time. So, whether you want to spend more time with your loved ones, play sports, or stay 31,000 feet above the ground, you can have the freedom and flexibility to make time for whatever you’re passionate about. 

If you’re interested in learning more about independent consulting, check out our consultant page

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