Anna Bartz, director at Altman Solon London
Talk us through an average day in your role
There is no such thing as an average day, really! I work in media strategy and deals consulting and my day-to-day work involves a combination of business development, client project oversight, development of thought leadership, team mentorship and management.
I spend a lot of time on business development. This means cultivating relationships, networking and pipeline management, meeting potential clients formally or informally for coffee and finally pitching for projects. I do love getting to catch up with my clients over coffee! Media attracts people who are passionate about what they do. My clients fall into two categories: on the one hand board members and top management, on the other hand investors or shareholders.
I also lead teams across our offices throughout Europe to deliver media projects. I work with our managers and consultants to provide guidance on approach, methodology and analysis. I oversee, review, and challenge their work. Finally, I meet with my clients to understand their priorities, gather insights, or discuss our recommendations.
The final aspect of my job is developing Altman Solon and in particular its media practice, as well as mentoring. The firm has a mentorship programme that matches graduate recruits with career advisors. Supporting my career advisees on their professional journey is extremely rewarding work. I also run expert training sessions for our teams in media.
How did you get started in the media industry?
My first job out of business school was in a boutique research and consulting firm in TMT (Telecommunications, Media, and Technology). I worked across all TMT verticals, but I fell in love with media, and decided to specialize in it. I started out in media during the ‘Great Recession’ working for regional and national print publishers who were losing readers to digital publications. Digital has been the connecting thread throughout my career, and it’s led me to work across verticals like advertising, publishing and broadcasting. In many ways, the broadcasting industry reminds me of what print publications were undergoing at the start of my career: the value chain has been largely disrupted by digital – from content creation, to aggregation, to distribution. This brings challenges but also huge opportunities.
I joined Altman Solon in early 2022 and building out our media practice has been a unique and amazing opportunity. I have been consistently impressed by the expertise we have in the firm and the passion, dedication and focus of our consultants. We have a truly global media practice serving clients from the UK to the Nordics, from APAC to the Middle East and the US, with equally diverse and international teams.
What training did you have before entering the industry?
Although I studied business and economics in Poland and at the ESCP Europe in Paris, the most valuable training I acquired was on the job. Consulting is an apprenticeship, where you learn from others. Plus, when I started my career the old-school playbook for legacy media was being torn up anyways. I learned by working on projects, building a network, and keeping up with industry trends.
Why do you enjoy working in the industry?
I love that no single project looks the same. Media is constantly changing, which really keeps you on your toes. There is so much dynamism in publishing, broadcasting, and advertising, and I love helping my clients puzzle out these complex challenges.
What is great about consulting with such a clear industry focus, is that I get exposure to multiple markets, and we can identify trends and patterns very early and draw conclusions and recommendations from different environments.
I also really enjoy the people in media. In my opinion, these are some of the most creative and tech savvy businesspeople around. They’ve gone through so many disruptions in their industry that they’re very resilient and not afraid of change. It’s very inspiring.
What piece of advice would you offer someone looking to explore a role similar to yours?
This is a fast-paced environment that professionally is very rewarding: there is a steep learning curve and amazing people, both clients and colleagues. If you are passionate about media, enjoy working in teams, are a good problem solver, can communicate well, and have an analytical mind then media consulting could be a good fit.
I also think you should seek out people who are passionate about the same things you are- their enthusiasm is contagious, and it can help you go further.