HiddenChamp: Santiago Advisors – Making a difference

Santiago Advisors is a top management consultancy focusing on strategy and organization. Our team visited the company at their office located in a National Park near Düsseldorf. Together with Santiago Advisors, we shed light on consultancy as one of many possible career paths for researchers.


Santiago is a consultancy with a long and successful project history in corporations and small and medium-sized companies  (SME). They work across all industries and are established partners in the fields of life science and high-tech.


Strategy and business models

Process optimization and reorganization

People and leadership


Agility and digitalization


Management consulting is a service provided by consulting firms to help their clients improve the effectiveness of an organization’s strategy, operational processes and structure. Consultants give advice and solve complex issues. They identify areas where the company could add value, improve business performance and help develop skills within the organization.

There are not only the big, well-known companies, but also small boutique consulting firms, such as Santiago Advisors with their focus on strategy and organization. They are experts in both the design of concepts and their practical implementation. Santiago operates all over the world and they support their customers with international teams on site.

The business magazine brand eins and the statistics portal Statista have once again named Santiago Advisors “Best consultant” in 2021.

Company culture

Sonia Vilaclara, Senior Principal at Santiago Advisors, holds a PhD in International Management. In our interview she gave us insights into the projects, company culture, and working style of a consultant.

She explains that consultants at Santiago take a hypothesis-driven, conceptual and analytical approach.

»From my point of view, consulting and scientific work are not so different.«

Corporate responsibility

Corporate responsibility (CR) or business sustainability is about the ethics, which drive an organisation’s activities and how it operates so that it is viable over the long term. It starts with recognising that organisations’ activities impact on society, the environment and the economy, as well as on their own workforce.

Santiago Advisors embed CR into their core practices, as they see their responsibility towards society in exactly the same way as they see their commitment in daily work with their clients.

For this reason, they support initiatives either financially or through projects in the following categories:

  • Employee initiatives
  • Science
  • Start ups
  • Creative talent

Sustainability is an increasingly important issue for Santiago Advisors, as they aim to achieve CO2 neutrality by 2028 through economies in CO2 and investments in appropriate CO2-compensating programmes (solar, wind, forestry or biomass). As part of their climate protection program Project Zero, Santiago Advisors started BEEkeeping and the majority of the business trips are being done by public transport or other solutions. Thus, Santiago almost arrived in car-free consulting.

Consultant work life

Consultancy with a focus on strategy and organization does not immediately come to mind as a  job opportunity for a scientist like Mauricio, holding a PhD in Microbiology. Mauricio explains why being a consultant at Santiago Advisors was the right choice for him.

He underlines how important it is to communicate your potential by demonstrating how the skills that you have developed in academia are valuable in other sectors. Remember that the wording might be different.

Mauricio illustrates in the interview what skills have proven helpful for him.


Tips for your application

What’s important to know when applying for a job in consulting?

Sonia’s advice:

»Be open to new topics and methods. Appreciate a high working pace and constant exchange with colleagues and clients. Show us that you are able and willing to do that in the application process.«

Mauricio first checked if he was the right fit by sending his CV asking for feedback. After a casual conversation with the Managing Director, he felt that this was the case.

So make sure to be yourself and know why you want to work at this particular company.

»You can see the impact of your own work immediately.«
Sonia Vilaclara, Senior Principal at Santiago Advisors
»Know what you are capable of and do not be shy about it.«
Mauricio Toro-Nahuelpan, Management Consultant at Santiago Advisors
»I joined Santiago in 2017. Having studied mechanical engineering, consulting to me was the chance to take a new perspective on the business world. As a consultant, I get to know different companies, I meet their people and become a temporary part of their culture. I appreciate working with such a dedicated team at Santiago and having the flexibility to balance my personal and professional goals.«
Cosima Tropp, Senior Consultant at Santiago Advisors

Job application

Are you interested in working with us? Send us a brief profile of yourself. After first viewing your documentation, we will quickly invite you to a first interview. If that is successful it will be followed by a round of interviews with several managers.

Do you have any questions about Santiago or regarding your career opportunities? I am happy to answer your questions.

We look forward to your application!

Nina Daum, Human Resources at Santiago Advisors


What is HiddenChamps? Hidden Champions are highly successful companies whose names are, however, unknown. These companies need qualified employees - including researchers with a PhD. Researchers are themselves "Hidden Champs" - highly qualified, but mostly invisible. That is why companies and researchers often don't get together. We want to change that - offering a service that spotlights Hidden Champions and Hidden Champs.