Nouser Spotlight – Michael Rathjen

Nouser Spotlight – Michael Rathjen

Meet Michael Rathjen, a Director in Nous’ Melbourne office

A chemist by training, Michael joined Nous in 2019 after three years with another consultancy. He holds a Master of Science from the University of Melbourne, where he researched physical, organic and computational chemistry for pharmaceutical precursor molecules.

As Michael notes, while this appears tangential to consulting, an inquisitive nature, a good handle on data and evidence, and a loosely scientific method are really core consulting skills.

Michael is a Director in Nous’ Digital practice, in which he partners with clients to solve technology focused strategy, policy and transformation problems and helps them to capture new opportunities.

We know that no two days are ever the same, but what might you do on a typical day at Nous?

It is true no two days are ever the same. I have recently split my time between Melbourne and Canberra, so even where I wake up changes!

A typical day includes:

  • a quick check of news, government and tech websites to stay across what is happening, usually with a coffee
  • a stand-up (or two) to plan the day ahead with the Nous and client teams
  • workshops and engagement with executives, business and IT stakeholders, often across organisations, to explore an opportunity or solve a complex problem
  • leading the development of materials, such as defining the scope for a whole-of-government digital program or providing strategic advice to navigate an ever-changing world
  • thinking about the next opportunity and problem to solve with clients (which I hopefully get to do!).

What three words best describe working at Nous?

Influential, genuine and challenging (not all days can be easy when you want to drive change).

What sets the Nous culture apart from the culture of other organisations?

Nous’ culture is the sum of its parts. Everyone gets a seat at the table, an opportunity to contribute and the support to challenge. It generally rejects hierarchy; answers don’t come from one brain, but from the cumulation of our diverse people and their experiences. Each unique challenge gets a unique solution.

Tell us about the moment you knew you’d made the right decision to join Nous.

It is always hard to pinpoint ‘the moment’. Our intranet has a constantly updating list of the projects we are doing across the firm; I remember getting excited (and jealous) about the hugely influential and interesting projects people were doing. As our Digital practice grows rapidly, I am now involved with many of these exciting projects.

What part of working at Nous has most surprised you?

It surprised me how genuinely Nous lives the culture we commit to. Many companies outwardly communicate a positive culture and values, but Nous truly lives ours. There is an inherent trust and transparency across the firm. The genuine collaboration also surprised me. Ego takes a back seat for the collective good. People work together to deliver for clients and Nous, often with very different experiences and skill sets. This means our Digital practice has grown fast in areas where other people were expert, adding value for clients.

How does Nous support your career progression?

There is always a new opportunity or something interesting to learn from someone (the hard bit for me is saying no). I am more capable each day, through meaningful projects, business development, internal jobs and even drinks on a Friday evening. I have found Nous and all our people to be endlessly generous with their time and expertise to develop, improve and progress as a professional and individual.

How does your work at Nous deliver positive influence?

Each project delivers positive influence – it is both a collective reason for being and an individual purpose. I have recently partnered to transform the digital experience and improve access for people interacting with government services – for almost 20 million Australians – and support recovery from the 2019-20 bushfires and COVID. At the same time, I have helped a growing NFP improve the way it supports its community living with neurodegenerative disease and improved the service a Group of Eight university provides its people. It makes coming to work easy.

What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you as a consultant at Nous?

I once wrote confidently on the whiteboard in a CEO’s office… in permanent marker.

Keen to build your career in digital? Visit our careers page to learn more.