Born in Stuttgart (Germany) in 1970. After finishing his matric and several internships, he starts his studies of chemical engineering and commerce at the Technical University of Berlin. It is a combined parallel post-graduate study called 'Wirtschaftsingenieurwesen' similar to a combined MSc and MCom. He graduates 1997 with distinction and continues his studies at the French Graduate School of Business in Toulouse (Grande Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Toulouse) where he graduates 1998 with the French equivalent of an MBA.
He gained his first working experience during his studies as a freelancer in a medium size management consultancy focusing mainly on training and research. Post-qualification, he was hired by one of the leading international management consultancies as a consultant in their operations business unit in South Africa where he worked on a broad range of projects incl. business transformation focusing on business process re-engineering and supply chain improvements.
In 2001, he joined a leading South African IT and CRM consultancy, where he was primarily responsible for business analysis n as part of the system development life cycle (SDLC) and the provision of consultancy services in the CRM and system development area. In several projects, he played the role as a senior lead analyst and engagement manager.
In 2003, he founded his company 'Ignite Consulting', a business and IT consultancy with clients in the UK, Germany and South Africa.
Over the years, he has gained experience working with clients in a broad range of industries including: the financial services sector (incl. retail banking, life insurance, employee benefit), public services (tertiary education, revenue and customs government agencies), NGOs, multi-level marketing, and the chemicals/petro-chemicals industry.
In 2004, Nicolai furthered his education and knowledge in the field of coaching and has built his coaching practice, which trades as 'Ignite Coaching', a division of the 'Ignite Group'. He is a certified practitioner coach with the SA College of Applied Psychology as well as being a certified Coach with the Foundation College and the Creative Consciousness International coaching academy.
In 2005, he started authoring a management book 'Tools for Project management, Workshops and Consulting' which was published in Germany in 2007. The English version was released globally in October 2008.
This initiative forms part of the training, lecturing and education related services offered by 'Ignite Knowledge'. The book has established itself as a consulting and project management best-seller. In 2011, the German 4th edition and English 2dn editions was been released now with more than 120 tools and techniques. By 2012 over 12,000 copies have been sold. The German Extended 5th edition now with more than 140 tool is scheduled for release in May 2013.
In 2008 Nicolai began lecturing the content of his books (tools for project management, workshops and consulting) in MBA programs (for Management Consulting) at universities in Germany, Switzerland and Asia – focusing on management consulting, case study education and project management. Since then, many more guest lecturing activities have happened.
Mid 2008, a top international management consultancy signed up for their new hires and consultants to be trained in the use and application of the consulting toolbox.
In 2010, he was invited to write an article on the use of tools and techniques in the management consulting industry in the renown German consulting book 'Handbuch der Unternehmensberatung' (The handbook of management consulting).
In 2010, he join the Swiss based consulting and training company MC2 Institute as a managing partner.
Nicolai lives in Cape Town, South Africa and works both locally and internationally. When not at work, he follows his passion for sports and outdoor activities. You might find him in the sea, lakes, mountains, ravines, forest or deserts around Cape Town.
Project scoping and plannning
Project governance and reporting
Product strategy/product pricing/product costing
Small-mid size business transformations
Business process reengineering/improvements
Supply chain analysis
Financial analysis/management accounting
Business analysis (As-Is and To-Be analysis)
Business requirements analysis and definition
Functional and non-functional specifications
Technical artefacts for SDLC
Business case development
Technology selection - RFI/RFP/REFQ support
UML / rational rose
Enterprise architecture (EAI/Togaf)
Proof of concept design
Training course design and development
Class room lecturing delivery
Academic assessments and evaluations
Supervision and mentoring on academic thesis
Class room training delivery
Didactic and learning design
Facilitation using small/large group methods
Coaching (private / business)
E-learning/ distance education design development
Manage work relationships
Goals and priorities/focus
Coaching and feedback
Creating win-win situations
Team player/ team work / team leadership
Effective expression (verbal/written communication)
Build and maintain relationships