What has brought you to zeb?
I first came across zeb through my university’s finance society; they were giving a talk on the future trends within the European banking industry alongside a series of consulting case study workshops. At these, I got a real taste of the kind of projects zeb undertakes - one particularly striking case consisted of a US credit provider looking to enter a new market. I found the experience highly rewarding, and especially enjoyed the aesthetics of coming up with an elegant segmentation to a complex question. I had also met some really approachable and open-minded people, who have now become my colleagues!
In a way, my academic background is somewhat unusual for the industry, as I read Medieval and Modern Literature/Languages. But precisely for this reason, zeb – being a management consulting firm specialised in the financial services industry – enabled me to pick up the desired analytical and financial insights to complement what I am good at to further my career path. At the same time, the skills I have developed at university have been valued as an integral part of the team. My linguistic sensitivities have thus far enabled me to connect with international colleagues and clients through the nuances of their own tongue, which is always a plus when conducting business. The fact that zeb has a strong German network also suited my wanting to keep up with my languages.
What makes zeb special?
zeb’s specialism in IT and management consulting means that we can provide expert consulting support along the entire value chain from conception to continual support of transition. In the UK office, the fact that there is a very entrepreneurial culture bodes well with my ambition to take on more responsibilities from day one of my career. Everyone is highly driven about the projects we do, and it’s a wonderful sensation waking up in the morning and feeling genuinely excited about coming into work. It seems to be somewhat of a cliché to say your firm has a particularly transparent, decentralised work ethic and team spirit, but that is very much the case here at zeb. The open-plan office means that there is less of a barrier when approaching your colleagues. The same is also true for the partners, which is very rewarding when they are spending the time to explain to you something in which they are an industry expert.
Likewise, there are also around 30 ‘Practice Groups’ (PGs) across the entire company, offering a great platform to meet colleagues from the other offices and so-called Skill Bases to share industry insights. There are regular PG conferences and get-togethers across the year and I have already been invited to one in Frankfurt and one in Mallorca this year.
What are your responsibilities at zeb?
Thus far, I have worked with partners and senior consultants on projects in the banking and insurance industries. The topics themselves have also been very interesting, ranging from looking at inefficiencies in the UK insurance market, the impact of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), to stress testing compliances for universal banks.
Currently, I am collaborating with a senior consultant from Frankfurt on the development of a highly topical article on the insurance market for zeb’s Insurance Hub. It’s great to be trusted with this level of responsibility so early on, meaning that whilst there is always an array of items on my to-do list, the learning curve may be steep but it is equally rewarding.
What were your first weeks at zeb like? What were your first impressions?
Time has flown by and everyone struck me as very welcoming and approachable. I had a meeting with my Career Development Counsellor (CDC) on the first day to discuss my initial projects with a review meeting in one month’s time. He was very helpful and explained to me in great details the operational side of zeb. I am also very much looking forward to attending the on-boarding zeb. start conference, which is an in-house training week that equips you with the relevant skill sets to thrive in the consulting industry.
The internationality of the firm also means that I have been in contact with colleagues from other offices and Skill Bases from day one. We recently piloted an internal networking app called ‘Totem,’ which is working out really well – it’s a great, light-hearted way to keep in touch and share industry insights across the various PGs. More importantly, I am also learning about the best restaurants to go to if I ever end up in, say, Munich, or indeed Milan.