Experience reports

Good experiences are made to be shared.

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Burkhard Hanke
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48153 Münster

Johanna Marie

Senior Consultant Finance and Risk

In Finance & Strategy, I support, for example, banks in establishing value-based management systems and, in parallel, I co-operate in the development of software for computing regulatory performance indicators in insurance companies in the Insurance Team.

During my first zeb project for a large German bank, I faced several new impressions. The typical project week with four days of work at the client’s office and only Fridays at the zeb office was new for me. The way of working was different, too. While I was used to tackle issues largely on my own during my studies, there are intensive exchanges during a project. Problems and results are discussed both within the team and with the client at regular intervals. An important experience I made was that it is not enough to have a good idea, but that you also have to be able to present it concisely and understandably. The preparation of presentations on project results was a challenge, but it was also new and, especially at the start, exciting to present them to the customer.

Currently, I work at the office of a client from Monday to Thursday and usually at the zeb office on Friday. In a project on the implementation of a new reporting solution, I am responsible for specific tasks and, additionally, support my project manager. Work that I perform on my own relate to direct consultations with the client, e.g. to obtain data or present individual topics and the subsequent performance of the resulting activities. Major consultation rounds and discussions on the future of the project usually involve the entire team.

On Fridays at the zeb office, I frequently work on internal themes. At present, I provide support for the functional development of an IT solution for the new capital requirements to be met by insurance companies. In addition to the opportunity to take over responsibility relatively quickly, this variety in everyday work is one of the things I enjoy most in my job.

The most exciting experience I had during my times at zeb/ up to now was a presentation for the entire board of a smaller Swiss bank. I presented a part of the project results and took part in the subsequent discussion. As a rule, senior managers see solutions from a different perspective as the members of the client’s project team. Therefore, it is very interesting especially for consultants to participate in meetings with department or division heads or board members.

After completing my bachelor studies, I worked as a credit research analyst at a development bank for one year and then started my master course in business administration with a special focus on banks and insurance companies at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Already during these studies, I was sure that I wanted to work for a management consultancy later on. After an internship with a big consulting firm, I learned about zeb/ by chance and worked as an intern in the insurance area there. During the internship, I was lucky to be assigned to an internal project on the control of insurance companies by means of key performance indicators right at the start. Relatively soon, I was entrusted with my own tasks and, thus, was able to make meaningful contributions to the project. As I liked this work and it also constituted a good topic for my master thesis, I continued to work on the project as a student employee within the framework of my master thesis. After my graduation, I took up the position of a management consultant in the Finance and Risk Team.


Manager O&T

After a short introduction (ranging from “how to submit travel expense accounts” to “what is story-lining and how does it work”), I was immediately assigned to an exciting project for an automotive bank. Ever since, I have never had a boring work day. At the start, I had to learn a lot: everything was new for me – from drawing up presentations and working in close co-operation with the client to internal processes. Fortunately, I was able to rely on more experienced colleagues who gave me all the relevant information I needed. In interesting seminars, I was also able to work on my soft skills and broaden my network at zeb/. Especially in the first year, the learning curve is rather steep and, in retrospect, I am surprised again and again how much I have developed. 

Now it is already four years since I joined zeb and I moved from consultant to senior consultant and on to a manager position. I worked for diverse clients in Germany and abroad and had the opportunity to cover a very broad range of topics. They included everything from strategic re-orientation, restructuring and cost reduction programs to the development of a negotiation strategy and call center optimization. This is what is really exciting about my work: time and again, you meet new people and deal with new subject fields. 

Usually, I am at the project location from Monday to Thursday. Together with my colleagues and the client’s team, I work on the issues on hand, hold interviews, calculate business cases or prepare workshops and steering committee meetings. On Fridays, I am at zeb/’s Munich office where I work for the client concerned, take care of theme development for my restructuring team or hold job interviews. Furthermore, I can exchange ideas with my colleagues on projects and interesting industry issues.

In my main course at university, I decided to take part in a hands-on project within the framework of my specialization in strategic management. Together with other students, I consulted a big German company on “Promoting internal growth” during the one-year project. This raised my interest in management consulting and, subsequently, I took part in several case study workshops in order to get to know various consulting firms. After my graduation, I decided to work in a one-year trainee program for a bank, which prepared me very well for the next step towards management consulting. 

I was enthusiastic about zeb already in my job interview. My interview partners were able to convince me that good team spirit was of great importance at zeb/ and that the consultants enjoyed and were committed to their work in spite of the high workload that is typical of the industry. Five weeks later, I started to work as a consultant in the Organization and Transformation unit of zeb.