“Earning a client’s trust and being accountable for results are strong motivators for me.”
Release date: 21.04.2022
Christine joined zeb four years ago: after graduating, she started her career as an Analyst in the Bachelor Welcome Program. She now works as a Manager in Advanced Intelligence. In her testimonial, she talks about her role as a project manager, the tasks she faces and the qualities that are essential from her point of view.
What (leadership) qualities do you think are essential for a project manager?
For one thing, listening is incredibly important. Only if you listen properly you have the chance to really understand the client’s problem and find the right solution. It’s no use developing the best concept or approach if it just doesn’t fit the client’s situation.
And for another, it is essential to establish common ground with whoever you are talking to and provide sufficient context for the issues at hand. I’m sure many of us have experienced this before: you start a meeting and immediately dive deep into the subject matter, but then again you feel a bit lost, because you don’t know where the other person is at.
This applies both to work with the client and in your own team. Only if we are all sufficiently informed about preliminary considerations and the current status can we work on the individual tasks in a targeted manner. That’s why it’s important for me to take enough time for this, especially at the beginning of meetings.
How does your current job as a project manager differ from a general role in a practice group?
As a project manager, I work with my clients every day. In addition to regular status update meetings, this also includes meetings in which we join forces with the client’s employees to work on our project results. So the focus is on working with and for the client.
Besides all this, I specifically deal with one topic area from the Advanced Intelligence practice group, which doesn’t necessarily need to be linked to my current project. Currently, I am focusing on data-driven solutions in the area of bank sales and (digital) customer interaction. Here, we develop solution ideas in-house at zeb and flesh them out. The results are used in publications, acquisitions and projects, to name a few examples.
What do you enjoy most about managing a project? What is your highlight?
Structuring topics and tasks is what I enjoy most. Not only at the beginning, but also during the course of a project, you should consistently ask yourself what you want to focus on and what your approach should be. And it’s great to share my knowledge and experience with others.
What was your most exciting project so far and why?
My most exciting project so far was the co-development and implementation of a strategic realignment. We teamed up with the client to set up their data science division. This covered a wide range of topics – from the business model and organizational setup to the required technological infrastructure.
In the course of the project, I took over the project manager role. I really enjoy this kind of work. Earning a client’s trust and being accountable for results are strong motivators for me.
Have you always wanted to be a consultant?
There are a few other consultants in my family, so I have always found this job exciting. However, I started my career by completing an integrated degree program in the banking industry. That is where I first came into contact with project work and external consultants. T<he collaboration encouraged me to do an internship abroad with a consulting firm, which ultimately convinced me to join this particular industry after graduating.
What advice would you give to women interested in the consulting industry?
Don't be scared off or discouraged by the requirements in job descriptions. I have often seen female applicants in particular hesitating to apply if the job description is not entirely tailored to their skills. Diving into new topics means facing unknown challenges and interestingly, most of the time that’s exactly what most people end up really enjoying.