Female Excellence | Franziska Händel
Published: April 8, 2021
„Content over hierarchy—every idea is listened to regardless of your hierarchy level.“
Franziska joined zeb in 2016 and works as a Senior Consultant in Berlin focussing on insurance topics in consulting. In this interview, she gives us some insights into her start at zeb, what she likes about her job and how she manages her work-life balance.
What is the most exciting thing about your job?
What I like about my job is how multifaceted it is. Every project and every client is different. You have the opportunity to gain deep insights into a variety of companies and meet interesting people from a wide range of fields. In addition, I can take part in developing new topics that are interesting for the wider market. You are always allowed to take on new challenges, which gives me the opportunity to constantly expand my wealth of experience.
What does your working time model look like?
I work at zeb full time. I usually work on site with clients from Monday to Thursday. That means I get on the train or plane on Monday morning and sleep in hotels until Thursday. And after work on Thursday evenings we all go back home. On Fridays I mostly work from zeb’s offices, because I really appreciate networking with my colleagues. However, I could also work from home without any problems. It is left up to me how I plan my day. The coronavirus has of course thrown a spanner in the works to a degree. Now I work from home five days a week, and via video conferences with other Berlin colleagues we start the weekend on Friday afternoon all together.
How do you manage to make time for your family and friends in spite of all the traveling you do??
The high amount of travel and the impact on my private life were my biggest concerns when I was deciding whether or not to take the step into a life of consulting. As a consultant at zeb, the common working model is to spend four days working from the client’s premises. At first, this of course sounds like a considerable restriction to leisure time. However, most of the time you are on a project together with other colleagues, and over time, coworkers turn into colleagues. This way, you can forget the workday and spend time with friends by undertaking evening or sports activities together. With the option to work from home on Fridays, you can also use your time flexibly, so that especially on weekends time with family and friends can be enjoyed to the fullest.
What is particularly important to you as a female consultant at zeb?
As I already studied a male-dominated degree, the situation at zeb was never new to me, and I have honestly never given much thought to such issues. In general, it is important to me that everyone in the company is treated equally. During my time at zeb, there was not a single situation in which I felt disadvantaged or prejudiced against.
Tips for future consultants. What traits are important when starting out as a zeb consultant?
Above all, as a future consultant you should enjoy new challenges and developing new topics. You should also be a team player, proactive and willing to help others. Of course the willingness to travel is an important factor. zeb also attaches particular importance to being a member of the “zeb family” in order to facilitate a good working atmosphere. Therefore, I advise future consultants to be authentic and open-minded, so that we can also get to know the person “behind the consultant”.
Three words of advice to your 16-year-old self:
- Practical experience is more important than theoretical knowledge.
- Take advantage of opportunities—be open to new things; you never know where they may lead you.
- Take time to travel.