The importance of female empowerment in consulting

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Release date: 21 March 2024

Caroline has been a Senior Consultant at zeb since the beginning of 2023. Previously, she worked in a bank and first heard of zeb during a project there. In the following interview, she talks about how she got into consulting and the challenges as well as opportunities the industry holds for women.

How did you come to zeb and what aspects of the consulting industry inspired you to want to work in this field? 

I first got into contact with zeb during a project at the bank where I had worked before. After that, I took a look at zeb’s employer qualities and at the consulting industry and contacted zeb employees via LinkedIn. What excited me most was that I could continue to work in the field of regional and cooperative banks and actively shape the future of banking as part of zeb. Having worked in the cooperative banking segment, it was a clear advantage for me to be able to continue to effectively contribute my expertise in this very segment. Especially the variety and project-related work with and for clients throughout Germany appealed to me.

Looking back, would you follow the same career path again? If not, what would you do differently? 

Looking back, I’d probably consider changing employers sooner. In fact, I changed employers for the first time in 12 years, thus stretching my own limits and leaving my comfort zone. I’m proud of the fact that I was able to take another – not necessarily next – career step at the age of 32 and that zeb offered me this chance. I realize how I develop personally and professionally, how I grow and gain competence every day. Someone who is very important to me once told me the following, which has accompanied me on my way ever since: “Be comfortable with the uncomfortable.”

What do you think is the biggest challenge for women working in the consulting industry?

Balancing personal and professional life is certainly a challenge. So are the regular travel activities and the physical presence at the client’s site. Depending on where you live, you may have to spend some time on the train. Effective organization, sufficient flexibility and a certain willingness to travel are all part of the job. But I think that at the same time this factor offers an opportunity and provides some freedom. I enjoy the possibility to independently design and plan my workplace as well as the flexibility in the daily schedule. Many of my female colleagues demonstrate that family and consulting are also compatible for women. Of course, it requires very good planning and support, but if you want, anything is possible.

What would you say are the benefits of an increased share of women in projects? 

I remember my first pitch at zeb: I was the only woman among several male colleagues. Men can achieve and shape a lot, but so can women. In the consulting industry, the proportion of men is still significantly higher than that of women. Therefore, I think it’s extremely important that we have female role models in the consulting industry, that this becomes “normal” and that it’s not a question of “compatibility” when choosing job and employer, but of the type of activity. The working conditions should be fairly adaptable and flexible to accommodate the different needs. Diversity and mixed teams contribute to positive work results, this has been confirmed in many projects at zeb. I like to show clients that I’m part of a diverse team. Diversity of perspective is always an added value and should be further encouraged.

Are there any challenges you’ve overcome or milestones you’ve achieved in your career as a consultant that you’d like to share?

I’ve been with zeb since the beginning of 2023 and feel that this is the right place for me. I’ve also become a Female Buddy, which means I accompany new female colleagues in the first weeks and months of their start at zeb. One of my goals was to build an internal network. I think networking and mutual support in particular are very important in the first few months. There’s a postcard on the whiteboard in my home office with the slogan #FemaleEmpowerment and it accompanies and motivates me every day. Besides all this, I’d like to successfully support client projects and jointly develop effective solutions that make banks better. My next personal and professional goal is to become a Manager at zeb.

What’s your personal career advice for women?  

1. Trust your own strengths and have the courage to actively tackle change.

2. Build your own network and stay active.  

3. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Consulting is an exciting field with endless opportunities for women who are ready to seize them!

Carolines testimonial and her career at zeb have aroused your interest? Click here to find further information about your career opportunities.

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