"A lot of responsibilities and the freedom to develop my own ideas from day one".

Joël Theisen

Senior Consultant – Strategy & Organization

What has brought you to zeb?

After my studies in Belgium and the completion of the CEMS Master in International Management, I started off in a bank in Luxembourg. Soon I realized that I needed a more challenging job where I could work on numerous topics. Thus I joined a consulting firm in Switzerland specialized in pricing, marketing and sales. After a couple of years there, I remembered a workshop that I had with a German consulting firm for financial services – zeb. As a fully-fledged specialist for the financial service industry, zeb seemed to be the perfect place to broaden my horizon and at the same work on new banking topics. Additionally the office in Luxembourg expressed the need to further grow, which meant that I could be engaged in different fields like recruiting, sales, marketing etc. After a couple of successful interviews including case studies, I joined zeb in Luxembourg.

What were your first tasks at zeb?

At the very beginning I took the initiative to develop ideas on how we could further market the brand name “zeb” in Luxembourg. I also set up a partnership with the national organization of business and economics students. Project-wise I first helped out in another project by conducting interviews with corporate clients in Paris. In first my real project we developed a customer loyalty program for the retail clients of a Swiss cantonal bank. The program had the aim to reward clients that use many products of the bank. Personally I was in charge of setting up the database, upon which I build up as well a simulation tool. Additionally I was a driving force in the conception of the program. 

What makes zeb special?

zeb quickly grew from a small university spin-off focusing on bank controlling into a pan-European consulting firm servicing the banking world in all kinds of areas – from strategy over IT to risk. Therefore zeb has a great knowledge pool with experts for all kinds of problems and topics. This could be achieved through a mix between experts with industry experience and “typical” consultants. Another great thing is the very open culture. There is basically no hierarchy between the employees. Overall knowledge sharing as a major component of the corporate culture. For instance the zeb.uni is held on a yearly basis in Münster, the headquarters of zeb. During this 2-day conference internal and external speakers give presentations and workshops about all kinds of topics ranging from presentation skills over Blockchain and financial risk management to overcoming failures and digitization in private banking.

Why would you recommend people to come to live and work in Luxembourg?

Luxembourg is often ranked as great place to work and to live. Reasons are the political and social stability, attractive salaries, a family-friendly social security system and a strong international community. In fact more than 40% of the Luxembourgish residents are foreigners. Due to frontier commuters, the labor force is made up of more than 50% foreigners. The result is a very international and open culture, which can be experience every day – it is not unusual to use more than 3 languages in the everyday life.

What advice do you give students who are interested in consulting?

Consulting is a very challenging industry with a steep learning curve giving the opportunity to work on many different topics in short amount of time. If you are additionally willing to go the extra mile, then consulting is for you. However, to be able to enter a consulting firm good preparation is needed. Personally I advise to use different support means such as preparation books, YouTube videos and if possible seminars at university. In a second steps I strongly recommend to practice with other students (either in person or through platforms such as PrepLounge). For interviews with zeb, I also highly recommend to educate yourself about the basics of a banking. For instance you should ask yourself questions such as: what are types of banking services exist (i.e. retail, corporate and private banking), how do these types make money etc. Additionally reading about the latest trends in the industry could also be useful.