Interview with Christoph Spanner, Project Manager at Projective

14 October 2016 Consultancy.uk

Half a year into his new role at Projective, a consultancy focused on the financial services sector, Christoph Spanner reflects on his move, his first months in the role, Projective’s entrepreneurial spirit and his first engagement. 

Christoph Spanner started out at Projective’s London office in April 2016. Having already gained a number of years of experience in the IT and financial industry in Switzerland and London, he found himself moving quickly up the ranks. When he decided he wanted to take the next step as a project manager, the move came easily: “Projective combines the best of two worlds: the complexity of the financial industry and their strong entrepreneurial spirit of getting things done. This is quite unique and the perfect combination for me.”

Born in a small town near Munich, he first became interested in IT doing web development as a teenager, and shortly thereafter took up a university place in Business Information Systems. As a student in Germany, Chris was already intrigued by project management. After he wrote his thesis on agile project management at the Swiss Fintech company Quartal Financial Solutions, he was brought on full time, and worked there until he moved to Credit Suisse. His work took him from Zurich to London. After two years in London he decided it was time for a new challenge. That’s where Projective came in. “Projective’s structure and culture are very unique and different from other consulting firms in the financial industry. There is no classical hierarchy, no promotions or chasing titles, only the client delivery which counts. That creates a totally different dynamic: bouncing ideas off each other or bringing up new ones; no problem at all. Colleagues help each other out and best of all, there are no internal corporate politics. There’s basically nothing or nobody holding you back from achieving your goals. For me this was an important factor when I decided to join Projective.”

 Christoph Spanner - Projective

Chris’s start at Projective was different from what he expected. Aware that it normally takes a little time between putting the CV forward and taking up the first project, he registered for an external training to become a Scaled Agile Program Consultant. “Besides lots of internal trainings, at Projective every employee gets a training budget which we can use for external trainings. I decided I wanted to get certified as an agile ambassador. It was something that had been on my bucket list for a long time. So in my second week, because I wasn’t assigned to a client yet, I asked if this was possible and they were happy to agree. I can’t imagine that happening at another company. I still benefit from those four days of training and I’m now working on passing this knowledge on within the company.” 

During the same time he also became quite active with the internal activities of hiring and marketing. At Projective, typical departments like marketing HR or business development don’t exist, so these are tasks that everyone takes on together. Because of this structure, he developed a particular interested in the hiring process and remained involved even after he started working on the client side. 

Chris looks forward to his future at Projective: “I am now working on my first project back in the FinTech industry again, and it’s very exciting. At Projective, I feel like I’m in the perfect place to gain experience, get involved in more complex programs, and focus 100% on my passion for delivering projects. As Projective has ambitious growth plans, it’s exciting to be a part of that and see how the company evolves day by day.”

Earlier this year Projective’s CEO Stefan Dierckx unveiled, on the back of a capital investment from German Wincor Nixdorf, an ambitious growth track for the coming years. To support its recruitment drive, the financial services consultant recently launched a separate career site.

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Robert Park on the launch of his consultancy RWG Enterprises

18 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Following a lengthy spell as a General Manager at an international materials corporation, Robert Park was keen to rediscover his inner entrepreneur. With the launch of his new consulting firm, RWG Enterprises, Park spoke with Consultancy.uk to outline his hopes for the future of the company, and how he believes his boutique will be able to challenge the market.

Robert Park commenced his career in retail, taking up a string of General Store Manager positions with companies – including Poundstretcher and The Gadget Shop – before making the 2005 move that would lead him to a 13-year stay with Morgan Advanced Materials. First taking up a role as Production Supervisor with the organisation, Park quickly worked his way to the upper echelons of the group. By 2013, he held the role of UK Operations Manager for the company’s UK ceramic core business, Certech UK, before seeing out his final four years at the firm as General Manager, leading the senior management team and strategic direction of the business.

Despite his success with the firm, however, Park found himself getting itchy feet. A change of career seemed increasingly appealing, and by February 2019, the time to take a new path had arrived.

Park explained: “I was losing the ability to to use the entrepreneurial flair that I had enjoyed in the past; the organisation was moving more towards a structured and common approach for doing things, and that made me feel restricted. I also really enjoy the troubleshooting, problem solving side of my role. However, having been in my last post for four years, the troubleshooting and firefighting was long behind me. I realised that I am really energised by tackling difficult issues or turning around things that are clearly struggling.”

New consulting firm RWG Enterprises launches

His criteria for a new career seemed to point conclusively in the direction of management consulting, and while his CV has no formal experience in the sector, Park believes his career to date has provided him with a wealth of transferable skills. During his time with Certech at Morgan Advanced Materials, he became a Senior Manager at the age of just 21, and went on to succeed in a harsh factory environment where six former candidates had previously failed to deliver results.

Later, he became the group’s youngest General Manager in its history, and was involved in the turnaround of numerous departments. He also developed vast experience dealing with a wide range of ‘people’ challenges, including re-organisation, talent development, talent acquisition and leadership development. Along the way, Park noted that he learned to deal with large, blue chip organisations such as Rolls Royce, securing major long-term contracts worth upwards of £25 million.

Now, he hopes to take that know-how and apply it to the diverse world of consulting work. Park elaborated: “I really want to be able to help organisations that feel that there is no hope or have lost faith in the business… Having been there myself I know how helpful it would have been to have someone to refer to in times of crisis… The firm will also focus on leadership development, as I spent a lot of time with the global graduate program during my corporate career… and I was really motivated to see these individuals grow and develop… helping them to find their own way through challenging situations.

New enterprise

Park’s new Derby-based consultancy, RWG Enterprises, will focus on five key operational fronts. As stated, leadership development and business rescue will be two of these areas, as well as manufacturing – where the firm will tackle challenges such as new product introduction. RWG will also offer financial advisory services and strategic business planning offerings.

While Park is understandably guarded about the firm’s initial engagements, he revealed that he has been “speaking at length to a well-known university and business school about providing mentoring and coaching support to students.” In the long-term, the aim is for RWG Enterprises to take on engagements from clients across the industrial spectrum. He added that as “the company is very embryonic”, it would be “foolish” to become too focused on target clients at this stage.

When asked how RWG Enterprises intends to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack, in an ever-more-crowded UK consulting sector, Park is undaunted by the task ahead. He stated, “I think the main differentiator is that we are small... I have operated at a very senior level for many years but I have enjoyed a very diverse background having worked in most functions within my last organisation. I also won’t take on any work or clients that I feel I cannot deliver value for, I am honest and ethical and am really motivated by seeing others become successful… The main thing I am focused on is 'can I add value' and 'can I help?'”