With a background in law and experience in the notary profession, Jade Heuts, based in Belgium, did not expect to change careers towards management consulting. But now at Projective, a financial services-focused consultancy, Jade works on some of the industry’s most pressing digital transformation challenges.
Hi Jade, can you tell us a bit more about your background?
Well, I’ll start at the beginning. When I was in high school, I studied humanities which included a wide range of disciplines such as psychology, history, philosophy, economics, and political science. With this broad interest, majoring in law seemed like a logical choice.
At that time, I really wanted to become a notary or a lawyer. At first, I really liked law, but when I started my master’s degree, I began to have doubts about the direction I was going to take. I think I didn’t feel passionate enough about it.
After my diploma, I therefore decided to embark on a management internship program in one of the largest banks in Belgium. [Belfius] to broaden my skills and gain more business experience. During the management trainee program, I was assigned to a project with a startup focused on blockchain technology. It was completely new to me, just like working with a team of developers. But I loved it.
My instinct told me to continue in this career, but my brain told me that I hadn’t studied for five years to go do something completely different. So I decided to go back to my roots and start a new job with a notary. Unfortunately, life is too short to hitch your cart to a profession that doesn’t allow you to be yourself.
So I left the legal profession and started looking for a new career opportunity in a company focused on innovation, change and digital transformation. I wanted to build solutions for my clients, not just provide them with (legal) advice. That’s when I came across ::projective.
How was the recruitment process?
I didn’t know anyone at ::projective and therefore had no expectations. Honestly, who would hire someone with next to no experience in project management or transformation?
Nevertheless, I was invited for a first chat and we immediately clicked. My first meeting with the ::projective HR team went very well, as did the follow-up interviews. The team understood why I wanted to leave the legal profession and noticed my desire for digitalisation, innovation and change and therefore my global ambitions. I was offered a contract and the decision to join ::projective was easy.
You have been at ::projective for six months now and you are indeed working on a digitization project. Can you tell us more about what it was?
I started as a product analyst on a digitalization project for a well-known insurance company in London. Currently, I am reviewing business processes as is and making them scalable. Besides that, I’m also working on a new solution to (partially) automate their contracts. So I actually work a lot with people trained in law, for whom my experience is of great help.
What I love about my current job is that I can approach client issues with the analytical skills of a lawyer, while feeling free to design and implement innovative and creative solutions.
Another cool thing about this project – in addition to fulfilling my own ambitions and working in the digitization space – is that I’m also working with colleagues from DTSQUARED who joined our group last year.
In addition to my client work, I am also part of the wellness team at ::projective. And that’s what I also love about working here. I have my project, but if I am interested in something else, well-being in this case, there is the possibility of helping with existing initiatives or even starting new ones.
It’s a nice situation. So you work for a client in London, does that mean you have to travel often?
I mainly work from Belgium, but from time to time I travel to London and work from the client site or from the Projective office in London. I’m given a lot of flexibility and they trust me to do my job no matter where I work from. But I admit it’s always nice to see the people you work with from time to time, and our London office has a great bar and terrace so I’m not complaining.
So do you think the way of working and the culture of ::projective influenced your decision to join the company?
Yes definitely. At ::projective, everyone is equal. I know, it sounds like a cliché but it really is. Even without prior consulting experience, a junior profile is valued as much as a senior profile with more than 10 years of experience. The flat structure is not just a sales pitch, I can confirm that.
For example – on my current project, I work with a DTSQUARED colleague who has a lot of experience in the field of digitization. So, hierarchically speaking, he is several levels above me. Yet he never treated me differently. This is how it should be in all organizations, but ::projective really makes it happen. It makes me feel good and motivates me to improve my skills and knowledge.
Also, ::projective gives me a lot of freedom. I control my own career. They don’t oblige me to do anything – except to satisfy the client – and each employee receives an annual training budget that we can use for the training we want. Few companies allow it.
Today I might want to learn more about change management, design thinking or blockchain technology and next year it might be DevOps. All of this is taken care of by the learning and development team.
Finally, what does the future hold for us?
I haven’t defined my long-term career goal yet. But what I do know is that I am very interested in innovation, change management and new technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence and would love to work in product teams even more.
Besides that, I would like to start my own business one day. The funny thing is that ::projective is also very supportive of this and will help me in any way possible.