Pavel Trenka

Pavel TrenkaWhat is the difference between your role and that of a management consultant?

I am liable for my decisions. Buying or not buying a project is about real money. 2009 was tough for the industry, and while we had a healthy cash flow, we had to cut costs, which is about working with people, making tough decisions, and accepting responsibility for them. Intellectually, it is very similar; there's the same entrepreneurial spirit and no-nonsense attitude.

Was it hard to get used to the responsibility?

Not really. I joined as a transformation manager and I was perceived as such by the key shareholders. I started to make more strategic decisions – and accept responsibility for them – over time, as I grew more familiar with the company.

So that's how your job is different from management consulting. Is it better?

Back at McKinsey, you often didn't know whether things got implemented, and if so, how. Sure, there were many projects the impact of which I can still see around me, even copied by other players. There was the flexi loan, which seems to be the name of the game today... We implemented personal banking six years ago for a client, and I still have a personal banker myself today... But I have no information whatsoever about a great many other projects. They may have been implemented, but there is no way for me to know. It's different in real estate. Even though our product cycle is much longer than at McKinsey, I have been fortunate to see my decisions being transformed into value creation – from project acquisition all the way to its completion in three years. It's personally very satisfying when you see something tangible left behind and it's going to be there beyond my lifetime.