Sascha Rabe (44) successfully completed his Bank Administrator qualification at Frankfurt School of Finance & Management in 1998. Prior to enrolling at the business school, he had already trained as a bank clerk at BfG Bank in Braunschweig (Brunswick), after which he moved to BfG Bank’s Frankfurt head office, where he worked as a risk management officer in the Lending department.
While he was studying at Frankfurt School, he also graduated (with a double degree) as “Ingénieur Maître en Ingénierie de la Banque, de la Finance et de l’Assurance“ at the University of Caen Normandy, one of Frankfurt School’s partner universities. During his semester abroad, he gained practical experience working as a marketing coordinator at Crédit Lyonnais Asset Management.
After graduation, Sascha Rabe was promoted to manager of the Frankfurt-City, Hamburg-Altona, Wolfsburg and Hanover branches of BfG/SEB Bank.
Subsequently, at just 31 years of age, he became senior manager of SEB Bank Hanover. At the time, German broadsheet BILD published a personal-interest story about his career entitled “Germany’s youngest bank manager”.
In 2006, he joined SEB Financial Service, where he built up SEB Bank’s mobile sales division. Three years later, he started at Citibank/Targobank as senior manager of the Lower Saxony region.
In 2011, he set up his own investment consulting firm under the umbrella of Deutsche Vermögensberatung AG. In the same year, he published his book “Mit Kundenorientierung mehr verkaufen – für Berater in Banken, Versicherungen und bei Finanzdienstleistern, die nach der Krise Orientierung suchen“ (Sell more by focusing on your customers – for banking, insurance and financial services advisers in need of post-crisis guidance). His abiding passion is to demonstrate that selling financial products is more successful and sustainable if you adopt a customer-focused approach.
He currently heads an international team of 30 freelance sales representatives and over 60 part-time business partners for Deutsche Vermögensberatung.
How well did your academic studies prepare you for the challenges of working life, up to and including your current job? What did you find especially useful?
As a student, I learned to build up an extensive network of contacts. I still enjoy excellent relations with other alumni and former colleagues. At Frankfurt School, I was taught to work in a disciplined way and how to draw up a business plan. This helped me a lot, both while I was establishing SEB Bank’s mobile sales division and when setting up my own company.
While I was in France, I needed an account, a number of insurance policies and various other contracts. I had an adviser there who spoke German as well as French. So I was confident that I was entering into agreements that were right for me. When I returned to Germany, I used this as a business model. Between them, my business partners at Deutsche Vermögensberatung speak 11 different languages.
Looking back, how important was your time as a student at Frankfurt School in the greater scheme of things?
Studying at Frankfurt School gave me the stimulus I needed to launch myself as an entrepreneur. That might sound somewhat contradictory, considering it took me another 13 years to set up my own company. But even during and immediately after my studies, I was determined to work in an entrepreneurial way. During my time as a branch manager, and later as a senior bank manager, I was exposed to a corporate culture that encouraged executive managers to act as entrepreneurs within the company. When I was developing the mobile sales division, my colleagues and I started with just two advisers to cover the whole of Germany, but recruited more than 100 advisers over the next two years – that was a very entrepreneurial period! However, I soon realised that as a bank employee, my entrepreneurial freedom was being increasingly curtailed. Now I’m glad that I’m able to live according to my own business model.
What’s your favourite memory of your time at Frankfurt School?
When I was a student at what was then Hochschule für Bankwirtschaft, it was still quite small and intimate. We used to hold spectacular parties in the basement with faculty staff – I remember feeling as if I was part of a huge flat-sharing experience! This sense of community is a fabulous experience, and it’s one of my very favourite memories.
How important are alumni for a business school? What do you think alumni can do for their alma mater?
Having your own network is one of the main keys to success. Frankfurt School’s alumni network enables us to compare notes, encourage and help each other to achieve success in our careers, without competing with one another.
What’s your favourite motto?
I give people the opportunity to fulfill their own vision in a community of entrepreneurs.