“In 1977, my parents brought me to Luxembourg, a country renowned for its steel industry. Do you know what the steel and the financial industry have in common? In the 19th century, they needed financing to develop Luxembourg and, today, the sector has been booming, welcoming 60,000 international people to share their expertise in many of the fields that have developed including RegTech, Blockchain, Finance & Technology, payments and many others. Luxembourg has become a new hub for international players” kicked off Philipp von Restorff, Luxembourg for Finance Deputy CEO in front of innovators and motivated students from the industry.
Reshaping the educational model
During a session moderated by Nasir Zubairi, CEO, LHoFT together with Pranjal Shah, Head from Uni.lu Incubator, several experts gathered to discuss the future of talents, a critical question starting with an educational model which no longer fits with what businesses really need now. “95% of what I’ve learned at college is no longer applied in the working world. Everything is moving too fast. I just passed a certification in ESG but we were not talking about ESG 10 years ago, neither about crypto assets” explained Vivek Yadav, Global Strategy Director, KPMG. “I’ve witnessed dramatic changes between what we learn now and why we are recruiting for” he added.
This issue has been going on for some time, it exists a black hole that needs to be filled. In that sense, discussions started three years ago at the Luxembourg ministry of Education to think about providing courses differently. This has led to the launch of a modern school in May 2022 so called Digital Leaning Hub. The concept? No classes, no teachers but a peer-to-peer model where students are challenged on specific business cases while learning from each other. This school is dedicated to people who need to upgrade their skills in their field, for non-techies who need to catch up on the latest trends of the sector and for the youngest – above 18 years old – who have finished school or even dropped out from it and want to practically enter the business. “I’ve been teaching for more than 20 years now and having one expert transmitting his knowledge towards his students in only one direction is not efficient. I don’t understand why so many schools still work based on the old setting. We discovered that the curve of learning is very low. This is different from a peer-to-peer model animated by, not a professor but, a coach offering a platform to favour the sharing of experiences. This is what the modern school should look like” explained Serge Linckels, Managing Director, Digital Learning Hub.
A statement shared by Esther Celosse, Adjunct Professor from HEC Liège Luxembourg who also emphasizes on the need to have constant cognitive diversity around the table and the importance of sharing views with different types of profiles to advance industry knowledge. “Education has been my friend from day one but do not get me wrong, you’ll never stop and should never stop learning. You need to keep brushing up your hard skills but look at your power skills first; not soft skills as we are far from being soft.” Soft skills get a bad rap. Power skills are about the mindset. They are less-defined skills: leadership, productivity, personal development, strategic thinking, listening and communication. “You’ll have at least 15 different jobs in your career. The question at the end is: what do you want to achieve, what is your ambition?” she concluded.
The ability to change
There is no standard path to evolve within a company. Luxembourg is multicultural and welcomes professionals from the international scene. Looking at the background of most of the speakers that were taking the stage today, they travelled from London to Asia, the United States, Singapore, France, the UK and many other countries. Luxembourg For Finance even launched a campaign “move to Luxembourg” sharing the story of the many faces composing the financial sector of the country and the reasons why they decided to come, even stay in the country for those who did not grow up here. The country represents an area of fintastic opportunities.
And it’s not Anne-Pascale Malrechauffe, Managing Director from Clearstream who would disagree with that. “I studied history at first and was hired at Clearstream in Operations. I seized the opportunity to learn from many different departments and changed jobs within the company every 2, 3 years. I have worked in London, Singapore, Prague among others and constantly needed to prove myself. The journey to the top has not been an easy one but definitely worth it.” She explained that they created several programmes including one she is particularly proud of: “Conversation table”. The idea is to invite 10 to 15 people to talk and share experiences around targeted topics: introvert vs. extrovert at work, mental health, gender diversity and empathy to name but a few. “Diversity is important and contributing to it, definitely, is a lever to attract talents today.“
Zubairi concluded by saying that the most important is for people to have the ability to change. At a time when the financial industry is looking for talents integrating business and tech together, being agile has become key to perform. “You’ll certainly not be the next Elon Musk, we already have one but your career has just started so be prepared to embrace your future”.