Norbert Wicki is a serial entrepreneur and financial consultant based in Dubai. He currently serves as the founder and CEO of Wetec, a consulting company that centers on providing top-notch project management and financing services to companies in the Middle East. Through WETEC, Wicki also leverages his decades of experience working in financial hubs across Europe and the MENA region to help Russian and European clients optimize their business undertakings in the Middle East.
Norbert Wicki’s career path has long been a winding one. He obtained a high school diploma in economics before moving on to achieve a degree in law. The latter field, however, did not hold a long-term appeal for Wicki; within a few years, he completed his certification as a Chartered Financial Analyst and opted to explore Switzerland’s financial sector. He began his career working in portfolio management, a choice that ultimately sparked a lifelong interest in private banking.
Over the course of his professional life, Norbert Wicki has worked for several high-profile financial institutions, including UBS, Dresdner Bank, and BNP Paribas. At the last organization, Wicki’s work earned him a management position and the responsibility of overseeing a significant portion of the business’ international private banking endeavors. From there, Norbert Wicki began a fast-paced ascent into corporate leadership. Following his career in private banking, Wicki became the CEO and, following that role, the President of the Board of Directors for the internationally-renowned energy conglomerate, the Centrex Group.
When his tenure as President of the Board for Centrex came to a close, Wicki opted to follow his long-held passion for entrepreneurship by founding and serving as the President of the Board of Directors for Private Asset Partners AG, a licensed Swiss asset manager and multi-family office. Soon after, he founded and took a managing role at Agrocore Finance AG, a company that centered on commodity and trade finance. He concurrently established Wicki Consulting, a firm that offered tailor-made financial products and provided consulting services to private and corporate clients alike.
In 2015, Norbert Wicki took another career leap — this time, across oceans. He moved to the city of Baku in Azerbaijan, where he founded and managed a branch office of Private Asset Partners Switzerland AG. Two years later, he chose to move to his current home of Dubai, and focus on building WETEC Consulting into the thriving enterprise it is today.
Outside of work, Norbert Wicki enjoys exploring Dubai and pursuing his interest in wine-making.
Where did the idea for WETEC come from?
I knew that I wanted to run my own consulting business early in my career. After I graduated from university, I took on an all-round bank practicum at one of the biggest banks in Switzerland. Within a year, it had become clear to me that I had to gain as much experience as I could as quickly as I could, because I couldn’t spend my life navigating big-bank politics. I wanted to create my own business and follow my own ideas — and in that corporate environment, I felt that I could do neither. WETEC exists because I dedicated myself to following that early passion for entrepreneurship.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
For me, a “typical” day doesn’t exist. I work on different mandates for a variety of clients across a broad expanse of topics, so I can never coast through a day. I have to be fast-thinking and flexible enough to switch between mandates at the drop of a hat. I think that mentality is what allows me to be as productive and efficient as I am.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Great ideas don’t come to life in a vacuum. While I think being flexible and creative in your thinking can get you far, you really need to have the support of a robust network. The people you connect with often stand as a source of encouragement, feedback, and help when you need it the most.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Living as I am in Dubai, I can see incredible potential for growth in the MENA region’s financial sector. I wholeheartedly believe that the area will establish itself as a leading global hub in the next few decades.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I maintain focus. No matter what I take on, I address challenges by being flexible, precise, and reliable in my efforts.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell him to be more patient. Think before you leap!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Follow my passion. Entrepreneurship is a career that fundamentally demands excitement and drive; if you don’t have it, you won’t have the determination you need to keep your business afloat during stressful times.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I’ve always believed in the power of reliability. It may seem like a humble quality, but I’ve found it to be an incredibly important one all the same. If you can be a reliable partner and trust those you partner with to provide honest and constructive feedback, you can accomplish just about anything you set out to do.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I think my greatest mistake in business was trying to mix friendship and work. Business is business, and friendship is friendship. If you mix it up, you inevitably find yourself disappointed by a friend who was never truly your friend — only a charismatic business connection.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think it would be great if someone could build a business that connects city residents with animal foster opportunities.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I spend about $250 every month to help feed stray cats and dogs. I’ve always loved animals, so being able to give back to those without homes means a lot to me.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I think that my offline resources are more effective at inspiring productivity than any online app. I rely on my network of professional connections to inspire and motivate me to succeed.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frankl.
What is your favorite quote?
“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your love.”
I define success as being able to do something that I feel passionate about. I’ve seen many people take on jobs or career directions that they dislike because they think that they have to do so. They’re hesitant to risk following their passion — and while I understand it, that particular attitude always makes me a little sad.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.