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A classics and philosophy major as a management consultant

Simon Vincken has a Master of Arts in Classical Languages from KU Leuven and a Master of Arts in Philosophy from Humboldt University of Berlin. He was recently promoted to the position of associate partner at McKinsey & Company.


Simon Vincken started his career as a business analyst at an international consulting firm that helps companies solve complex issues around their strategy and organization. Simon quickly noticed that the skills he developed during his education to be useful in his work. Being able to see issues from different perspectives; methodologically getting to the root-cause of a problem; and the ability to distil and synthesize information are precisely the kind of skills that are needed when working in a project team at McKinsey.


“As a business analyst you are expected to look at problems with different lenses, follow a rigid problem-solving approach and compellingly present your findings back to a variety of stakeholders” Simon explains.

Simon’s top 4 skills

  1. Project management skills

  2. Communication skills

  3. Knowledge & information skills

  4. Language skills




In his position as an engagement manager, Simon was involved in major transformations of financial institutions in Europe and specialized in change management of organizational cultures. As a project leader, together with his teams he was responsible for providing recommendations to clients on how to solve a complex problem through research, analysis, and workshops. In his profession, he constantly refers to what he learned in his training: critical thinking, analyzing structures, understanding the broader context, dealing with ambiguity, reading attentively and being open to others.


Although he has taken a completely different path professionally, deep down Simon remains a philologist. If given the chance to choose again, he would immediately make the same study choice. This is not only because he found his studies to be compelling and enriching, but also because after graduation all paths are still open.


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