Arm yourself with quantitative and analytical skills at WU Vienna

Having formed close bonds with his classmates while studying his "perfect" master’s, Austrian native Philipp Kaltenböck spoke with MASTERGRADSCHOOLS to share his local knowledge and experience at WU Vienna, where he is currently studying the SIMC master program.

In short

Philipp Kaltenböck (Austria) - WU Vienna

What exactly is the SIMC program at WU Vienna?

SIMC stands for Strategy, Innovation, and Management Control. I was especially interested in the strategy and innovation parts because I was already really into the classes in my bachelor’s that dealt with strategy and innovation. In school I was already pretty interested in entrepreneurship, so for me, it was the perfect master’s program. (00:27)

Tell us some more about the curriculum.

You begin with all of the fundamental courses combined – that’s your first semester. It’s really preparing you for all of the other classes. Now that I’m getting more into the courses further down the line I’m being surprised again and again at how much of a deep dive you can take in each of these areas, and also how well they work together. (07:23)

You’re able to combine, for example, the management control class with your finance classes that you have in your first and second year. Then of course you’re also able to mix and match the courses the way you like. If you’re not so interested in finance then you don’t have to put a heavy emphasis on it. It’s really up to you what you want to learn about. (07:43)

What career options does the SIMC Master offer?

Personally I hope to be able to start my own business afterwards. Of course, now with COVID etc. I’m not so sure I’m going to dive into it right after my master’s. Maybe it’s better to get some experience in a company, get some contacts and then try to go self-employed. (04:44)

That’s what many of us are interested in – to start your own thing – but another really big part is people who want to go into consulting or investment banking. I think for those tracks we’re also really well-prepared. (05:12)

In your opinion what makes WU Vienna candidates so attractive to employers?

What is currently being looked for [by employers] is a mix of quantitative skills and analytical skills; to be able to analyze things and then to present your findings really well. (05:47)

No matter if you’re working for a big corporate or startup, you have to be able to present and sell your ideas – or present and sell your analytics. I think our master’s program is enabling us to do both the analytics and the presenting of them. (06:35)

What should future international students know about studying at WU Vienna?

I would say another asset of the master’s is definitely the great campus. It is situated in a really great city – Vienna – and if you’ve never been then I would encourage you to Google the campus. It’s really stunning, it’s around 5-6 years old, it has been designed by world-class architects and it’s an experience to be there. For me it’s a real shame that I can’t be on campus (because of corona) because I love spending time there. (10:48)

Also the city of Vienna is a really livable city, ranking on the top of the most livable cities in the world pretty regularly. It’s also not too expensive for students and has some great student life for going out and so on. You will definitely not get bored here! (11:25)

Finally, what’s the best thing about the program?

A really great thing about the master’s program is that the community is so close all the time, and it’s not at all as you would maybe imagine from a top master’s program. [The students] are ambitious, but they’re not competitive against each other. It’s very collaborative and people are trying to help each other. That’s what’s really so great about it. (11:52)

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