Looking back, probably the most rewarding aspect of my consulting career has been the many strong and lasting relationships I have built over time.

Coen, who leads Oliver Wyman’s Netherlands office, did not set out to go into consulting. However, his background in industrial design has served Coen well, providing him with a mix of competencies suited to the profession: engineering/ fact-based approach, design thinking and creativity, as well as business administration.

With nearly 20 years of experience under his belt, he is struck by the personal effect his work has had on others. “Increasingly, I find myself amazed by the impact our involvement has on the people we work with. Often, we are asked to come in at high-stakes situations, such as building a new business, preparing a major acquisition or partnership, or resolving significant performance issues. Whereas for us consultants, this is what we do, for our clients these situations could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Those processes are first and foremost exciting, but often also intimidating and overwhelming for them. Working together with clients in these situations creates a close bond that can last a lifetime.”

Beyond his commitment to work and his clients, Coen has a number of passions: spending as much time possible with his wife, three sons, and the family’s rambunctious pair of dogs. His family loves the outdoors and activity, and often can be found hiking, boating, and going on long walks with their dogs.  “In addition, I play tennis regularly, competitively, and sometimes—though I should know better—against opponents half my age,” says Coen.

Coen has some simple but practical advice to those who are thinking of starting their careers. “Pick a profession you’re really passionate about and find an environment and group of people that is inspiring to you and where you feel comfortable. You will spend a large part of your life working, so you’d better find something you truly enjoy doing.”

Once on a path, he advises, stick to it for a while, rather than jumping about. “Independent of what you choose, it takes time, effort and experience before you truly master it,” he says. “To me however, mastering something is short-lived, there is always the next level to go for, a new frontier to reach. Throughout a career, you should always be progressing, while having fun.”