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Chart reading resources

Anonymous A

Hi everyone, am looking for resources to practice speeding up my chart reading skills - has anyone come across any website / book / practice papers that offer this? Thanks!

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Vlad replied on 04/23/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

You can use the following approach:

  1. Take a minute to look at the graph
  2. Read the graph title
  3. Look at the graph type and define the type (pie chart, line chart, etc)
  4. Look at the legend (ask for clarifying questions if necessary)
  5. Identify whats going on on the graph. Look for: Trends, % structures,
  6. Look for unusual things - correlations, outliers,
  7. Make 3-4 conclusions from the graph. Think of potential hypothesis on what could be the root cause / what are the consequences
  8. Prioritize the most important for your current analysis and move forward with the case

Sources to learn from (prioritized):

  1. Study "Say it with Charts" book by Barbara Minto
  2. Learn basic statistics (Any GMAT or MBA prep guides)
  3. Check all available MBB presentations and publications. Practice to derive conclusions and check yourself with the actual ones from the article / presentation
  4. GMAT IR part (Official guide and Manhattan prep)
  5. "Consulting Bible" and "Vault guide for consulting" - check the chapters on cases with graphs in these books

Good luck!

Francesco replied on 04/24/2018
#1 Expert for coaching sessions (1800+) | Ex BCG | 900+ reviews with 100% recommendation rate

Hi Anonymous,

to correctly read a graph I would recommend the following steps:

  1. Read the graph. You can ask for one minute to analyse it, or you could actually read loud the information to the interviewer. It’s important you read all the information of the graph before doing any analysis. Not reading the graph is the most common mistake people do.
  2. Analyse the graph. Go back to the question the interviewer asked you when he/she gave you the graph. Few people take the time to consider the graph was given to help you solve a specific issue of the client, not for a generic analysis. The graph should then be used in perspective for those issues. See how numbers/information in the graph can help you to define an answer for that.
  3. Provide next steps. Give clear indication on how you could move forward, given the elements you identified.

In addition to the resources mentioned by Vlad, you could also screen consulting MBA handbooks for cases with graphs, apply the previous structure, and see if you can identify all the main insides of the graph.

Best,

Francesco

Anonymous B replied on 04/24/2018

MConsulting prep has a good chart quant resource to buy. It has follow up questions and is quite challenging!