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Consulting Adivces and Best Practices

Robert

Hi guys,

I just landed a job at a tier I consultancy.
Before starting there I want to prepare myself to better cope with the tasks and challenges of the job.

So, I ask for your advices and tips what's most important to care for in the begining. I'm especially interested in getting (the right) things done, building a network, manage work and private life.

Thanks in advance for your answers!

Robert

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Boy
Expert
replied on 01/08/2018
Job Board Strategy Manager | Former Accenture Strategy Consultant | Expert on Case Interviews & Talent Acquisition

Hi Robert,

congratulations on your new consulting job! In general, you should not stress yourself out before even getting started. You will learn many things on the job and from your teams. Nevertheless, here are some things I consider the most relevant ones for your three stated categories:

Getting (the right) things done

  • When you start your first project, you will usually receive guidance on your role and your tasks from your supervisor. Always ask for clear expectations, so that you are able to fully meet them.
  • Once your role and tasks are clear, prioritization is key. Focus on the most important & urgent topics first. There are plenty of examples of to-do lists out there, that can help you structure your daily activities in a sufficient way.
  • After you have structured your tasks based on priority, you will start with your "real" work. Over time, you will become more and more efficient in conducting tasks by all kinds of using tools (e.g. flip chart & whiteboard in team exercises or PowerPoint & Excel for individual tasks).

Building a network

  • Building a network is crucial for every consultant. You want to have a strong internal (colleagues) and external (clients) network. However, relationships are never built in a day and need time to grow. Try to be yourself!
  • In particular, use the first weeks in your new firm to get to know other new joiners, your new team members, and experts of their respective practice.

Manage work and private life

In general, there is no clear guiding principle on how to best manage the balance of work and private life. Nevertheless, I am happy to share some personal experiences in the following.

  • Usually your week away from home is from Mondays to Thursdays or Fridays. This means time away from your partner, friends, and family. Therefore, you should use the time at home as effectively as possible. Even though you are tired from the week, try to spend time with your friends and plan time together in advance. You will probably be less spontaneous than during your studies, but can make sure to not lose touch with people that are important to you.
  • Further, sports are a good way to keep yourself in shape physically and mentally. It is tough to combine it with a stressful consulting week, but you should try at least once per week to go for a run or check out the hotel's gym. Maybe some of your colleagues are ven happy to join.
  • In addition, your time in consulting strongly depends on the teams you are working with. I found a lot of great friends during my time in strategy consulting. If you have a team with people you like to spend time with, even an 80 hour week can pass by easier as expected.

I hope my comments are helpful to answer your question. Again, i wish you a great start in consulting and all the best.

Best regards,

Boy

Francesco replied on 01/25/2018
#1 Expert for coaching sessions (1500+) | Ex BCG | 650+ reviews with 100% recommendation rate

Hi Robert,

first of all, congratulations for your offer! I think a good preparation would include technical, communication and goal setting/stress management skills.

  • On the technical side, useful to have things done, quoting a previous post, Excel will be the most important technical thing to master at the beginning, in particular for what concerns VLOOKUP and Pivot tables; an additional useful review may concern PowerPoint, which you will also use pretty intensively. At BCG we got learning courses we could use to improve on them, and I guess you will receive the same in your MBB, but so far that you have already mastered the skills before joining (you can find several courses online for both for free), even better.
  • For what concerns communication and building networks a classic on the topic is the book “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. Any sales experience/reading would also be beneficial
  • Finally, for goal setting/stress management, beneficial for work-life balance, I would recommend “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne.

A couple of things that could help you during your first weeks are instead the following:

  1. Take notes when your manager tells you something – this will help you to remember details and will show you care about them to the team.
  2. Ask for feedback every two-three weeks – this will show you are proactive and willing to learn.
  3. Always double check. First impression is very important in consulting: if you show you are reliable from the beginning, you will create a reputation of a reliable person.
  4. Ask for help when you don't know what to do – better to let know you are in trouble with meeting a deadline then missing the deadline.
  5. Be social and respectful with the support staff – these people are great and influential as well in the company.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Vlad replied on 01/08/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School

Hi,

Congrats on your offer! Here are some pieces of advice:

1) Take a vacation before starting your work. Try to take a short break after each project. It's important!

2) Find a good career counselor / DGL / etc. This is a person who collects your feedbacks and presents your case for evaluation. You'll get some options of available people to select. Make sure that this person will be:

  • Powerful (Partner / senior partner)
  • Not an asshole. Thus collect the feedbacks

3) Prepare for your job. Financial modeling - the best course I know is Training The Street. Take Financial Modeling, Valuation, Maybe LBO. Power Point - Google for MBB presentations and try to replicate them. Search for tips and tricks in books / internet in parallel. Plus read "Say it with charts" and "Pyramid Principle"

4) Select the right projects - this will have the biggest impact on your lifestyle / network / career progression. The best advice - collect as much feedback on people as possible. And select the people to work with very carefully

Good Luck!