does reading the economist and other stuff help an inspiring consultant in the interview and in the job?

MBB skills
New answer on May 29, 2020
11 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on May 27, 2020

what would you suggest a person planning to apply to MBB in two years do apart from the fact that you have to ace the interviews. Any advice interms of reading, skills etc that can serve you well that you can do or learn now?. Thanks a lot in advance.

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Clara
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Content Creator
replied on May 27, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

For sure it does not make sense to start a proper preparation yet.

However, there are so many things you can start reading that for sure will help you!

  1. Economist and so for sure help you gain a better undestanding of the economic and political situation in the world.
  2. Reading consulting-related materials will also help you. The classics are Case in Point, Cheng´s material in general, etc. I also leave you here the link for the FIT guide I just published for PrepLounge https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/tests-2/integrated-fit-guide-for-mbb-34
  3. Participating in student´s case compatitions is perhaps the most straight forward way to gain insights and start practicing
  4. Participating in events for students organized by MBB (e.g., The Atrévete Mckinsey in Spain, yearly, etc.) is even the best option -but for those there is a selection process too-.

Let me know if you are interested in the FIT guide, I still have promo codes from the launch.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Anonymous A on May 27, 2020

Thank you.

Anonymous replied on May 28, 2020

Hi there,

Yes reading such materials helps, because it helps you to:

  • Build your business acumen by reading and observing how the author/industry expert approach a business issue
  • Get to know different industry/sectors better
  • Expose you to different business/functional topics
  • Learn effective communication

All these skills and knowledge would take time to gradually build up. If you are interviewing in the next month, then reading these materials won't get you too much immediate effect. But since you have 2 years, you should do it. It is not only useful for interview, but would be useful in the job as well.

Cheers,

Emily

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Anonymous A on May 28, 2020

Thanks a lot

Réka
Expert
replied on May 27, 2020
3+ years McKinsey consulting experience|Strategy @ Coursera |Oxford MBA

Hi,

Reading news and business literature regularly will certainly help you become a more well-rounded business professional. I haven't heard of anyone who had to reflect on current events during the interview, but reading business news will improve your business acumen which is crucial for solving cases efficiently.

Besides reading news and practicing case solving, I'd encourage you to think about what will help you stand out from the crowd. Do you have great stories related to leadership, personal impact or entrepreneurial spirit? If not, it might be worth getting involved in extracurricular activities. Your personal stories are as important as your case performance.

Best,

Réka

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Anonymous A on May 27, 2020

Thanks

Francesco
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replied on May 29, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

well done for thinking so ahead of time about your applications!

You can definitely read the Economist and of course it won’t harm. It is also recommend you read the economic news the days before the interview just in case you get questions related to anything recent.

However, reading the Economist won’t be the reason you will be able to join a consulting firm. It may help a bit with the business acumen, but in a marginal way. And I personally believe that your time provides far better returns reading books rather than news.

There are two areas that would mainly be beneficial for you and you could work on early on:

  1. Networking. You may start creating connections ahead of time, for example participating at events. These connections at the right time may become a good referral
  2. Preparing on cases. Two years is probably a bit too early, but once I helped a candidate who started 1 year in advance. She got offers from all the companies she applied to. You can just split the preparation more gradually and keep the same number of hours. And decrease stress and increase your chances.

Fit is less requiring and you can work on it closer to the interview.

If you are thinking about doing an MBA, preparing the GMAT while at university would also be a smart investment of your time – you may gradually study it and end with an amazing score.

In terms of skills, you may want to take part in case competitions with your university (although often they are not a perfect correlation with the actual interview process).

Best,

Francesco

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Anonymous A on May 29, 2020

I also read books around three books per month. would appreciate if you can recommend some books. Thanks a lot

Francesco on May 30, 2020

Hi there, first of all I would try to use Audible or a similar tool to listen to books – this should increase the number of books you “read” substantially. Book suggestions really depend on your interests. I personally read mainly books about entrepreneurship, business and psychology as they are the topics I like the most. Some interesting books I read recently are: Factfulness, The road less stupid and Thou Shall Prosper. If you do a quick search on Quora on your favorite topics you can find a lot of suggestions. Hope this helps!

Anonymous A on May 30, 2020

Thank you very much that helps.

Udayan
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updated an answer on May 27, 2020
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

Hi,

The economist is amazing and reading the economist, WSJ, FT and Bloomberg are a great way to prepare. Here is where I have found candidates that are well read to be most differentiated

1. Reading gives you knowledge about industries you are not familiar with - especially industries like healthcare in the US or Mining, Oil&Gas, Utilities etc. These are industries we don't really think about and therefore reading can help you get context. Especially when dealing with cases - you get more confident in your approach

2. Reading helps with the creativity portion of the case - when you have to think of alternative solution or come up with creative recommendations, the more well read you are the more ideas you have to draw from

3. Reading helps you with market sizing - common facts like population stats, tourist information, GDP etc. become ingrained the more you read about them

4. Reading helps with connecting the dots - especially for more difficult questions like how to estimate the market value of products that haven't yet launched, you can apply your knowledge of industries you are familiar with to these types of questions

In short - read frequently and the right sources to be best prepared

Best,

Udayan

(edited)

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Anonymous A on May 27, 2020

Thank you

Anonymous updated the answer on May 27, 2020

Hi there,

It is always good to be up-to-date on the largest business news and they tend to analyze the news in a global context - this is very useful for multiple reasons:

1) You are aware of (X) has happened

2) You understand the link of (X) to (Y) and (Z)

3) You learn how to use charts to support your message/story (a skill needed for consultants)

Now, the odds of this helping you during the interview is low - but, some times in interviews you get asked questions about a recent global event (what do you think the impact of low oil prices on the middle east region?) and if you have an interesting answer ready, that could be a huge differentiator.

I hope this helps.

Khaled

(edited)

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Anonymous A on May 27, 2020

Thanks what skills will u say I should learn now that will help me in consulting career and in interviews other than interview cases?

Anonymous on May 27, 2020

The skills needed for the career are different than the interview...For the career, i think the coaches gave a good answer here (https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/skills-required-to-perform-on-the-job-at-mbb-3281)..... for interviews, other than learning how to crack a case, you would need to work on you presentation skills and composure, cracking the case is 50% of the job, delivering it clearly and confidently is the other 50%

Anonymous A on May 27, 2020

Thanks a lot

Axel
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 28, 2020
Bain Consultant | Interviewer for 3 years at Bain |Passionate about coaching |I will make you a case interview Rockstar

Hi,

Reading publications like the economist are great to stay up to date with current events and helps you improve your business acumen and understanding of the international institutional environment that businesses operate in.

With regards to interviews and in the job, it is helpful because your business judgement will improve by reading analysis about different businesses, what they have done well and not well. You can gain a better understanding of the financial markets and how they operate and how it's intertwined with the overall economy and vice versa.

It is also possible to get "oddball" interview questions related to global events, especially in the partner round. For example, something to the tune of "will Hong Kong continue to be a leading financial center in Asia?". Having read something like the economist will greatly help your ability to answer questions like this.

I can also recommend reading the Harvard Business School case studies. These are especially helpful for case prep!

Best,
-A

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Anonymous A on May 28, 2020

Thank you very much.

Ian
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replied on May 27, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

100%! I read The Economist voraciously for a decade and greatly attribute it to my comfort with casing.

If we're being selective here (you can't read everything everyone recommends), I'd say The Economist and The Financial Times would be the two most beneficial.

However, I would say, you need to enjoy reading these. No point spending two years reading unenjoyable content!

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Anonymous A on May 27, 2020

I do enjoy reading the economist except the science section. Thanks.

Anonymous replied on May 29, 2020

Dear A,

Yes, I would definitely recommend you to read an Economist and other stuff. In my case, I was reading for 2 years before applying into consulting the "Economic week". It helped me a lot to understand the economy, the business itself and also in some companies candidates might be asked for general economic knowledge. For instance, in Germany I was asked who is current CEO of Deutshce Bank.

Hope, it helps you and

Good luck,

André

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Anonymous A on May 29, 2020

Thank you very much.

Chris
Expert
replied on May 27, 2020
McKinsey EM, 8 years recruiting interviews, 4 years professional coaching, 1000+ candidates helped

I always coach to keep up to date on current events as a way to prep for case interviews. Since case interviews are a small slice of consulting life, current events will also help with your consulting career once you have a role, by allowing you to leverage insights in your current project.

One way to use articles to practice cases is to use the body of the case as a long case prompt, and then come up with a framework to address the problem mentioned in the article. It's a great way to practice solo the skills needed for good casing.

Good luck!

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Anonymous A on May 27, 2020

Thank you.

Robert
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on May 28, 2020
McKinsey offers w/o final round interviews - 100% risk-free - 10+ years MBB coaching experience - Multiple book author

Hi Anonymous,

Reading business sections of qualified newspapers and business magazines certainly helps to increase your business acumen over time - especially if you have a lot of time still to prepare!

Even though it's a controversial topic and looked at wrongly by many 'experts', it's also get accustomed to the most common business frameworks and concepts (e.g. Porter's 5 forces, BCG matrix, etc.).

You often hear in discussions about case interviews that you should not use standard business frameworks and concepts at all, because they just don’t fit to the specific case question and interviewers don’t like it when candidates use standard frameworks to solve cases. However, when challenging this shallow, generalized and popularized statements, there aren’t any of those arguments remaining on the table.

It is most definitely true that you can't crack a realistic interview case by relying solely on standardized frameworks - but all those business frameworks and concepts are extremely helpful templates which you can and even should put into your toolbox and use them whenever appropriate (if not to the full extent, at least partly!). Such a standard business framework is just a tool - and the tool itself is rarely good or bad, it mainly depends on how and for which purpose you use it.

To cover this oftenly overlooked area, also because of wrong advice on case interview prep like "don't use standard frameworks", I put together an ebook with the most common frameworks used in case interviews, and more importantly also how to use them correctly in real-life situations. You can find it here: http://cif.consulting-case-interviews.com/

Hope that helps - if so, please give it a thumbs-up with the green upvote button below!

Robert

(edited)

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Anonymous A on May 28, 2020

Thank you.

Clara gave the best answer

Clara

Content Creator
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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