Feeling unprepared before starting job at MBB

MBB PhD Hire
New answer on Jan 24, 2020
2 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 24, 2020

I recently accepted the offer to join one of the MBB as a post-PhD consultant in a few months. However, I feel completely unprepared for the job. I joined my PhD straight out of undergrad and have not had any real work experience other than a couple of engineering internships in college. I don’t know what it’s like to be in a business setting working with corporate clients; I haven’t even had a real boss for a long time. Compared to those with the same job title in the office I will be joining, who have either been with the firm for a few years or have spent 3-5 years in industry, I feel utterly unqualified.

I guess my questions are:

  1. How can I prepare myself mentally to reduce my anxiety and insecurity?
  2. What can I do to prepare myself for the job? On the technical side, I am currently going through the Training the Street Excel and Financial Modelling courses, but what can I do to improve my problem solving, communication, and prioritization skills?

Thank you all for reading

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replied on Jan 24, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Several thoughts here:

  • There are no admission mistakes - you are there for a reason
  • Your first months performance will not be evaluated, however, it's still important to demonstrate yourself as a good performer
  • Sleep a lot - that's the most important
  • Spend all the rest of your time at work
  • Ask for the feedback as much as possible and spend a lot of time with Managers, Partners, etc
  • Client first! So whatever issues / mistakes you have - the client should not see that
  • Double-check for mistakes everything you do
  • Training the street is amazing. Make sure you are good and fast with PPT as well
  • First weeks will seem crazy and you'll feel like you are not coping with it. The key thing here is to understand that everyone feels that, no matter what's the background


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updated an answer on Jan 24, 2020
Oliver Wyman | University of Oxford | MBA | Experienced Career Coach

Hi Anonymous,

I empathize with your worries as I too have felt similar feelings of anxiety before starting a new role. As your question is quite personal and broad, I think private, one-on-one coaching would actually be the most effective support for you. That being said, I have provided a few brief, but useful, tips below:

1) Focus on the fact that they hired you for a reason! They believe in you, so you must have more talent than you think

2) Remember that no one wants you to fail - your new firm is on your side

3) Rather than view any perceived shortcomings as concerns, reframe them as gaps for development - and, rather, build anticipation for how much you will learn

4) Don't discount the skills and experience developed during your PhD. Apply the same work ethic, professionalism and interpersonal skills that have gotten you this far

5) Practice clear and concise structuring of your thoughts; practice clear and concise communication of these thoughts

6) Establish your own approach to organising and prioritising your tasks and to-dos (spreadsheets, Trello boards, etc.)

7) Try to relax! Stressing about each action or conversatiom will lead to greater doubt and anxiety, distracting you from doing a great job in your new role

Really hope this helps - feel free to send me a message if you have any questions or you want to chat further.



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Vlad gave the best answer


McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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