First 90 Days as Associate/ Business Analyst/ Consultant

Bain BCG MBB McKinsey
New answer on Jul 04, 2020
7 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 24, 2020

Hi everyone,

Can someone give a breakdown of what the first 90 days look like at McKinsey/Bain/BCG as an entry-level? If anyone can give a firm-specific 90-day breakdown, I'd really appreciate it!

Also if you can share what you think entry-level BA/Associates should do within 90 days to set yourself apart and successful that'd be great! :)

Thanks!

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Francesco
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replied on Jun 24, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

in the first months you usually have:

  1. An introductory week with some training. The formal training for new joiners may happen straight when you join or a few months after, as it is structured at regular intervals
  2. Work on either:
    1. A project, if you are immediately staffed
    2. Proposals or support to other teams, if you are not staffed

Below you can also find a list of things that could be useful to practice during your first weeks:

  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. Always double-check. The first impression is very important in consulting: if you show you are reliable from the beginning, you create a reputation of a reliable person. Double checks should be done on expectations for your job, your Excel analysis, your slides – basically everything.
  3. Define priorities before starting any set of tasks. The majority of the results usually come from a subset of activities – this is true also for your tasks in consulting. You have to identify which they are and prioritize them – the application of the so-called 80-20 rule or Pareto Principle. Alignment on priorities and expectations is particularly important with your manager at the beginning of the project.
  4. Socialize with your colleagues and start to build a network. Consulting is a people business and you should build a good network both within and outside the company. A good start is key to develop good relationships long-term
  5. Organize your private life activities. You want to organize your calendar to leave some space for personal activities (sport/ friends/ family). This is not easy but can be managed if you organize well, and long-term will be critical to keep a balance between work and private life. Also, it is better to align with your manager/teammates from the beginning on your core needs, so that there are no surprises later on.
  6. Ask for feedback every two-three weeks – this will show you are proactive and willing to learn.
  7. 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.
  8. Be social and respectful with the support staff – these people are great and influential as well in the company.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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Anonymous updated the answer on Jun 24, 2020

Hi,

I would soon publish a PrepLounge product on the first 100 days as a new consultant.

Please find below the framework I used to build this "survival guide".

Feel free to come in PM to further discuss it

Best

100 first days in consulting graph

(edited)

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Anonymous A on Jun 24, 2020

Thank you! Excited for the guide :)

Anonymous on Jun 24, 2020

thanks. You can PM so that I keep you posted !

Anonymous on Jul 07, 2020

The guide is live. Please PM to received a discount coupon

Anonymous B on May 01, 2021

Hello! How can I access the guide?

Anonymous C on Oct 19, 2021

I'd like this product but your anonymous so I cant PM you

Ian
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replied on Jun 24, 2020
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Chaos and stress :)

Jokes aside, please be ready to work hard and learn fast. Be ready to be molded and be ready to be pushed hard!

In terms of the 90 days expect something along the lines of:

  1. ~1 week of academy training with your new cohort
    1. Spend time getting to know them - it's amazing to know this group closely!
  2. A few weeks of feeling insecure because you haven't been assigned a client/project
  3. The next 2 months feeling insecure because you've been assigned a client but have no idea what's going on!

My number 1 advice is: give it time, keep pushing, it will get easier.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In terms of specific tips on how to actually survive/do well, let's leverage what you've learned from casing :)

1) Understand the context/prompt (what role are you in, what company, who's watching, etc.)

2) Understand the objective (what, specifically, is expected from you...both day to day, and in your overall career progression)

3) Quickly process information, and focus on what's important - Take a lot of information and the unknown, find the most logical path, and focus on that.

4) Be comfortable with the unknown, and learn to brainstorm - think/speak like an expert without being one

In summary, there will always be a flood of information, expectations, competition etc. and not enough time. Find out which ones matter when. (i.e. be visibile and focus efforts on the things that people care about)

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Anonymous A on Jun 24, 2020

Thanks so much, Ian! Excited to be crushed with learning! :)

Anonymous replied on Jun 24, 2020

Hi there,

Your first 90 days would comprise of:

  • Onboarding and training (make sure you spend this time to get to know your cohort, you will become good friends very soon)
  • Option 1: staffed directly after training:
    • Embrace the stress and chaos - it is very normal to feel overwhelmed and feeling like the most clueless person in the room :) nothing to be ashamed of, everyone has been there
    • align expectations: ask your project manager to explain to you what he is expecting from you in terms of deadlines, quality and communication
    • Focus on your tasks, manage your time well, and make your objective to always meet what is expected from you (or raise a flag prior to the deadlines in case you are falling behind schedule)
  • Option 2: "On the beach" for a week or two before getting staffed - you might be working on a proposal or random tasks for the office - again, even here you need to follow the same objective as in option 1

Additional tips:

  • Network: In case you have a specific interest in a few industries, reach out to the managers and/or partners working on those topics and let them know about your preference to work with them whenever a new opportunity arises
  • Focus on hard skills (e.g., learn to let go of the mouse after your 90 days) and soft skills (e.g., learn how to communicate top-down, always)

Best of luck

Remember to embrace the chaos :)

Khaled

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Gaurav
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updated an answer on Jul 04, 2020
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi,

As a Ex-Mckinsey consultant and a career transition coach who has delivereed 'First 90 days in consulting role' training to 100+ consultants, let me tell you that the first 90 days are probably the most crucial time in consulting career. Some of the reasons being:

  • Top consulting firms strictly follow ‘up or out’ policy - Avoid the career threatening mistakes typically committed in the first year of consulting career
  • Consulting peer group is hyper competitive - Get 3 to 6 months head start over your peer group and stand out among them
  • Consulting is people oriented business and first impression matters a lot - Get off to a strong start from the first project and sow the seeds of fast career growth within the firm

Knowing a few things already mentioned in some of the other answers is a good idea however if you want a head start to your consulting career, you probably want to consider a structured preparation.

My coaching program addreses teh following points. You can think about self preparation along these points or PM me so that we can jointly work on it.

Regards,

GB

Star performance in first 90 days in consulting

(edited)

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Clara
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replied on Jun 29, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

No need honestly to think about that now.

First think that you will have once you get there is a full bootcamp where they will precisely explain you how to do your "1st 100 days". Consulting companies have it all sorted out.

Hope it helps

Cheers,

Clara

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Anonymous replied on Jul 02, 2020

Dear A,

For candidates, who have already secured the offer with a leading consulting firm, I have designed a program "Get ready for the first 100 days " as well as long-term career planning. This program touches all the important aspects: the mindset, the skills, knowledge, networking and ,managing yourself as well, your bosses and clients - everything that is important in your successful career.

In fact, I'm sharing my knowledge of 6 years career experience in consulting, where I was able to land on the fast track promotion and to be promoted from consultant to a project manager just within 3 years, which is extremely fast.

Happy to share these insights with you, feel free to reach out directly to me.

Good luck,

André

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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