How to get quicker at Excel and PowerPoint for Consulting

Analytical Skills Data Analysis Excel McKinsey PowerPoint
New answer on Jun 08, 2020
9 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Feb 07, 2018

Hello all,

I am going to start working within the next months as business Analyst at one of the top three consulting firms and would like to get tricks/ideas about how to get quicker with Excel and Powerpoint. Do you have any idea about trainings/websites that could be helpful?

Many thanks!

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Vlad
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replied on Feb 07, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

1) Excel and Financial modeling - the best course I know is Training The Street. Take Financial Modeling, Valuation, Maybe LBO. They have the amazing templates that you have to repsoduce to be able to do that fast.

The key thing - throw away your mouse and put some tape on your touchpad. Do everything with your keyboard!

2) Power Point

  • First, read "Say it with charts" and "Pyramid Principle".
  • As a next step Google for MBB presentations on SlideShare and try to replicate them in PPT.
  • Finally, take MBA some cases (HBS or any other) and try to derive the conclusions and put them on slides using MBB styles.

And finally - take a long vacation before starting your job;)

Good Luck!

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Anonymous replied on Jun 08, 2020

Dear A,

Congratulations to your offer!

It would be helpful for you to learn the business-focused Excel features.

In business, about 80% of your work will come from 20% of the functionality of the Microsoft Excel.

The core skills of a competent business Excel user are something like:

  • Formatting & basic formulas
  • Mouse-free Excel navigation
  • Vlookups & conditional statements
  • Data analysis - filtering, sorting, and analyzing data
  • Data visualization - tables, charts, and dual axis charts
  • What-if-analysis
  • Pivot tables

If you can do these things, you’ll outperform 95% of people in the workplace.

To learn these concepts, you could:

  • Learn the concepts online for free
  • Take an online course

If you’re looking for something free, I’d recommend Googling & Youtube-ing those topics on my list. Tons of free material online. On Udemy you can also find some courses.

If you’re short on time, take a short business-focused online course.

I’d recommend the following business-focused course focused on mastering the 20% of functions that make up 80% of Excel work.

Best,

André

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Resource to learn Excel quickly

Andrea
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updated an answer on Jan 14, 2018
Former BCG Principal and decision round interviewer

Training the street has online offering that is really solid (used for the people who report to me): https://www.ttsuniversity.com/Default.aspx

Another good one is ozgrid.com: http://www.ozgrid.com/

Hope it helps,

Andrea

(edited)

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Francesco
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replied on Feb 08, 2018
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

congratulations for your offer! As mentioned, you will get a lot of training on both at the beginning; Vlad mentioned some additional good resources. In terms of Excel, I would just add one tip – try to master VLookUp and Pivot Tables – they will be some of the main tools you would use.

If you want to properly prepare, I would not consider technical skills only though. Consulting is a people business and can be highly stressful time to time, thus, would be equivalent important to prepare on:

  • Communication and people skills: a classic on the topic is the book “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. If you can have any kind of sales experience before that would also help a lot (a lot more than reading-only)
  • Stress management. I recommend “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne.

For the long term these skills are actually more important then the technical ones.

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. Align frequently with your manager on priorities and deadlines. Chances are you will always have too many things to do. Either you learn which things go first or you will risk to sleep very few hours in your first weeks ;)
  3. Ask for feedback every two-three weeks – this will show you are proactive and willing to learn.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Be social and respectful with the support staff – these people are great and influential as well in the company.
  7. Start to build a weekly calendar the Sunday before. Allocate main tasks, both for private life and work. Will be though to do at the beginning but once you master this skill your productivity will skyrocket, as will force to think about your priorities a lot in advance.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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B
Expert
replied on Feb 07, 2018
NOT AVAILABLE

Hey,

My 2 cents on the topic (especially on the powerpoint piece): if by any chance that consulting firm is McKinsey, I would strongly reccommend you to read "Say it with Charts" and "Say it with Presentation" (Gene Zelazny, a VA who has been with McKinsey for the last decades); these books are given in the initial training and contain everything you need to know about ppt... all the rest comes with practice and experience.

Anyway, my personal view (and it worths what it worths, as it is no fact, but just something built on my own personal experience as well as hundreds of McK colleagues that knew zero about excel/ppt in the day 0, and most of the people excels after 1 year) is that if I was in your position, I wouldn't spend much time worrying about these topics and would rather enjoy free time in general before getting into the buble called consulting :)

Best

Bruno

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Resource to learn Excel quickly

An
Expert
replied on Jan 14, 2018
Google Product Manager | Ex- BCG Consultant | References Available

Hi there

I would recommend actually an investment banking / PE recruitment guide like WallStreetOasis or Breaking Into Wall Street.

What you'd want to look for is any online modules or exercises that guides you through building a model for a business - I am fairly sure Breaking Into Wall Street has one about building an income forecast model.

Jack

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Vlad gave the best answer

Vlad

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