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How to get quicker at Excel and PowerPoint for Consulting

Anonymous A

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 replied on 02/07/2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / 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!

Andrea
Expert
replied on 02/07/2018
BCG decision round interviewer with 300+ real interviews conducted and 8 years interviewing experience

Agreed with other response: enjoy your free time, you will be given all the training needed and all the practice/exercise needed - sometimes more than you'd like :).

On PowerPoint the golden rule is that less words is best.

On Excel the only strong advice I can give, if you want to become a ninja, is not to buy or use a mouse. Ever. The moment you have it, it will be your crutch.

hope it helps,

andrea

Bruno replied on 02/07/2018
McKinsey Associate | London Business School consulting coach, with 300+ mock interviews | 100% recommendation rate!

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

Francesco replied on 02/08/2018
Ex BCG | MBB Specialist | #1 Expert for meetings done (1100+) and recommendation rate (100%)

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

Andrea
Expert
replied on 02/07/2018
BCG decision round interviewer with 300+ real interviews conducted and 8 years interviewing experience

Agreed with other response: enjoy your free time, you will be given all the training needed and all the practice/exercise needed - sometimes more than you'd like :).

On PowerPoint the golden rule is that less words is best.

On Excel the only strong advice I can give, if you want to become a ninja, is not to buy or use a mouse. Ever. The moment you have it, it will be your crutch.

hope it helps,

andrea

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