How to prep for McKinsey

Business analyst training courses Business consultant Mck McKinsey & Company online courses
New answer on Dec 05, 2022
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Anonymous A asked on Dec 03, 2022

Hello all,

I have just accepted an offer from McKinse. I will start next month as a junior Associate. Do you know what are the main hard skills I should have as a consultant? Is there a way to prep this month? Maybe excel models etc? Do you know any good courses?

 

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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Dec 05, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Congrats on the offer!

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Know that no-one can perfectly prepare for the job and that's the point: You will mess up, you will learn, you will be trained and supported. That's OK!

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First: I have a consulting survival guide handbook with 25 key tips for surviving the consulting world. Feel free to message me for it!

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Second: In terms of things you can learn/do to prepare beforehand:

1) Daily Reading

  • The Economist, The Financial Times, BCG/Mskinsey Insights

2) Industry deep-dives

  • Learn, in-depth, how the industries/companies your office advises, work. (PM me for an industry overview template)

3) Analytics tools

  • Alteryx, Tableau, etc.

4) Excel

5) Powerpoint

  • Best practices/standards
  • Different layouts
  • Quickly editing/updating slides
  • Thinking in PowerPoint

6) Presentation skills / sharp communication

  • There are some online/virtual classes for this

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Third: In terms of doing well in your role when you're there:

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 timeFind out which ones matter when. (i.e. be visibile and focus efforts on the things that people care about)

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Fourth: Here are some great prior Q&As for you!

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/what-makes-a-good-consultant-how-to-get-a-good-review-6790

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-hard-is-it-to-excel-in-top-consulting-firms-6762

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/how-to-become-an-engagement-manager-and-partner-quickly-6722

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/need-to-learn-skills-in-the-ample-free-time-before-starting-at-an-mbb-what-should-i-do-6774

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Florian
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replied on Dec 04, 2022
#1 rated McKinsey Coach | Top MBB Coach | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of the 1% | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

If you are interested in preparing for your new role, I'd suggest the following:

When I got the offer some years ago I did the same. I reached out to people I knew in McKinsey and people who interviewed me to ask: what can I do to make the start easier? how can I prepare?

The answer from everyone was: Relax! Enjoy your time before you start and don't think about it. You will figure it out on the job. I followed that advice and it made sense to me once I joined.

When you start at McKinsey there are 2 ways to learn:

  1. Formal training. The formal training sessions/ weeks/ days in the beginning, are nice, however, they are more for networking and meeting your peers. You learn some interesting concepts and get some useful tips from more experienced consultants BUT
  2. Constant and implicit learning on the job is where it's at. No matter if you are a newcomer or a veteran after 2 years, you will always find yourself on a steep learning curve. As soon as you barely mastered one skill or the skills needed for one level in the hierarchy, you will take care of things, which are expected from a more senior colleague. This cycle never ends. You are expected to learn on the job, learn from your colleagues, your mentors, sometimes even the client. So basically a newly promoted Engagement Manager has the same 'struggle' as a new-hire Business Analyst. They both need to work in a completely new environment and role.

Knowing that, if we now go back to square one in your McKinsey journey it makes perfect sense to enter the firm with a blank slate with a lot of curiosity and eagerness to soak it all up and quickly learn the ropes.

No book, no training, no coach can prepare you for your first day, your first week, your first engagement. Nothing matches the experience and the learning and this is a good thing (also the reason why ex-McKinsey are valued highly on the job market).

You will learn everything you need to master while doing it. You will be thrown in the cold water and need to swim. However, your colleagues will always be happy to help you and mentor you. And for the rest, you will figure everything out along the way. The key here is always to ask for tips, shortcuts, feedback, etc. Don't be quiet if you get stuck.

Also, for every technical problem (IT, Excel question, etc) McKinsey has a Global Helpdesk and the rule is to call them for every problem you can't solve within 5 minutes. They will fix your computer, guide you through Excel formulas, etc.

Lastly, if you have no domain knowledge about a certain industry or topic, read through the internal library of documentation (which is endless) and call some of the firm experts on the topic. Usually, they are happy to offer you a short call to get you up to speed.

Don't sweat the small stuff and enjoy the ride!

Florian

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Francesco
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replied on Dec 04, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Congratulations on the McKinsey offer! In terms of your questions:

1) Do you know what are the main hard skills I should have as a consultant? 

If you mean IT skills related to the day-to-day job, mainly Excel and PowerPoint.

2) Is there a way to prep this month? Maybe excel models etc?

In terms of preparation I would recommend the following:

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IT TOOLS

You are probably fine with the Excel and PowerPoint, if not you can take a quick course to review the basics. You can check in advance with your office if they recommend training on any other tool, such as Alteryx or Tableau and if so, do some prep on that.

One of the most important things you can learn with any IT tool is shortcuts – they will increase substantially your productivity.

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INDUSTRIES

If your office specializes in specific industries where you would like to work, it would be good to get a minimum knowledge of them in advance. You will still learn the most during the job so this is not strictly necessary.

You can find some tips on recent consulting trends here:

 11 New Consulting Trends You Should Know

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READING LIST

In case you have time before starting, a good way to invest it is to… read. You won’t have much time to do this later and reading is one of the most undervalued growth opportunities available today.

Personally I don’t have much time to read, so I listen to books – Audible is great for this. You can easily listen to a book per week with minimum effort. You absorb books differently when you listen, so you have to check if this works for you.

The following are some books I would highly recommend to develop a growth mindset – key in any industry with high pressure. You can expand the list with anything you want to learn – just try to find a few really good books on that topic.

  • The Compound Effect – Darren Hardy (great book on long-term planning)
  • Tiny Habits – BJ Fogg (excellent, science-based book on habits formation)
  • The Mediations – Marcus Aurelius (written ~ 2000 years ago but incredibly actual – the personal diary of the most powerful man in the world at the time)
  • The 80–20 Principle – Richard Koch (very smart life tips from one of the founders of LEK)
  • Peaks and Valleys – Spencer Johnson (crisis management tale – from the same author of the famous “Who moved my Cheese”, I personally found this book a lot more interesting and applicable)
  • The Gap and the Gain – Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy (excellent book in terms of mindset for happiness)

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FIRST WEEKS

Below you can also find some tips for the first weeks I usually recommend – you are probably familiar with most of them, but could be good to review:

  1. Take notes during meetings/discussions with your manager – 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 when you join a new company: 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. You should build a good network within the company. A good start is key to develop good relationships long-term. More difficult to do during COVID – but there may still be opportunities for virtual gatherings. Try to take advantage of as many as possible to build connections.
  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 than missing the deadline.
  8. Be social and respectful with the support staff – these people are great and influential as well in the company.

Best,

Francesco

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Rushabh
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replied on Dec 03, 2022
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Hello,

Congrats on your offer!

What you can for the next month:

1) Enjoy your time with friends and family: I'm sure you know this, but once you start at McKinsey, time is your biggest asset. Try to utilise your time as much as possible for doing things that you love.

2) Try to finish all administrative tasks in your life that will potentially distract you from working: e.g. Have to renew your passport? Get it done. Need to build your wardrobe? Go shopping. These tasks will eat up your precious time once your job starts.

3) You mentioned excel models - if there is any particular weakness that you are aware of, try and mitigate it. However, don't worry about developing too many new hard skills as the firm will certainly have training modules lined up for you when you start :)

All the best!

Rushabh

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Ian gave the best answer

Ian

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