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How to prepare for my role in MBB?

Anonymous A asked on Nov 02, 2018 - 3 answers

Hi, I just got accepted into an MBB firm at an entry-level position. I was advised that in order to prepare for my role, it would be best to keep up with current world issues and read the news frequently. I am already currently doing all that but I would appreciate advice on how to take my understanding to a deeper level, to understand underlying relationships between countries etc., so that I will be able to interpret the news and what it would mean for the future.

Would love advice on where to begin, and how else to prepare for my role. Thanks a lot!

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Vlad replied on Nov 02, 2018
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Hi,

The things that you've mentioned will help you to have a good conversation with the client, but it's not the most important thing at the entry level.

I would concentrate on getting the right financial modeling skills and presenting your analysis in Power Point.

1) Financial modeling - the best course I know is Training The Street. Take Financial Modeling, Valuation, Maybe LBO. Also, learn pivot tables and the basic statistics tools

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 reproduce 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;)

While in consulting focus on the following:

  • Having a good DGL / career counselor, etc. (Each company has different names). This is a person who guides your development in the company, collects the feedbacks on you, and presents your case to a promotion committee. Make sure to have a person who is organized enough to collect the feedbacks in time, who is a nice person in general and who has enough authority in the company (i.e. Senior partner - the more power he has - the better)
  • Choosing the project you work on smartly (i.e. collect the feedbacks on each and everyone prior to accepting the project)
  • Perfect technical skills (Excel, PPT, Problem Solving)
  • Good feedbacks on you from the client. Thus try to make friends with your clients (Both senior and non-senior role. Even a bad feedback from a blue collar can ruin your career)
  • Ability to manage your own standalone workstream with minimum supervision. TOP performers bring the end products that impress others
  • Being proactive - helping the team with daily routine, scheduling, etc. Participating in the office initiatives
  • Establishing relationships with your managers and partners. Ideally, you should have multiple senior partners to be excited about you and to support you)
  • Being lucky!

Good Luck!

Francesco replied on Nov 03, 2018
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Hi Anonymous,

first of all, congratulations for your offer! I agree with Vlad that, although being updated on the news can be helpful, there are some more important elements to secure a good performance from the beginning. I believe a good preparation would include technical, communication and goal setting/stress management skills.

  • On the technical side, as also mentioned by Vlad, Excel will be the most important technical thing to master at the beginning, in particular for what concerns VLOOKUP and Pivot tables; an additional useful review may concern PowerPoint, which you will also use pretty intensively. At BCG we got learning courses we could use to improve on them, and I guess you will receive the same in every MBB, but so far that you have already mastered the skills before joining (you can find several courses online for both for free), even better.
  • For what concerns communication, a classic on the topic is the book “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. In case you have time for an additional job before starting your consulting career, an experience in a sales role could also help a lot.
  • Finally, for goal setting/stress management I would recommend “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne - great book to cultivate a positive attitude in a stressful environment.

A couple of things that could help you during your first weeks are also 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. Ask for feedback every two-three weeks – this will show you are proactive and willing to learn.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Be social and respectful with the support staff – these people are great and influential as well in the company.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Hüdhüd replied on Nov 03, 2018

What I've gathered from friends in consulting, you need to be:

  • Highly proficient at communicating information via decks (i.e. PowerPoint).
  • Fast and accurate in putting together numbers (i.e. Excel).

Seeing that it is an entry-level job, I am under the impression you are hired as a generalist. In that case, Businessweek/Financial Times for about an hour a day should keep you up to date on changes in the world.

Other than that, be sure to develop your wit and acumen (Elevate, GMAT questions, etc.).

Best of luck!