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How to prepare to start at McKinsey? (accepted offer)

McKinsey onboarding
New answer on Feb 01, 2021
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Anonymous D asked on Feb 28, 2019

Hi all,

A big thanks to this community, I have accepted an offer from McKinsey as an Associate in the US. I'll start in a couple of months, I have some down time over the evenings and weekends until then. How can I use this time to prepare myself? Are there any online courses, etc. you'd recommend (financial modeling, etc.?)

Also, how was your first week @ McKinsey, I hear there is a week-long training, any info on that would be great!

Cheers!!

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Francesco
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replied on Feb 28, 2019
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

first of all, congratulations on your offer! If you want to prepare in advance before you start, I would recommend working on technical, communication and stress management skills.

  • On the technical side, Excel will be the most important technical thing to master at the beginning, in particular for VLOOKUPs and Pivot tables; you could also review PowerPoint, which you will also use quite a lot.
    • At BCG we got learning courses we could use to improve on them, and I guess you will receive the same at McKinsey, but so far that you have already mastered the skills before joining (you can find several courses online for both), even better.
    • Tip for Excel: learn how to use as much as possible the keyword and relegate the touchpad to the minimum – this will skyrocket your productivity in the long term. Some computer programs such as KeyRocket provide tips to improve on this.
  • For what concerns communication, I would recommend the classic book on the topic: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.
  • For stress management, I would recommend two books:
    • The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod – great tips to start in the right way your day
    • The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz – a great sum up of some of the best tips be positive, productive and achieve more

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.
  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 H replied on Feb 28, 2019

Hey,

My biggest advice is to not worry about all of that and go travel and enjoy yourself. First week training is awesome! Very fun and interactive. The trick here at the Firm is the learning and skills will come, but you have to make sure to enjoy yourself. Congrats!

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Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Feb 28, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

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!

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Deepa replied on Feb 01, 2021

Hi Congratulations on accepting the offer. I am currently in the interview process for McKinsey implememnattion for US office. Can i pick your brain on your experience with the interview process sometime?

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Allen
Expert
replied on Feb 01, 2021
Ex-McK Experienced Hire and EM - I show you how to perform at your best

Hi there,

Some great advice here, especially some Excel skills which I think will come in handy, but I'm going to disagree with all of it.

From experience, I know that McKinsey will give you all the training, coaching, and feedback you need once you start. You'll likely find it easier to learn when you know exactly what you need it for and when you see "how it's done here." So perhaps you should leave most of the skills training for later.

On the other hand, what about the big picture? Most of us spend so much time and effort preparing for careers at MBB, that we don't think enough about why we're doing it? What's important to you and what's your purpose? Spending time to deepen this aspect of yourself will help you find work at McKinsey that suits you best.

Second: people. Now that you have accepted your offer, it's a great time to work on your professional relationships. You're not busy right now, so who else can you support and help out? (trust me, it'll pay you back in the future, but that's another subject). Who can you reach out to so that you stay connected and for advice and mentorship? These sort of phone calls and virtual meetings are very important but almost never urgent, and now you have the luxury of time to make them happen.

Hope this helps. Best of luck!

Allen

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Anonymous I replied on Feb 01, 2021

Congratulations! Any tips on how you aced the PEI and cases? Thanks

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Francesco

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