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In preparation to my job at Bain I would like to improve my analytical skills. Any advice on how to improve these?

Someone asked on Sep 04, 2017 - 3 answers

Worked at a big four for over 3 years however do not feel comfortable about my analyical/excel skills. Any idea on what type of analysis (strategy) consultants at a MBB perform? Should I refresh also my statistical know how? Thank you all for your great help!

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Francesco replied on Sep 06, 2017
#1 Expert for coaching sessions (2.100+) | Ex BCG | 1.000+ reviews with 100% recommendation rate

Hi Anonymous,

I would assume you are referring to the actual job at Bain. In general there is no statistical analysis that should be performed in a strategy-consulting job (unless you have a background in statistics and they specifically hired you for that reason). As for excel, you will be mainly required to use two functions, vlookup and pivot tables. Of course, if you know macros and advanced formulas, that would also help, but likely not be necessary.

Besides that, below you can find some other general tips useful for excel:

  1. Review excel shortcuts – in the long run can save you a lot of time
  2. Never use the Hide function for cells – rather use the Group function
  3. Get used to do multiple backups in case anything goes wrong
  4. Always double check formulas before delivering the file – most of the time at the beginning you will find mistakes that could hurt your credibility
  5. Prepare drafts to show/ align with your supervisor before doing actual analysis – otherwise you may end doing very complicated things that will turn useless

Hope this helps,


Vlad replied on Sep 11, 2017
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School


I would concentrate on getting the right financial modelling 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 the basic statistics tools

2) Power Point - Google for MBB presentations and try to replicate them. Search for tips and tricks in books / internet in parallel. Plus read "Say it with charts" and "Pyramid Principle"

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

Good Luck!

Someone replied on Sep 05, 2017

Hi - is this in reference to recruiting? Case interviews at MBB don't have a direct excel or analytical component per se.

In reference to the actual job, there is tons of excel analytical work. The majority of it is finding inferences from client data that we use to solve the problem. Happy to talk more in detail (currently work at Bain & Co.) via direct message.