Is it important to master statistical programs such as Python before joining MBB?

BCG MBB McKinsey Statistic Analysis
New answer on Feb 08, 2021
14 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Feb 06, 2021

And if this is the case, which programs would you recommend getting comfortable with (R, Python, Stata, etc.)? I am thinking about generalist roles at MBB and not data analytics.

(edited)

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Clara
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replied on Feb 07, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

No, honestly, not at all. Of course it´s a nice to have, but as a generalist, I never used Python -is true that my colleages with a very very strong mathematical or programming backgorund got envolved in very analytcal engagaments, in which they used it-.

However, if there is one thing I wish I had done before joining McKinsey, that would have been Excel. It can really be a game changer, so I would really focus on that (more than pptx, industry knowledge, etc., that are nice-to-have, but not deal breakers).

Excel skills are part of the core skill-set of consultants, and it´s great that you want to practice them. PFB a list of the most popular commands:

Basic operations: SUM, SUMPRODUCT

Text transformations: CONCATENATE, LEFT, RIGHT, & operator,

Connecting different datasets: VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, INDEX(MATCH(),MATCH())

Conditional-based operations: SUMIF, COUNTIF, SUMIFS, COUNTIFS, COUNTA

Learn how to analyze data using Pivot Tables

There are plenty of online materials:

Microsoft Support: https://support.office.com/en-us/excel

Kubicle: https://kubicle.com/personal (go for the 7 days free trial - Excel for Business Analytics)

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Vlad
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replied on Feb 07, 2021
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

It's not. Make sure you are a pro in Excel / PPT.

However, one thing to understand is that consultants love so-called "Spikes" - your unique strengths. If you have Python and can code, and if you apply it on projects - this will give you an opportunity for faster growth

Best

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Ian
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replied on Feb 07, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Not important at all!

You will never use data analytics in generalist consulting.

That said, having R, Python, Stata, etc. on your resume helps a lot (I have it on mine). It shows recruiters you can problem-solve, work with numbers, etc.

Furthermore, it is an excellent skillset to pair with strategic thinking, if you're looking at a career after consulting (again, a path I have taken).

That said, for the specific purposes of doing your job well at MBB, you do not need data analytics tools. You will really only use PowerPoint, Excel, Alteryx, and sometimes Tableau.

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Gaurav
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replied on Feb 07, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

I confirm, there is no real need, but surely it can be useful for you.

Cheers, GB

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Udayan
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updated an answer on Feb 08, 2021
Top rated McKinsey Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /6 years McKinsey recruiting experience

I think it helps to be honest. BAs that had the skill were in much higher demand and also had a greater impact. Is it necessary? No. Will it set you apart? 100%

I would recommend:

  • VBA
  • Python
  • Tableau

Best,

Udayan

(edited)

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Allen
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replied on Feb 07, 2021
Ex-McK Experienced Hire and EM - I show you how to perform at your best

The answer is no. You will be a generalist, while specialized skills such as those are usually handled by specialists.

That being said, the deeper an understanding of data science and data analytics you possess, the better more effective you’ll be and the better you’ll be able to work with such specialists. So it’s a very valuable thing to know.

Hope this helps,

Allen

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Florian
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replied on Feb 07, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Case and PEI Coach | 5 years at McKinsey | Mentorship Approach | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

Absolutely no need.

From a McK perspective, you would have a ton of supporting resource if you would ever have to deal with Python et al.

As the first line of defense, there is the Global Helpdesk, which you should contact 5 minutes after you have been trying to figure out something (from Excel upward). If it gets more complex, there are all different kinds of teams to book for support over a few hours up to the duration of the engagement. Your role would then be more of a translator between analytics and the client.

I am sure BCG and Bain have similar resources.

Cheers,

Florian

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Francesco
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replied on Feb 07, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.400+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

I agree with Allen and Ken, you won’t need to know any programming language as a generalist.

You will mainly use Excel and PowerPoint. Knowing how to work with macros is a nice-to-have but not strictly required.

For some projects, Alteryx and Tableau may be useful as well.

Best,
Francesco

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Luca
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replied on Feb 07, 2021
BCG |NASA | SDA Bocconi & Cattolica partner | GMAT expert 780/800 score | 200+ students coached

Hello,

Not at all, mastering powerpoint and excel is more than enough for your analysis. A nice add-one would be Alteryx and Tableau (especially for BCG offices) but you will have training dedicated on that.

Best,
Luca

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Adi
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updated an answer on Feb 07, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Not needed but learning Python for your own good can be very helpful. I learnt it over the last 2 years and have found myself really enjoying it and coming across as more credible in machine learning/AI related disccussions plus this is the future I think- I dont see how not having such skills in future will be an option.

There are some really good courses on Udemy and you can pace yourself too.

(edited)

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Henning
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replied on Feb 07, 2021
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

Agree. No need to learn that before joining, but it might be helpful every once in a while.

It might give you a bit of an advantage in the CV screening stage. All firms are aiming at increasing the share of their teams that ar edigitally skilled and demonstrating that you have some prior experience in data science or more advanced statistical fields might give you a few points.

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Ken
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replied on Feb 07, 2021
Ex-McKinsey London final round interviewer

There's definitely no need to know any programming languages as a generalist. On top of Excel, you will only use Alteryx and Tableau of which there is always remote analytical support available.

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Antonello
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replied on Feb 08, 2021
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, I confirm no programming skills are required for generalist roles in MBB

Best,
Antonello

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Denis
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replied on Feb 08, 2021
Ex-Bain 5 yrs | Goldman Sachs Investment Banker NYC | MBA Chicago Booth | Passed > 13 MBB > 20 IB interviews

Nice to be able to code in Python or ASM or C++ or Excel Makros, but no need for it. Do not forget that you will spend most of your time either in Excel, PPT, and always around people. I d much rather focus on that.

Read / work through:

keith ferrazzi - never eat alone (the bible on how to build and maintain professional relationships)
Bain - profit from the core
Bain - Lessons from PE that any company can use
Familiarize yourself with top-nodge slides of the firm you join as quickly as possible - no need to re-invent the certain design and design elements of every slide you do - there are proven templates that are used over and over again for good reason
Know how excel works - and how to create a client-friendly and colleague-friendly workbook! Most excels look messy, have no error controls, are intranspartent and lack commentary. This is the best way to leave a bad impression with more tenured consultants ....

Best,
Denis

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Clara gave the best answer

Clara

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McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut
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