MBB on the job tools / applications / software

MBB skills
New answer on Apr 30, 2020
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Arash asked on Apr 01, 2020

Hello friends,

I will be starting at BCG soon as a generalist consultant and have some spare time prior to starting. I want to increase my prociency with some potential tools / software MBB uses (already highly skilled with Excel) and was wondering if you had any insight into the tools consulting firms use.

Specifically, I am wondering if MBB uses tools / software like:

Project Management:

  • Asana
  • Monday
  • Notion
  • Trello

Data Analysis:

  • SQL

Data Visualization:

  • Power IB
  • Tableau

Additionally is there anything else you would recommend I become comfortable with?

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Clara
Expert
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updated an answer on Apr 01, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

If you are joining as a general consultant, I would dedicate 95% of my pre-joining spare time to Excel.

Please find below a list of the most popular commands. I would suggest you to follow some online courses and practice the commands on a dataset_

- 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

For the other ones you mention, the only ones that could make sense at a point are SQL -altough you normally get a data scientist who is a specialist- or Tableau -that is super super easy and intuitive, you will even enjoy it-.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

(edited)

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Anonymous replied on Apr 01, 2020

Hi,

As soon as Welcome trainings can start again at BCG, you will have dedicated courses on PowerPoint, Excel and on Tableau as well.

Good luck for your on boarding

Best

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Daniel
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Content Creator
replied on Apr 01, 2020
McKinsey / ex-Interviewer at McKinsey / I will coach you to rock those interviews

Hi!

  • Generalist consultants only need a high-proficiency in Excel and these days maybe a little bit of a Tableau knowledge. So, if you are proficient in Excel already, then definitily focus on Tableau.
  • SQL is very much optional but might be also beneficial, just acquiring some basics, i.e. understanding a basic logic.
  • Project management tools are not used.

However, what is essential and often underestimated is how much power point consultants do :) Honestly, skills to create a beautiful slide quickly is much more valuable in consulting than knowing SQL. Of course it's a learning by doing, but maybe do a course on power point, it will definitely help you at the start. Here is a course you might look into https://www.coursera.org/learn/powerpoint-presentations#about

Best,

Daniel

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Vlad
Expert
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replied on Apr 01, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

MBBs are not using these PM tools. The tools you've mentioned are very simple and I don't think you need to waste the time on them since it takes just a couple hours to figure out.

SQL knowledge is very useful and it will help you to stand out. Consultants are looking for the "Spikes" to promote people, so this can be your spike

Tableau is very commonly used. I have friends at McK / Bain using them daily. Again, they are pretty simple

Best

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Sidi
Expert
replied on Apr 01, 2020
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 300+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi!

Let me try and be very clear on the relevance of your list:

  • MS Excel - very relevant (for obvious reasons)
  • SQL - quite low relevance (only in very specific situations a generalist consultant will ever use this skill. If database building/management is needed, then it will nearly always be outsourced to either internal support teams or external partners (such as Evaluserve). Having a consultant spend his time on this would almost always be very inefficient and a waste of expensive resources)
  • Tableau - quite low relevance (same as above: if Tableau is needed (which is quite rare), it will be handled by support teams, but not by consultants, who have to spend their time on other tasks for efficiency reasons)
  • All other tools listed - completely irrelevant (project management is done in the specific way of the particular MBB you are joining)

Cheers, Sidi

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Francesco
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replied on Apr 02, 2020
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (3.600+) | 1.300+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 8+ Years of Coaching

Hi Arash,

congratulations on your offer! As mentioned in the other comments, the only real tools you will use out of those you listed are Excel and possibly Tableau, I would not spend time with the others.

Below you can find some suggestions for your first days:

  1. Take notes when your manager tells you something – this will help you to remember details and will show to the team you care about them.
  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. 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. 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.

I would also suggest to read (or reread) How to win friends and influence people – consulting is a people business and the more your grow the more soft skills become important compared to technical skills.

Best,

Francesco

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Vai
CoachingPlus Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 01, 2020
Consultant at BCG Nordics| PE and Due Diligence | BCG London, Boston & Dubai office experience

Hi,

You need not worry about PM tools. Most are straight forward to learn and you will get a hang of it in no time. Data processing and data visualization skills could be helpful to learn. So my recommendation in decreasing order of preference would be

  1. Microsoft Excel (really master it)
  2. Alteryx
  3. Tableau
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Antonello
Expert
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updated an answer on Apr 30, 2020
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, first of all congrats for the offer :)

Among all the great advices of other coaches, I recommend mastering powerpoint and ways of structuring a presentation on it. The best source for it is the book "Say it with charts".

Best,
Antonello

(edited)

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Luca
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 04, 2020
BCG |NASA |20+ interviews with 100% success rate| 120+ students coached |GMAT expert 780/800 score

Hello,

In BCG, as generalist, you will not use more than Powerpoint, Word and Excel.
If you want to do an extra mile, they are now trying to get used to Tableau and Alteryx. No need to go further than this.

Best,
Luca

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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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