Mckinsey new hire - advice on development and should I work on weekends?

analysis entry level Excel McKinsey newbie PowerPoint Problem Solving
New answer on Oct 15, 2023
3 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 05, 2019

I am only 6 weeks into my tenure (entry level). While at the beach, I have capacity and support multiple projects. This mostly has been research.

I want to develop on my own so that I am not caught off-guard in my next staffing, but without having the actual work-related tasks, I am not sure how to approach this. Especially when it comes to PPT and problem solving (excel i can take online courses). Drawing "mckinsey" slides seems like something you need to get constant feedback on to improve and PS seems not very easy to do when you don't have a problem to solve.

So far in the PS sessions I haven't been able to contribute much since everything has been so high-paced, and since I thought that I didn't have something valuable to add. I participated for me to get exposed to the experience, so I thought it is normal that I haven't been able to contribute much, but after each one, the feedback I have received has been "you need to speak up more".

So my questions:

  • How to work on becoming a better "problem solver" and adjusting to the pace without an actual project?
  • How to become better at making "Mckinsey" slides without a project?
  • Any tips on practicing more assertiveness?
  • Should I spare time off my weekends to polish these skills (plus excel)? Or should I just work in the week and leave weekend time completely clear to avoid burning out?


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replied on Jan 06, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


First of all - try to get on the project. There is nothing worse than sitting on the beach with no skills

Secondly - please practice on your own

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.

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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Content Creator
replied on Oct 15, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer


I really like your attitude and desire to improve. I will say a few things based on my own experience. In fact I received the same feedback ("you need to speak up more") on my first project in BCG. 

  • You need to carve out time to think about implications of your work on the overall project and also other teammates modules/workstreams
  • Even if your current module or work isn't related to what is being discussed, you must push yourself to be present and engaged at each discussion with the mindset of “how can I make this answer or perspective that is told to me better”?
  • Sometimes it's not about having an answer yourself, but being able to ask questions that push for clarity or encourage greater depth - this will also be recognized as ‘speaking up’

All the best!

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replied on Jan 06, 2019
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

Congrats on joining McK, sorry about being on the beach already. Part of it is just practice, and realizing you will always be pushed harder, no matter how good (or not) you are. One of the key insights for me was realizing that creating slides wasnt just a busy exercise, but a way to structure my thinking: if you dont know how to say it in a slide, you dont really know it.

Everyone also has something to bring - and if you think you dont understand some logic, make sure you ask. Asking is a great way to learn and to participate. It will also get your colleagues used to getting your opinion. Remember, if you truly had nothing to share, you wouldnt have been hired :)

As for whether to work on weekends... yes, everyone does - even if they say they dont. While on the beach, you wont need to work as hard - but you probably still should allocate a few Sunday afternoon hours and cone with a plan of what you want to achieve then.

Good luck

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Vlad gave the best answer


McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School
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