Cookie and Privacy Settings

This website uses cookies to enable essential functions like the user login and sessions. We also use cookies and third-party tools to improve your surfing experience on preplounge.com. You can choose to activate only essential cookies or all cookies. You can always change your preference in the cookie and privacy settings. This link can also be found in the footer of the site. If you need more information, please visit our privacy policy.

Data processing in the USA: By clicking on "I accept", you also consent, in accordance with article 49 paragraph 1 sentence 1 lit. GDPR, to your data being processed in the USA (by Google LLC, Facebook Inc., LinkedIn Inc., Stripe, Paypal).

Manage settings individually I accept
expert
Expert with best answer

Clara

100% Recommendation Rate

50 Meetings

12,347 Q&A Upvotes

USD 229 / Coaching

8

Need to learn skills in the ample free time, I have before starting at an MBB. What should I do?

Hi,

I am a recent graduate with a lot of time on my hands before I join a consulting firm in the Middle East. I am thinking of doing something productive that will help me in the long run as an Analyst in the firm. Can you suggest me things, courses and skills that I should learn before starting?

I am willing to give it all since I have a lot of time on my hands these days.

Thanks!

Hi,

I am a recent graduate with a lot of time on my hands before I join a consulting firm in the Middle East. I am thinking of doing something productive that will help me in the long run as an Analyst in the firm. Can you suggest me things, courses and skills that I should learn before starting?

I am willing to give it all since I have a lot of time on my hands these days.

Thanks!

(edited)

8 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
Book a coaching with Clara

100% Recommendation Rate

50 Meetings

12,347 Q&A Upvotes

USD 229 / Coaching

Hello!

Congrats of that offer!

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

Hello!

Congrats of that offer!

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

Book a coaching with Raj

100% Recommendation Rate

43 Meetings

483 Q&A Upvotes

USD 159 / Coaching

Hi there,

Well done on the offer!

Looking back to when I started, I would say what would have served me in good stead would have been:

  • Excel shortcuts
  • Learning how to build a model
  • PowerPoint shortcuts and Horizontal/Vertical Logic (nice to have)

Excel: To get really good at Excel as consultants use it, approach it in terms of:

  1. Mechanics - use Excel quickly and efficiently
  2. Tools - learn the tools you will need
  3. Process - understand how to think about what you need it to do

1. Mechanics

  • Use the keyboard, only!
  • Learn the Alt Key shortcuts (type alt shows you all the shortcuts for accessing the toolbar)
  • Memorise the key ones - Shift + Arrow (select cells), Ctrl + Space (select column), Shift + Space (select row), Ctrl + Shift + +/- (add or remove Columns or rows)
  • Find more here: https://macabacus.com/excel/keyboard-shortcuts

2. Tools

  • The other answers have covered most of these - Lookups, Sum Ifs, Count Ifs, Sum Products, Index Match, Pivot Tables
  • This is good enough for 90% of what you will need to know

3. Processes

  • This is more around how do you think about how to build a model and run analysis
  • Instead of jumping straight into, consultants will spend time thinking about the structure of their model first
  • Ask friends in banking or consulting or those who were in the year above you at university, for examples of these - DM me if you want some examples
  • Also, running checks are super important - having checks throughout is commonplace in good models - if you show this when you join, you will be a step above most others in your class

Learning to Model: look at Macabacus.com or trainthestreet. Learn about creating business case models and basic cash flow ones

PowerPoint: learn the keyboard shortcuts for commonly used functions - check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuK8yR3Whjw&t=1079s

Best,

Raj

Hi there,

Well done on the offer!

Looking back to when I started, I would say what would have served me in good stead would have been:

  • Excel shortcuts
  • Learning how to build a model
  • PowerPoint shortcuts and Horizontal/Vertical Logic (nice to have)

Excel: To get really good at Excel as consultants use it, approach it in terms of:

  1. Mechanics - use Excel quickly and efficiently
  2. Tools - learn the tools you will need
  3. Process - understand how to think about what you need it to do

1. Mechanics

  • Use the keyboard, only!
  • Learn the Alt Key shortcuts (type alt shows you all the shortcuts for accessing the toolbar)
  • Memorise the key ones - Shift + Arrow (select cells), Ctrl + Space (select column), Shift + Space (select row), Ctrl + Shift + +/- (add or remove Columns or rows)
  • Find more here: https://macabacus.com/excel/keyboard-shortcuts

2. Tools

  • The other answers have covered most of these - Lookups, Sum Ifs, Count Ifs, Sum Products, Index Match, Pivot Tables
  • This is good enough for 90% of what you will need to know

3. Processes

  • This is more around how do you think about how to build a model and run analysis
  • Instead of jumping straight into, consultants will spend time thinking about the structure of their model first
  • Ask friends in banking or consulting or those who were in the year above you at university, for examples of these - DM me if you want some examples
  • Also, running checks are super important - having checks throughout is commonplace in good models - if you show this when you join, you will be a step above most others in your class

Learning to Model: look at Macabacus.com or trainthestreet. Learn about creating business case models and basic cash flow ones

PowerPoint: learn the keyboard shortcuts for commonly used functions - check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuK8yR3Whjw&t=1079s

Best,

Raj

Book a coaching with Khaled

100% Recommendation Rate

14 Meetings

1,058 Q&A Upvotes

USD 189 / Coaching

Hi there,

Congrats on the offer! You are in for an amazing and hectic consulting life (in Dubai I suppose).

As a Business Analyst, I think it will be helpful if you already start working on the following:

1) GCC market knowledge (very important):

  • Read about all the gov. transformation programs of the GCC countries (mainly Vision 2030 of Saudi Arabia) - read about all its objectives, projects, etc....you projects will definitely be around those topics
  • Read about the biggest gov. sovereign funds (e.g. PIF) and about their latest investments (they will be your clients)
  • Read about the industries you are interested in, specifically in the context of the middle east (example: if you would like to work in automotive, read about Saudi Arabia's latest investment to build local automotive capabilities and the challenges it is facing - if you like e-commerce learn about what are the local players (Noon.com) doing to compete with Amazon)
  • Know the KPIs for the favorite industries (example: if you like oil and gas, learn about product cost per barrel and fiscal breakeven oil prices per country)


2) Excel skills know/how:

  • Pivot tables and data tables (when and how to use them - how to add calculated fields, how to manage your databases)
  • Interactive dashboard design (there are many youtube videos on that topic)
  • Medium/advanced formulas and functionalities: index/match, data validations, array functions, etc
  • Once you mastered all the above, learn to do them without using your mouse :) ... not joking, you actually need to learn to navigate excel without using your mouse!

3) Financial modeling and analysis:

  • Learn how to create nice looking P&Ls and how to link that model to the other financial statements (how to model a balance sheet, cash flow statement, etc.)
  • Learn how to analyze P&Ls and Balance Sheets (what are the typical KPIs/ratios that are used and what do they mean)

Feel free to reach out for any additional specific points you have in mind.

Best,

Khaled

Hi there,

Congrats on the offer! You are in for an amazing and hectic consulting life (in Dubai I suppose).

As a Business Analyst, I think it will be helpful if you already start working on the following:

1) GCC market knowledge (very important):

  • Read about all the gov. transformation programs of the GCC countries (mainly Vision 2030 of Saudi Arabia) - read about all its objectives, projects, etc....you projects will definitely be around those topics
  • Read about the biggest gov. sovereign funds (e.g. PIF) and about their latest investments (they will be your clients)
  • Read about the industries you are interested in, specifically in the context of the middle east (example: if you would like to work in automotive, read about Saudi Arabia's latest investment to build local automotive capabilities and the challenges it is facing - if you like e-commerce learn about what are the local players (Noon.com) doing to compete with Amazon)
  • Know the KPIs for the favorite industries (example: if you like oil and gas, learn about product cost per barrel and fiscal breakeven oil prices per country)


2) Excel skills know/how:

  • Pivot tables and data tables (when and how to use them - how to add calculated fields, how to manage your databases)
  • Interactive dashboard design (there are many youtube videos on that topic)
  • Medium/advanced formulas and functionalities: index/match, data validations, array functions, etc
  • Once you mastered all the above, learn to do them without using your mouse :) ... not joking, you actually need to learn to navigate excel without using your mouse!

3) Financial modeling and analysis:

  • Learn how to create nice looking P&Ls and how to link that model to the other financial statements (how to model a balance sheet, cash flow statement, etc.)
  • Learn how to analyze P&Ls and Balance Sheets (what are the typical KPIs/ratios that are used and what do they mean)

Feel free to reach out for any additional specific points you have in mind.

Best,

Khaled

Book a coaching with Iman

100% Recommendation Rate

16 Meetings

1,501 Q&A Upvotes

USD 159 / Coaching

Hi,

Congrats for the offer. I could think off a couple of things that you can do:

  1. Read articles from your future firm that describe the framework,tools and thinking being used / developed. This might help you in solving problems in your future projects
  2. If you have not, brush up your financial analysis skill and knowledge
  3. Learn the technique / logic of developing a financial model - Not the excel formulas/function but the actual logic of how to structure a world class financial model
  4. Learn the basic excel formula/ functions (This could support point no 3)

If y ou can divide an 8 hours day into 2 hours block of the above activities I think you should be fine. Remember discipline is the key.

Lastly, don't forget to also enjoy your free time before consulting :)

Hi,

Congrats for the offer. I could think off a couple of things that you can do:

  1. Read articles from your future firm that describe the framework,tools and thinking being used / developed. This might help you in solving problems in your future projects
  2. If you have not, brush up your financial analysis skill and knowledge
  3. Learn the technique / logic of developing a financial model - Not the excel formulas/function but the actual logic of how to structure a world class financial model
  4. Learn the basic excel formula/ functions (This could support point no 3)

If y ou can divide an 8 hours day into 2 hours block of the above activities I think you should be fine. Remember discipline is the key.

Lastly, don't forget to also enjoy your free time before consulting :)

Book a coaching with Emily

100% Recommendation Rate

48 Meetings

2,133 Q&A Upvotes

USD 189 / Coaching

Hi there,

Since you would be joining as Analyst, the most important skills you can practice now is excel (including modelling) and PPT writing.

On top of these hard skills, you can read the MBB articles to see how they approach an issue, what the latest trend / thinking is, etc.

Last but not least, chill and have some fun! Life would be tough once you start, so enjoy it now. :)

Best

Emily

Hi there,

Since you would be joining as Analyst, the most important skills you can practice now is excel (including modelling) and PPT writing.

On top of these hard skills, you can read the MBB articles to see how they approach an issue, what the latest trend / thinking is, etc.

Last but not least, chill and have some fun! Life would be tough once you start, so enjoy it now. :)

Best

Emily

Book a coaching with Ian

100% Recommendation Rate

193 Meetings

16,099 Q&A Upvotes

USD 289 / Coaching

1) Daily Reading

  • The Economist, The Financial Times, BCG/Mskinsey Insights

2) Industry deep-dives

  • Learn, in-depth, how the industries/companies your office advises, work. (PM me for an industry overview template)

3) Analytics tools

  • Alteryx, Tableau, etc.

4) Excel

  • Like everyone below has mentioned

5) Powerpoint

  • Best practices/standards
  • Different layouts
  • Quickly editing/updating slides
  • Thinking in PowerPoint

6) Presentation skills / sharp communication

  • There are some online/virtual classes for this

Feel free to reach out - I can provide you resources for all the above and/or spend time training you in them!

1) Daily Reading

  • The Economist, The Financial Times, BCG/Mskinsey Insights

2) Industry deep-dives

  • Learn, in-depth, how the industries/companies your office advises, work. (PM me for an industry overview template)

3) Analytics tools

  • Alteryx, Tableau, etc.

4) Excel

  • Like everyone below has mentioned

5) Powerpoint

  • Best practices/standards
  • Different layouts
  • Quickly editing/updating slides
  • Thinking in PowerPoint

6) Presentation skills / sharp communication

  • There are some online/virtual classes for this

Feel free to reach out - I can provide you resources for all the above and/or spend time training you in them!

Dear A,

y congratulations to your offer! It's a first great step in your career!

For the candidates like you I have developed a specific program which is called "Get ready for your successful career". for the first 100 days and long-term career planning.

See details in my profile, where I'm covering all the aspect, skills and mindset which you will need to develop in order to become a successful consultant.

I, myself, was promoted from the consultant to the project-manager within 3 years which is extremely fast in terms of consulting, so I've put all my experiences in this programm, so I'm happy to share it with you in order to help you to build a successful career

If you are interested, drop me a line, and we can have a call with you to meet your objectives.


Best,

André

Dear A,

y congratulations to your offer! It's a first great step in your career!

For the candidates like you I have developed a specific program which is called "Get ready for your successful career". for the first 100 days and long-term career planning.

See details in my profile, where I'm covering all the aspect, skills and mindset which you will need to develop in order to become a successful consultant.

I, myself, was promoted from the consultant to the project-manager within 3 years which is extremely fast in terms of consulting, so I've put all my experiences in this programm, so I'm happy to share it with you in order to help you to build a successful career

If you are interested, drop me a line, and we can have a call with you to meet your objectives.


Best,

André

Book a coaching with Thomas

100% Recommendation Rate

22 Meetings

466 Q&A Upvotes

USD 149 / Coaching

There is a lot of merits in understanding the ME market and culture(s). In terms of a hard skill, Excel is simply the basics, but this will not make you stand out. If you are looking for a USP, you can invest some time into programming or data visualization.

There is a lot of merits in understanding the ME market and culture(s). In terms of a hard skill, Excel is simply the basics, but this will not make you stand out. If you are looking for a USP, you can invest some time into programming or data visualization.

Related BootCamp article(s)

Interviewer-Led vs Candidate-Led cases

Case Interviews can be led by the candidate or by the interviewer: In Candidate-led cases the main challenge is the structure. In Interviewer-led cases the main challenge is to adapt quickly

Related case(s)

McKinsey Questions

Solved 38.9k times
McKinsey Questions Tell me of a situation where you had an opinion and no one seemed to agree with you. What was your goal when you decided to join university / work / clubs / a sports team? Did you have a goal that you were not able to reach? What did you do? What do you want to be remembered for and how are you achieving it? What is your typical way of dealing with conflict?
4.5 5 862
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit Interview | Topics: Personal fit

Tell me of a situation where you had an opinion and no one seemed to agree with you. What was your goal when you decided to join university / work / clubs / a sports team? Did you have a goal that you were not able to reach? What did you do? What do you want to be remembered for and how are you ... Open whole case

BCG Questions

Solved 26.9k times
BCG Questions What arouses your interest when you are working / studying / doing another activity (from the CV)? Tell me of a time where you had no idea what you were doing. When did you use an uncommon approach to do something? Have you ever had responsibility for other people? Tell me of a situation where you were not the official leader.
4.5 5 212
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |
Difficulty: Intermediate | Style: Fit Interview | Topics: Personal fit

What arouses your interest when you are working / studying / doing another activity (from the CV)? Tell me of a time where you had no idea what you were doing. When did you use an uncommon approach to do something? Have you ever had responsibility for other people? Tell me of a situation where ... Open whole case

MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education

Solved 15.2k times
MBB Final Round Case - Smart Education Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvantaged areas. The client is considering starting operations for its services in the Chicago area. They hired us to understand if that makes sense. Due to the nonprofit regulation, SmartBridge should operate on its own in the market, without any partnership. How would you help our client?
4.6 5 526
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Our client is SmartBridge, a nonprofit educational institution offering face-to-face tutoring services. The client operates in the US. The mission of SmartBridge is to help as many students as possible to complete studies and prevent that they drop from the school system, in particular in disadvant ... Open whole case

Espresso, Whatelse?

Solved 8.9k times
Espresso, Whatelse? Espresso Whatelse is an Italian company that produces coffee and espresso machines since 1908. It is the Italian market leader and has a strong presence overall in Europe. In 2019, Espresso Whatelse has increased its revenues but it has seen declining profit margin. Your client wants to understand the root causes of this 2019 trend and how to increase its profit margin again.  
4.6 5 451
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Espresso Whatelse is an Italian company that produces coffee and espresso machines since 1908. It is the Italian market leader and has a strong presence overall in Europe. In 2019, Espresso Whatelse has increased its revenues but it has seen declining profit margin. Your client wants to understand ... Open whole case

Hot Wheels

Solved 4.8k times
Hot Wheels Problem definition: Our client is Korean Car Parts (KCP), a multi-national original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of car parts based in Korea. They've recently seen a decline in profits and have brought us in to understand how to address this falling profitability.
4.6 5 284
| Rating: (4.6 / 5.0)

Problem definition: Our client is Korean Car Parts (KCP), a multi-national original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of car parts based in Korea. They've recently seen a decline in profits and have brought us in to understand how to address this falling profitability. Open whole case