Powerpoint skills?

MBB powerpoint presenation
New answer on Dec 27, 2020
4 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on May 12, 2019

Hi forum,

I've recently, finally been able to say "I made it" by joining a top strategy consulting firm, however working there for a couple of months made me realize nothing prepared me for the powerpoint skills required.

In fact, I think i'm really bad at powerpoint even after training numerous times. I just don't get creative and don't produce as beautiful slides as my peers do and it's really taking a toll as my managers sometimes have to do the slide entirely on their own instead of taking mine.

I was wondering if someone could give me tips on how to improve? I've watched many videos on powerpoint but I think that's getting to know how to use it, not how to produce beautiful/creative slides.

Thank you in advance!

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Content Creator
replied on May 13, 2019
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate


I too had a lot of difficulty in the initial months with Powerpoint - no matter what I did, I couldn't seem to learn the ropes. I also was convinced that I didn't have the "creative" ability or "eye" for beauty.

But, that's almost the problem! You're viewing PowerPoint as an art, but it's most definitely a science.

I recommend that you start to approach it this way: boil down good vs bad design into principles, determine the key things to check in a slide, identify what small tweak changes a slide from looking average to awesome. Do this by 1) Getting people to review your slides and note the specific changes thy make and 2) Seeing good slides and asking the person how they did that.

For example:

  1. Always align items on your slide
  2. Look to keep even spacing and sizing between multiple items (i.e. if I have 4 icons down the left column, I make them the exact same size, and set them all to be equidistant from each other)
  3. Use colors to highlight focus areas and draw the eye - but don't overuse colors! (Maybe my first column will be dark blue with white text, if it's asking the key questions we have. Or maybe if I have a "summary" or 3 takeaways on a slide I'll bold + add color to the specific words/phreases that each takeaway is really addressing)
  4. Identify what you are trying to achieve from the slide and then pick your template - there are probably 5 template I cycle through based on what I need. Coloring + content make them look different from each other, but boiled down, they're all quite simple (i.e. a table slide, a sequence slide, a 3 key takeaways slide, etc. etc.)

The list goes on, but I hope this starts to give you an idea of actionable steps you can take to make your slides better, as opposed to relying upon artistic intuition!

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Karim on May 19, 2019

Thanks for this Ian, really helpful!

Content Creator
replied on Dec 27, 2020
McKinsey | NASA | top 10 FT MBA professor for consulting interviews | 6+ years of coaching


I think it's a very interesting question. It's normal to struggle at the beginning.

My suggestions:

1. To be good at making slides you should have a clear idea of what a good slide looks like. Download some documents of MBB and start training your eye.

2. Try to duplicate these slides on your own.

3. It helps to identify best practices while doing 1 and 2.

4. It also helps a lot to draw your slides on paper first. This practices helps you develop another important skill, which is the ideation rather than the execution of the slide.

Have fun while doing slides, you'll have to do a lot of them...



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replied on May 13, 2019
I will get you an offer|McKinsey Senior EM|Offers from MBB|100+ interviews at McKinsey|Recruiting Lead|Experienced hire


Best way to improve is to draw out the slide on paper. It takes less time and helps you visualize better. With practice, it will be muscle memory.

The tool/software part is the easy one. Once you know how you want to communicate, learning to make the slide will be quick.

PS - try to get thinkcell for your powerpoint. Makes life very easy :)

Hope this helps!


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replied on May 13, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


  1. The easiest way - download knowledge documents from the internal knowledge base and reuse them as samples.
  2. Also, ask your manager to draw on paper how your slides should look. Just very roughly. It'll help both of you


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Ian gave the best answer


Content Creator
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate
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