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Prepare for the job

Bain
New answer on May 21, 2024
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Apr 24, 2024

What should I explore in my last month before starting an MBB internship? I have no business/economics background. I just recently learned what a stock is…. but I want to be able to move around and be put on cases across all industries. How can I catch up to all of the people with a business background who have spent years casing and learning about economics+industry?

 

 

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Best answer
Oliver
Expert
replied on Apr 24, 2024
Former BCG interviewer (75+ interviews for associates, consultants and MBA hires) | I will make your practice perfect

Hi there,

First of all, I advise you not to worry too much about your business background knowledge before starting your internship. Many hires, the majority in some regions, do not come from an economic or business background. You will be hired for your ability to quickly grasp any topic. As you join a case, you will be brought up to speed on the industry; usually, firms have something called an 'industry primer' available for consultants joining the case with no prior industry experience.

That said, to feel more comfortable, I recommend reading business-related newspapers daily. This will give you a general understanding of the topics companies are currently grappling with. Additionally, the firm you are interning with will likely publish reports or industry deep dives. These resources can also help you gain a general understanding of the casework/topics the firm is working on. Lastly, there are some great YouTube channels (e.g. the Wall Street Journal) that publish great material on many industries and topics.

Best,
Oliver

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Santiago replied on Apr 24, 2024
I am now preparing for case interviews for last round Mckinsey. Whatsapp: +5493512411933

Congratulations on securing your MBB internship! It's completely understandable to feel a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of starting in an unfamiliar field, especially without a business or economics background. However, there are several steps you can take to prepare yourself for the internship and position yourself for success:

 

  1. Industry Research: Take the initiative to familiarize yourself with different industries and their key drivers. Explore recent industry trends, news articles, and reports to gain insights into various sectors such as healthcare, technology, and consumer goods.
  2. Networking: Reach out to current and former MBB interns or consultants to learn more about their experiences and gather tips for success. Networking can provide valuable insights and guidance as you navigate your internship and career in consulting.
  3. Professional Development: Consider enrolling in online courses or workshops focused on business fundamentals, data analysis, and communication skills. Platforms like Coursera, edX, and Udemy offer a wide range of courses tailored to professionals seeking to enhance their skills and knowledge.
  4. Stay Curious: Maintain a curious and proactive mindset throughout your internship. Be open to learning from your colleagues, asking questions, and seeking out opportunities to contribute to projects across different industries.

Remember, everyone's journey in consulting is unique, and your background in other areas can bring valuable perspectives to the table. Embrace the opportunity to learn and grow during your internship, and don't hesitate to leverage resources and support networks to help you succeed. Best of luck on your internship journey!

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 26, 2024
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

Congratulations on the offer! In terms of your question:

Q: How can I catch up to all of the people with a business background who have spent years casing and learning about economics+industry?

In most offices, you will get an onboarding training at the beginning of the internship. If you want to prepare more, I reported a few tips below:

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IT TOOLS

You are probably fine with Excel and PowerPoint, if not you can take a quick course to review the basics. You can check in advance with your office if they recommend training on any other tool, such as Alteryx or Tableau and if so, do some prep on that.

One of the most important things you can learn with any IT tool is shortcuts – they will increase substantially your productivity.

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INDUSTRIES

If your office specializes in specific industries where you would like to work, it would be good to get a minimum knowledge of them in advance. You will still learn the most during the job so this is not strictly necessary.

You can find some tips on recent consulting trends here:

 11 New Consulting Trends You Should Know

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READING LIST

A good way to invest your extra time before starting is to… read. You probably won’t have much time to do this later and reading can help you substantially to accelerate your personal growth.

Personally I don’t have much time to read, so I listen to books – Audible is great for this. You can easily listen to a book per week with minimum effort. You absorb books differently when you listen, so you have to check if this works for you.

The following are some books I recommend to develop a growth mindset – key in any industry with high pressure. You can pick something different related to what you want to learn – just try to find a few really good books on that topic.

  • The Compound Effect – Darren Hardy (great book on long-term planning)
  • Tiny Habits – BJ Fogg (excellent, science-based book on habits formation)
  • The Mediations – Marcus Aurelius (written ~ 2000 years ago but incredibly actual – the personal diary of the most powerful man in the world at the time)
  • The 80–20 Principle – Richard Koch (very smart life tips from one of the founders of LEK)
  • Peaks and Valleys – Spencer Johnson (crisis management tale – from the same author of the famous “Who moved my Cheese”, I personally found this book a lot more interesting and applicable)
  • The Gap and the Gain – Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy (excellent book in terms of mindset for happiness)

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FIRST WEEKS

Below you can also find some tips for the first weeks I usually recommend – you are probably familiar with most of them, but it might be useful to review the list just in case:

  1. Take notes during meetings/discussions with your manager – this will help you to remember details and will show the team that you care.
  2. Always double-check. The first impression is very important when you join a new company: if you show you are reliable from the beginning, you will create a good reputation. 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. You want to identify the most important activities and prioritize them, applying the 80-20 rule. Align with your manager to define them at the start of the project whenever possible.
  4. Socialize with your colleagues and start to build a network. A good start is key to develop good relationships long-term. Try to build connections in your first weeks with your peers to build a network.
  5. Align with your team on your private life activities. You might want to organize some space for personal activities (sport/ friends/ family). 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 than missing the deadline.
  8. Be approachable and respectful to support staff – these people are generally great and influential in the company as well.

All the best for a great start!

Francesco

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Agrim
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Apr 24, 2024
BCG Dubai Project Leader | Learn to think like a Consultant | Free personalised prep plan | 6+ years in Consulting

Relax - you are going to be an intern. You are not expected to be an expert in anything - except being smart. You cannot cover cases across all industries in an internship. You cannot command the type of case you want while being an intern. You don't really need to catch up right-away to the people who have been years in the industry. And you definitely don't need to be a pro in economics + industry as an intern. So try to enjoy this phase.

That said, the skills that will help you most in the internship are the consulting toolkit (storylining, slide-writing, action-titles, and more), and the case management toolkit (process management, problem scoping, solutioning, client interviews, expert interviews, deliverable management, team meetings, manager management, partner alignment, client meetings, presentation skills, and more)

I offer a case-simulation training for consulting toolkit and case-management toolkit. If you wish to work on preparing yourself for the job, do write to me and we can get your job-training started.

If you feel troubled and lacking in performance during the internship - we can do performance improvement training at that time as well.

(edited)

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Cristian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 25, 2024
#1 rated MBB & McKinsey Coach

To release my agenda from the beginning, I coach people exactly on this, so if you need help, reach out. 

Specifically, I take candidates through an accelerator program to ensure they know how the firm works, how to network, how to get staffed, develop a value proposition early on, dot-dash storylining, etc. 

If you're just looking for some free tips, I've put together these two materials:

Best,
Cristian

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Alberto
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Apr 30, 2024
Ex-McKinsey Associate Partner | +15 years in consulting | +200 McKinsey 1st & 2nd round interviews

Don't worry that much about that. You'll join with an internship. None will expect you have business acumen. The fact you passed the interviews means you are already in a good position to start your job.

Best,

Alberto

Check out my latest case based on a real MBB interview: Sierra Springs 

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Pedro
Expert
replied on Apr 25, 2024
Bain | Roland Berger | EY-Parthenon | Mentoring Approach | 30% off first 10 sessions in May| Market Sizing | DARDEN MBA

Just start immersing in business topics - read business paper, magazine, or spend sometime on a financial news channel.

To be honest, 95% of what is relevant you will learn on the job, the other 5% is just being aware of what's going on the business world (and thus my suggestion). Other than that… nothing, just relax.

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Hagen
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 21, 2024
#1 Bain coach | >95% success rate | interviewer for 8+ years | mentor and coach for 7+ years

Hi there,

First of all, congratulations on the offer!

I would be happy to share my thoughts on your question:

  • First of all, while it is great to see how eager you are to prepare for your internship, I would highly advise you not to worry about it.
  • Your future employer, like all major strategy consulting firms, will provide you with excellent onboarding and training that will prepare you for everything you need to know.
  • Lastly, if you want to prepare on your own, I would advise you to improve your MS Excel and PowerPoint skills. While there may be company-specific functions, you will still be faster in the first few months with some practice.

If you would like a more detailed discussion on how to best practice your MS Excel and PowerPoint skills beforehand, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Best,

Hagen

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Oliver gave the best answer

Oliver

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