Programming Skills for Strategy Consultants

Data Analysis MBB
New answer on Jan 16, 2020
4 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Mar 09, 2019

I'm a soon-to-be ex-strategy consultant looking to transition into strategy roles in industry and as I've been searching new roles, I've began to notice internal strategy roles demanding data analysis tools like SQL.

I understand that an internal strategy team may not have the budget to develop its own data analytics team like an MBB firm and may want an all-in-one hire, but are we moving to a time when stategists will be expected to conduct their own data analyses? In 5-10 years for example, will technical skill like SQL be neccessary to perform the job of a strategy comsultant (or corporate strategist.)? Do I need to go learn to code? Please share your thoughts.

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Vlad
Expert
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replied on Mar 10, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

  1. Most of the generalist consultants don't use SQL or Python.
  2. MBB firms have dedicated research people to run complicated models, programming and crunch big data
  3. However, I've seen generalist who had this skill and used it as a spike. You can get amazing reviews for the project if you can code or analyze big data. It's always good when people know you as a guy "who can do these automated dashboards"
  4. Longterm I think SQL will be a must skill for consultants. They are already starting to use Tableau, etc on a regular basis. SQL is next

Best!

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Guennael
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replied on Mar 10, 2019
Ex-MBB, Experienced Hire; I will teach you not only the how, but also the why of case interviews

I'll second Vlad's comment. Programming skills arent about to be required (you will never be as good as a true developer), but having a decent understanding / being able to run simple queries is and will remain a differentiator.

Case in point: i have a former Goldman Sachs guy in my bus dev team today, and his knowledge of Tableau + coding skills arent enough for him to develop brand new reports, but make us semi-independent when we want a specific data point. As a result, he has huge value to not only my team, but also even to accounting and finace (who can't always get what they need from Big Data guys). Guess who woll be the first to get a recognition, salary bump or promotion?

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Jan
Expert
replied on Mar 10, 2019
95% practise, 5% theory. We can make 2-3 real cases in a session or split the time 50:50 between case study and general background

It very much depends on the industry.

In very industries with huge amount of data (Banking, Telecommunications) - advanced data analysis is beneficial, however in sectors goods producing sectors the amount of useful data is not so high and therefore data analytics is not that crucial

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Clara
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replied on Jan 16, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

In McKinsey, we used Excel 99.5% of the cases -the Advance Analytics hub took care of the more difficult stuff-.

In Amazon however, people regularly know SQL on top of Excel.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Vlad gave the best answer

Vlad

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