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Resources to brush up accounting/finance concepts

Giorgia asked on Jul 22, 2018 - 2 answers

As I do more and more interviews, I realise I need to brush-up on/learn more basic finance and accounting concepts (I have zero business background). Can anyone recommend good, basic resources on business/financial/accounting concepts that could help me better understand the cases or the interviewer's questions?

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Sidi replied on Jul 22, 2018
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 60+ candidates secure MBB offers

Hi Giorgia,

two books which I find extremely helpful to get a fundamental understanding of how to practically think in terms of business economics, financial management and value creation are:

These two books have proved very helpful to many non-business background consultants in starting their job at MBB firms. However, one word of caution: the direct usefulness for case interview preparation is somewhat limited, since case interviews test for conceptual thinking and "analytical raw horse power", rather then testing actual functional or industry knowledge.

Cheers, Sidi

Vlad updated his answer on Jul 22, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School


I would recommend learning the basic accounting before you start the job, but you will not need that for the interview preparation. Also, the case is a very simplified business situation and the accounting concepts are very often neglected. Here is a list of things you will need to know (and you can google them one by one since it is really short):

  • Profitability calculations (Operating profit, net profit, cost structure, etc)
  • Profit / breakeven formula
  • Interest rates calculations
  • Compound margin
  • NPV using the Rule of 72, Perpetuity
  • CAGR using the Rule of 72



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