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?
Resources to brush up accounting/finance concepts
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:
- Finance for non-financial managers (https://books.google.de/books/about/Finance_for_Nonfinancial_Managers_Second.html?id=WNLyAwAAQBAJ&source=kp_cover&redir_esc=y)
- Valuation: Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies (by McKinsey)(https://books.google.de/books?id=iI3J4b2hWlwC&printsec=frontcover&dq=valuation+book&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjZ8ofbw7PcAhWlHJoKHaK3CiMQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=valuation%20book&f=false)
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.
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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