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Resources to brush up accounting/finance concepts

accounting business concepts case interview preparation Finance Good resources
New answer on Sep 01, 2023
3 Answers
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Emi asked on Jul 22, 2018
Experienced T2 strategy consultant looking for partners to solve preferably interviewer-led cases.

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
Expert
replied on Jul 22, 2018
McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ 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

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 01, 2023
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Precisely for the high amount of questions (1) asked by my coachees and students and (2) present in this Q&A, I created the “Economic and Financial concepts for MBB interviews”, recently published in PrepLounge’s shop (https://www.preplounge.com/en/shop/prep-guide/economic_and_financial_concepts_for_mbb_interviews).

After +5 years of candidate coaching and university teaching, and after having seen hundreds of cases, I realized that the economic-related knowledge needed to master case interviews is not much, and not complex. However, you need to know where to focus! Hence, I created the guide that I wish I could have had, summarizing the most important economic and financial concepts needed to solve consulting cases, combining key concepts theorical reviews and a hands-on methodology with examples and ad-hoc practice cases.

It focuses on 4 core topics, divided in chapters (each of them ranked in scale of importance, to help you maximize your time in short preparations):

  • Economic concepts: Profitability equation, Break even, Valuation methods (economic, market and asset), Payback period, NPV and IRR, + 3 practice cases to put it all together in a practical way. 
  • Financial concepts: Balance sheet, Income statement/P&L and Performance ratios (based on sales and based on investment), +1 practice case
  • Market structure & pricing: Market types, Perfect competition markets (demand and supply), Willingness to pay, Pricing approaches, Market segmentation and Price elasticity of demand, +1 practice case
  • Marketing and Customer Acquisition: Sales funnel, Key marketing metrics (CAC and CLV) and Churn, +1 practice case

Feel free to PM me for disccount codes for the guide, and I hope it helps you rock your interviews! 

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Vlad
Expert
updated an answer on Jul 22, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

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

Best!

(edited)

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Sidi gave the best answer

Sidi

McKinsey Senior EM & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 350+ candidates secure MBB offers
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