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Singapore Consulting Preparations

American Express SPG benefits Perks
Edited on Oct 13, 2023
7 Answers
1.4 k Views
john
Skilled
asked on Nov 19, 2021

Dear Community,

I see lots of online talk about how important it is to relax and enjoy the last days of freedom before life as a consultant begins. My question is what are some things I should do/buy/take care of before I start working. I will be working in Singapore, and expect flight will resume but very slowly. 

I'm specifically interested in which credit card to get, or any other things needed to get sorted out. Same goes for clothing, IT stuff, traveling apps for frequent flyer etc. 

Happy to hear your thoughts on this.

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Francesco
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 20, 2021
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi John,

Congratulations on the offer!

Q: I'm specifically interested in which credit card to get, or any other things needed to get sorted out. Same goes for clothing, IT stuff, traveling apps for frequent flyer etc. 

I would expect this

  • Credit card: they should provide it when you start
  • Clothing: would be sure to have enough for 2 weeks
  • IT stuff: they should provide it when you start
  • Travelling app/frequent flyers: I would ask to colleagues when you start

In short: I would just be sure you have sufficient suits/shirts – the rest can be figured out later.

If you work from home, you may check if they will provide a budget for ergonomic chairs or similar or if you should buy that.

In my opinion, the best way to invest the free time you have right now is to… read. You won’t have much time to do this later and reading is one of the most undervalued growth opportunities available today.

Personally I don’t have much time to read, so what I do is to 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 would highly recommend:

  • 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) 

You are probably ok with the basics of excel and powerpoint, if not you can take a quick course to review the basics.

Below you can also find some tips for the first weeks I usually recommend – you are probably familiar with most of them, but could be good to review:

  1. Take notes during meetings/discussion with your manager – this will help you to remember details and will show you care about them to the team.
  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 create a reputation of a reliable person. 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. The majority of the results usually come from a subset of activities – this is true also for your tasks in consulting. You have to identify which they are and prioritize them – the application of the so-called 80-20 rule or Pareto Principle. Alignment on priorities and expectations is particularly important with your manager at the beginning of the project.
  4. Socialize with your colleagues and start to build a network. You should build a good network within the company. A good start is key to develop good relationships long-term. More difficult to do during COVID – but there may still be opportunities for virtual gatherings. Try to take advantage of as many as possible to build connections.
  5. Organize your private life activities. You want to organize your calendar to leave some space for personal activities (sport/ friends/ family). This is not easy but can be managed if you organize well, and long-term will be critical to keep a balance between work and private life. Also, 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 social and respectful with the support staff – these people are great and influential as well in the company.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

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john on Nov 20, 2021

Thank you so much, great advice. I'll take it to heart.

Pedro on Nov 20, 2021

Nice. I'll add some of those books to my reading list.

Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 21, 2021
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

Hi there,

Congrats on getting the role!

Here's my advice on what to sort out:

  1. “General” credit card - want lots of points. Chase Sapphire is fantastic
  2. Hotel credit card - based on where you'll stay. Marriot Bonvoy is my favorite
  3. Airline credit card - only if you'll be booking fights directly and not through the system
  4. Clothes - “Standardize” as much as possible. Get 10 work socks, 2-3 work shoes, 5-10 work shirts, etc. Get it all setup 
  5. Food - Figure out how to automate your food. I personally used a healthy delivery service that brought me breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the start of every day
  6. Points - Sign up for and link your airline, hotel, ridesharing, and food delivery accounts to maximize all points.
  7. Time management - Set yourself up for success here. Figure out your folder structure, your calendar, how you'll take notes, how you'll keep track of tasks, etc.
  8. IT - Don't worry about any of it, they'll sort you out!

Feel free to message me for a “Consulting Survival Guide” I created a few years back.

And, good luck :)

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Benjamin
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Oct 13, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hi,

I am Singaporean and worked in consulting in SEA for ~9 years. Sharing my top things to get:

  • Credit card
    • Pick a card that gives you miles and not rebates, I would suggest one that the miles don't expire (e.g. Citi Premier Miles)
  • Memberships
    • Hotel > flight (because you will fly economy in SEA and that gets you nothing)
    • Sign up for the hotel group membership that your firm has the most tie-ups with
    • For MBB it will typically be Marriott Bonvoy
    • I will suggest signing up only after you start work as often Bonvoy has special promos and fast track to Platinum etc
    • Another hack - after you have reached Platinum for Bonvoy, you could try and go to other chains and ask them to match the status
  • APEC Business Card
    • Get the APEC Business Card - I cannot overemphasize how useful and powerful this card is when you are a frequent traveller
  • Travel friendly accessories
    • I would recommend using a third party laptop charger that is much smaller and lighter than the typically 60w that are issued to you
    • Alternatively, sometimes IT has an OEM 45W version which is still lighter

Happy to share more tips and advice, just drop me a dm - I've gone through the ranks and also spent ~50% of my time in consulting travelling to SEA, North Asia, South Asia, Europe and US - so can share perspectives.

 

(edited)

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Agrim
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 19, 2021
BCG Dubai Project Leader | Learn to think like a Consultant | Free personalised prep plan | 6+ years in Consulting

Do's:

  • Relax
  • Enjoy
  • Not thinking too much about the time to come

Buy:

  • Clothes (I guess?)
  • Watch?

Take care of:

  • Relaxing
  • Enjoying

Dont's:

  • Frontload
  • Be an eager beaver
  • Thinking too much about the time to come
  • Buy IT stuff because everything will be provided
  • Pre-open a bank account or get a credit card - ask your colleagues when you join
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john on Nov 20, 2021

Thank you so much!

Pedro
Expert
replied on Nov 20, 2021
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Private Equity | Market Estimates | Fit Interview

The only critical thing is to have some nice clothes ("classic" style, and C-Level suits and ties), and whatever you need for travelling (suitcase, bag, necessaire, etc.).

If you have any personal stuff to take care of (home repairs, medical appointments, etc.), this is the time to do it. Get your personal / home life in order - this is difficult to squeeze in later.

The only other thing I suggest is to sleep, get in shape, lose some weight (you will get it back…), binge watch Lord of The Rings trilogy extended edition or anything else you really like to d, as well as spend time with family and friends.

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Nov 21, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

It´s good you are tying to prep!

Precisely they will guide you with this stuff once you start, they gave me a survival guide in the 1st week. 

Hope it helps!

Cheers, 

Clara

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Ebru
Expert
replied on Nov 20, 2021
McKinsey|ex Firm Case Coach| LSE

Hi John,

Exciting times ahead!

1. I recommend prioritizing your mental and physical wellbeing to have a balanced and sustainable lifestyle. 

  • Plan time for workouts/meditation (even if these are short ones at the hotel or at home) and longer ones for the weekend. It really helps to release stress and tension from your body. 

2. The first project will be the toughest, as you will start learning all from scratch. 

  • Don't stress too much about it. 
  • Ask for feedback regularly. 
  • Make sure to get help whenever you need it. 

Enjoy your free time until your start! 

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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