Sources for Business Acumen

business acumen
New answer on Sep 24, 2019
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Anonymous A asked on Sep 23, 2019


Any offers on what to read to improve business acumen?

Especially free sources would be appreciated.


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Content Creator
replied on Sep 24, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Business Acumen is all about building proper industry and functional knowledge. Here is how you can do that:

  1. Practice more cases with the other candidates. Try to start with the most common industries - Retail, Consumer Goods, Airlines, Banking

  2. Study the annual reports of the public companies in each industry. They have a good overview of the company and the industry.

  3. Get the industry information from relevant books, magazines, etc. We'll recommend some good reading in the next lessons.

  4. Study MBA cases. They have a good industry overview. You can purchase HBS cases here:

For each industry, you should understand:

  • Revenue streams

  • Cost structure

  • Average margins

  • Key Performance Indicators

  • Industry trends


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replied on Sep 24, 2019
Senior Consultant @ Google | McKinsey, BCG, Bain exp. as Client | 100+ REAL MBB cases

Hi A,

I would very much recommend subscribing at least one of the following news papers, even if its only during the prep period before your interview:

Wallstreet Journal
New York Times

A good way to improve your business judgement is to read the headline first (if its a business headline) and then ask yourself why X has happened, before reading the article.

E.g. WSJ article says ''BMW reports a loss in profit over Q3 2019'', you can create a mental framework (or on paper) to think about the potential reasons for why this happened.

Hope this helps!


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Anonymous A on Sep 24, 2019

Great feedback! Thanks a lot!

Vlad gave the best answer


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