Starting at an MBB. Training the Street or Management Consulted's Excel & PPT course?

Excel MBB New Joiner
New answer on Jun 02, 2021
8 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jun 01, 2021

Hi community. I wanted to pick up on some excel & PPT skills and I came across two - Trainings the street and Management Consulted's Excel & PPT bundle. Which one would you suggest out of these. And, what other alternatives would you suggest?

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Ken
Expert
replied on Jun 02, 2021
Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach

I really would just wait until you get access to the internal training. I know McKinsey does this before you join as part of pre-work for the induction week. I'm sure the others do as well.

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Anonymous B replied on Jun 02, 2021

Honestly, just watch YouTube videos. Don't need to pay for any courses when it's all online for free. Also would question whether this is necessary because MBBs train.

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Torrey
Expert
replied on Jun 02, 2021
EX-BAIN INTERVIEWER WITH 250H+ OF PRIVATE COACHING EXPERIENCE

I can share a bit of experience of myself.

When I started my career with Bain, I knew nothing abut Excel, not even the most basic functions or any short keys.

Around 2 weeks before my start time, Bain sent me a link to complete an online Excel course (which basically involves watching some videos), which, to be frank, is not that helpful. I didn't prepare anything other than that.

Once I started the job my Excel skill picked up pretty quickly, mainly because:

  1. Consulting mainly uses basic functions, the most advanced you really need is Index and Match, VLOOKUP, and Pivot tables
  2. You will use them lots of times each day. Essentially these are learnt by practice and there is no better way of practice other than using them in your job

So my recommendation to you is:

  1. No need to complete online crash courses on Excel
  2. Print out an Excel short key table, this will be very useful for your future reference and helps you to figure out the main short keys you need. You really only need it for the first couple of weeks, after that you will have remembered all of them uncouncisly. for example there is one from exceljet https://exceljet.net/sites/default/files/downloads/Exceljet_Excel_Shortcuts_160623.pdf
  3. When you have an Excel problem, the best solution is always Google it! There are so much material online and you really can find all you need with some simple Google Search.
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Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 02, 2021
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

Honestly, pick the one that looks best to you! That said, I agree with the others that you really don't need to do this - you will learn on the job. Moreover, much of what they teach online doesn't apply to MBB specifically - every company has their own style, standard, etc.

If you're picking between the two, I'd do Excel, but, honestly, I'd take this time to relax and recharge for what's to come!

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Adi
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 02, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Dont bother. You will learn on the job and there is no escaping ppt anyway :).

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Antonello
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 02, 2021
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi, I confirm the most of the improvement is expected to be done during your 1st month on the ground. Especially with ppt is pretty challenging to learn some useful skills out of the consulting context

Best,
Antonello

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Henning
Expert
replied on Jun 02, 2021
Bain | passed >15 MBB interviews as a candidate

Not a big fan. PPT trainings are useless because all firms have their own ways of slide design conventions and PPT plug ins that work a bit differently from regular PPT, so no need.

Excel might be good to get up to speed, but Youtube, Coursera are fine for that.

I rather recommend to travel a bit and have a good time before the grind starts ;)

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Florian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jun 02, 2021
#1 rated McKinsey Coach | Top MBB Coach | 5 years @ McKinsey | Author of the 1% | 120+ McK offers in 18 months

Hey there,

If you want to make the best use of your time before starting, do something you genuinely enjoy since you will have much less time later for these things.

If you are interested in preparing for your new role, I'd suggest the following:

When I got the offer some years ago I did the same. I reached out to people I knew in McKinsey and people who interviewed me to ask: what can I do to make the start easier? how can I prepare?

The answer from everyone was: Relax! Enjoy your time before you start and don't think about it. You will figure it out on the job. I followed that advice and it made sense to me once I joined.

When you start at McKinsey or any MBB really, there are 2 ways to learn:

  1. Formal training. The formal training sessions/ weeks/ days in the beginning, are nice, however, they are more for networking and meeting your peers. You learn some interesting concepts and get some useful tips from more experienced consultants BUT
  2. Constant and implicit learning on the job is where it's at. No matter if you are a newcomer or a veteran after 2 years, you will always find yourself on a steep learning curve. As soon as you barely mastered one skill or the skills needed for one level in the hierarchy, you will take care of things, which are expected from a more senior colleague. This cycle never ends. You are expected to learn on the job, learn from your colleagues, your mentors, sometimes even the client. So basically a newly promoted Engagement Manager has the same 'struggle' as a new-hire Business Analyst. They both need to work in a completely new environment and role.

Knowing that, if we now go back to square one in your MBB journey it makes perfect sense to enter the firm with a blank slate with a lot of curiosity and eagerness to soak it all up and quickly learn the ropes.

No book, no training, no coach can prepare you for your first day, your first week, your first engagement. Nothing matches the experience and the learning and this is a good thing (also the reason why ex-MBBs are valued highly on the job market).

You will learn everything you need to master while doing it. You will be thrown in the cold water and need to swim. However, your colleagues will always be happy to help you and mentor you. And for the rest, you will figure everything out along the way. The key here is always to ask for tips, shortcuts, feedback, etc. Don't be quiet if you get stuck.

Also, for every technical problem (IT, Excel question, etc) McKinsey has a Global Helpdesk and the rule is to call them for every problem you can't solve within 5 minutes. They will fix your computer, guide you through Excel formulas, etc. I reckon this is similar for others.

Lastly, if you have no domain knowledge about a certain industry or topic, read through the internal library of documentation (which is endless) and call some of the firm experts on the topic. Usually, they are happy to offer you a short call to get you up to speed.

Don't sweat the small stuff and enjoy the ride!

Florian

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Ken gave the best answer

Ken

Ex-McKinsey final round interviewer | Executive Coach
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