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Starting at McKinsey in 4 months

Anonymous A asked on Apr 15, 2019

Hello,

I have been offered a full time position at McKinsey in September. I will start in 4 months and will have a lot of free time until then.

Is there anything during that time period that I should brush up on /think about learning? Excel (to what extent)? Reading? keep on doing mental math ?

Thanks in advance for your advice !

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Nirmit
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updated his answer on Apr 15, 2019
I will get you an offer|McKinsey Senior EM|Offers from MBB|100+ interviews at McKinsey|Recruiting Lead|Experienced hire specialist
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Hi,

Congrats! Great achievement.

I would recommend to start working on top-down and impactful communication. This is a skillset that is arguably the most critical for your job, takes practice and time to hone. Everything else usually has a faster ramp up. Plus you have resources in McKinsey to help you (e.g., analytics team for excel, senior experts to get you smarter on industry, etc)

'The Pyramid Principle' is a great book to help you present your thinking clearly and effectively in pages/slides. It's written by Barbara Minto (ex-McKinsey Partner) and has helped many consultants make their discussions with clients/Partners more impact-oriented.

Apart from that, enjoy these 4 months. Travel if you can. Once you start McKinsey, you will be busy :)

Hope this helps!

Nirmit

(edited)

Vlad replied on Apr 15, 2019
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Hi,

1) Excel and Financial modeling - the best course I know is Training The Street. Take Financial Modeling, Valuation, Maybe LBO. They have the amazing templates that you have to repsoduce to be able to do that fast.

The key thing - throw away your mouse and put some tape on your touchpad. Do everything with your keyboard!

2) Power Point

  • First, read "Say it with charts" and "Pyramid Principle".
  • As a next step Google for MBB presentations on SlideShare and try to replicate them in PPT.
  • Finally, take MBA some cases (HBS or any other) and try to derive the conclusions and put them on slides using MBB styles.

And finally - take a long vacation before starting your job;)

Good Luck!

Francesco replied on Apr 15, 2019
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Hi Anonymous,

congratulations on your offer! If you want to prepare in advance before you start, I would recommend working on technical, communication and stress management skills.

  • On the technical side, Excel will be the most important technical thing to master at the beginning, in particular for VLOOKUPs and Pivot tables; you could also review PowerPoint, which you will also use quite a lot.
    • At BCG we got learning courses we could use to improve on them, and I guess you will receive the same at McKinsey, but so far that you have already mastered the skills before joining (you can find several courses online for both), even better.
    • Tip for Excel: learn how to use as much as possible the keyword and relegate the touchpad to the minimum – this will skyrocket your productivity in the long term. Some computer programs such as KeyRocket provide tips to improve on this.
  • For what concerns communication, I would recommend the classic book on the topic: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.
  • For stress management, I would recommend two books:
    • The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod – great tips to start in the right way your day
    • The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz – a great sum up of some of the best tips be positive, productive and achieve more

Below you can also find a list of things that could be useful to practice during your first weeks:

  1. Take notes when your manager tells you something – 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 in consulting: 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.
  4. Socialize with your colleagues and start to build a network. Consulting is a people business and you should build a good network both within and outside the company. A good start is key to develop good relationships long-term
  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 then 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

Guennael
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replied on Apr 15, 2019
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Some solid Excel modeling, story telling, pyramid principle... but above all, enjoy these 4 months and catch up on sun & rest :)

Congrats