Talking like a consultant

MBB
New answer on Sep 27, 2019
4 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Sep 26, 2019

Hi,

What i observe in general, consultants talk in a professional manner & like they know what they are talking about,build credibility instead of trying to generate ideas spontaneously and not seeming like they are trying to craft the case at that moment.

What do you think drives this? How can i improve myself in that sense? Should i solve the cases -by industry for example so that i can learn each industry's essential issues...Bu this seems like a lot of memorizing. . .So what can you suggest?

(edited)

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Vlad
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 26, 2019
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

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: https://hbr.org/store/case-studies

For each industry, you should understand:

  • Revenue streams

  • Cost structure

  • Average margins

  • Key Performance Indicators

  • Industry trends

Best

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Anonymous replied on Sep 27, 2019

Practice is definitely key. However, to pick up something you said: memorising industry-specific information is not the way (e.g. don't try to become a Digital expert). Instead, it is about

  1. Understanding "Business" generally. Practising Cases and frameworks will definitely help with (See Vlad's suggestions). To be super concrete, this is what I advise my clients: Check out Victor Chenge's key frameworks and then do a "framework match" exercise for 10 cases. Read a case, figure out which framework fits and then structure the case based on it. If you get to the end and you can't get a 3-deep tree, then figure out what doesn't work and redo your tree. Then do that for 9 more cases. Note only will this get you familiar with frameworks but you'll also start to pick up the important business areas and match them to cases
  2. Practising the 3Cs of Effective Communication! Besides solving the case, what you are describing when you mention professionalism, credibility, and confidence in knowledge also comes from practising what I call the 3cs of communication. Consultants are Clear, Concise, and Compelling with all their communication. I teach my clients to do this by learning how to get to the point of what they are trying to say, back up their points with information, and repeating the key points at important moments to reinforce what's important.

Hope this helps! The best thing I did when I was trying to learn these skills was to work with ex-consultants directly. So feel free to book sessions with me and we can get working on these skills in a practical way that gets you easly talking like a consultant :)

All the best with your journey into consulting :)!

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Tomislav
Skilled
replied on Sep 27, 2019
Looking for solid partners I can practice with regularly. Mostly focused on interviewer led cases. Giving constructive feedback.
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Dansedufeu on Oct 14, 2019

This is the best answer I've read thus far. Studying cases is a technical activity. I believe the best way for a person to understand how consultants use language is to meet and become professional friends with consultants at all levels. Don't be afraid to reach out to connect with Partners and Directors.

Aws
Expert
replied on Sep 26, 2019
Senior Consultant @ Google | McKinsey, BCG, Bain exp. as Client | 100+ REAL MBB cases

Hi A,

You can improve this by practicing more cases, reading newspapers, and by talking a bit slower. When you speak in a slower paced manner, with the right pauses, you come across more credible.

This advice may be a bit generic, I would have to speak to you to give you specifics.

Hope this helps.

Best, Aws

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Vlad gave the best answer

Vlad

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