Technical skills useful in consulting

consulting on the job Preparing for consulting work
New answer on Sep 30, 2020
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Anonymous B asked on Aug 25, 2018

Hi Experts,

Can you share some of the software and technical skills that could be useful in consulting (not counting traditional problem solving skills, I'm more thinking about harware/software, financial analysis etc. skills). E.g., would SQL, Tableau, R skills be useful?

Thank you

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replied on Aug 26, 2018
ex-Manager - Natural and challenging teacher - Taylor case solving, no framework


You'll work with 3 tools where you need to quickly develop proficiancy (know all the key function and work fast)

- Excel : function to know vlookup(), index(match(..)), sumproduct(), sumif() . In addition you may learn to work with the keyboard only, this allow higher productivité than using the mouse pointer. You will also need to develop your own rules to always check your results and make sure your calculation are right on the first time

- Powerpoint : alignements, formats. In creating content you'll need to make sure you use parallel phrasing

- Emails : sharp wording, direct and clear phrasing, easy reading

Hope this helps



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Anonymous replied on Aug 26, 2018

I believe your question is asking about more advanced analytical/technical skills, and not the consulting Basics (Excel, Powerpoint) In addition to the basics, a number of tools are being increasingly used. While a basic knowledge of them is not expected for these (whereas everyone is expected to be able to use Excel and PPT), having these skills could definitely help you shine in certain cases:

1) Tableau / Power BI User: Similar data visualisation tools, these are becoming increasingly used to show data dynamically and make powerful dashboards. It can also be used as an alternative to Pivot tables / Pivot Charts - i.e. to quickly play with data and get some early insights

2) Alteryx: More powerful analytical tool to do more complex analysis, on larger data sets, than Excel.

3) Python: My understanding is that while Python is more powerful, it is also much less user friendly (especially to people without a programming background). So Alteryx fulfils most of the functionality required for consulting, but in a way that is much easier to learn and explain. That being said, I know that some firms (e.g. Oliver Wyman) are actually using Python nowadays and making all junior consultants learn how to use it.

4) SQL: I have not seen SQL being used at Bain, but I know that it is used at some other firms to manage particularly large data sets (e.g. government data sometimes with hundreds of millions of entries).

Having knowledge of additional tools (e.g. R) could be useful for you, but if you aren't able to share this with your colleagues, it is unlikely you will use it much as a consulting generalist. On the other hand, this would enable you to work with the analytics teams much more closely, so could be seen as an advantage and also enable you to potentially do a secondment into the advanced-analytics team (if your firm has one)

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replied on Aug 26, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School


Excel and Power Pointare the main apps. More and more projects nowadays require Tableau.

I believe being good with SQL, R, etc will help you stand out. When the companies evaluate you, they are looking for the spikes. I know the guys whom programming skills helped to become Top Performers in the company since they were able to deliver more than anyone expected


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Anonymous replied on Sep 30, 2020

Dear A,

I would say that it's Excela and Power point being 99% sure.


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Content Creator
replied on Jan 16, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


In McKinsey, we used Excel 99.5% of the cases -the Advance Analytics hub took care of the more difficult stuff-.

In Amazon however, people regularly know SQL on top of Excel.

Hope it helps!



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Benjamin gave the best answer


ex-Manager - Natural and challenging teacher - Taylor case solving, no framework
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